Reformulation Era in Packaged Food

We are currently in an era where various trendy dieting regimes co-exist, such as the Atkins diet, which is high in protein and moderate in carbohydrates and fat; vegetarian and vegan diets, which are driving higher demand for plant-based proteins; and the Paleo diet, which focuses on meats, whole foods and fats, and has no grains or dairy. When faced with limited time, say 10 seconds, it is easier to follow the “NO” route (for example no added sugar or no lactose) to rule out unhealthy foods than it is to follow the “Yes” route. This may reflect the fact that more choices have to be made when following the Yes” route in order to determine which are the good and which are the bad nutrients.

Deciding what is healthy in 10 seconds follow through.

Source: Euromonitor International 

Less is best: The new health in food

Consumers are constantly looking into how foods are made and the story behind the product that separates one from another. At the moment, food manufacturers are placing greater emphasis on how products are made and where ingredients are sourced, similarly to what has been seen in the brewing industry. Two different types of “health” innovation that are currently popular are raw and cold pressed food.

The growing popularity of raw foods, particularly in North America and Western Europe, is an offshoot of the Paleo or caveman diet for humans. This diet is based on the types of food our ancestors are likely to have eaten, such as meat, nuts and berries, while excluding foods that date from the adoption of agriculture, such as dairy products and grains. The rationale behind this is a belief that the human digestive system has not evolved to handle the latter, thus modern commercial diets are not good for the digestive system and we should get back to eating a more “natural” diet. At the same time, raw food-ism or cold processing is based on the belief that eating raw foods better preserves their nutrients and enzymes.

Exploration of processing methods such as raw, air or freeze drying, and cold pressed.

Source: Euromonitor International 

Reformulating foods to find a place in healthy diets

The consumer landscape is leaning towards knowing more about ingredients. With that scrutiny of ingredients, there is the assumption that natural ingredients are better than those in processed foods. The food industry is currently focusing on new product launches centered on four key themes in terms of reformulation. These are fewer ingredients, alternative ingredients, super ingredients, and calorie reduction by stealth.

“Fewer ingredients” has strong ties to transparency with consumers mistrusting the long lists of ingredients that go into a food product. As consumers wish to make quick decisions regarding what is healthy and what is not, they are now assessing the “naturalness” of a foodstuff by looking at the length of the ingredient list. “Alternative ingredients” looks at specific diet requirements such as veganism, vegetarianism or flexitarianism, which have become popular either from a sustainable point of view (avoiding meat consumption as it is bad for the environment) or for animal welfare reasons. As a result, demand for milk and meat alternatives has increased rapidly in more developed markets. Lastly, “Super ingredients” looks at adding ingredients with health benefits to otherwise indulgent snacks, while “calorie reduction by stealth” looks at ways in which companies are trying to reduce the calorie count without compromising taste.

Reformulation of healthy living such as fewer ingredients, alternative ingredients, super ingredients, and calorie reduction by stealth.

Source: Euromonitor International 

Alternative ingredients: Almond milk booming but for how long?

The main beneficiary of cow’s milk’s poor performance is free from dairy alternatives. Some years ago, the offering was limited to soy milk, and soy beans remain the most widely used ingredient in plant-based milk. It is still on-trend, with major players investing in these products. In March 2017, The Coca-Cola Co (TCCC) and its bottling partners in Latin America closed the acquisition of Unilever’s AdeS soy-based beverage business, expanding Coca-Cola’s portfolio of functional drinks in the region. However, other milk alternatives are growing in popularity and they have already overtaken soy milk in terms of retail value sales. Almond milk is one of the main on-trend alternatives, although other legumes and nuts, such as cashews and pistachios, or even peas and pulses, are also growing in popularity to produce plant-based milk alternatives. That said, consumers’ concerns over naturalness could harm non-dairy products. The content of preservatives, and added sugar, and the rather complex production process concerns consumers looking for sustainable and healthy alternatives to milk. Indeed in China, milk alternatives are now in decline after years of success.

In the 21st century, consumers are having to make many more decisions in their daily lives than their ancestors had to. This is because more food offerings are available, and they are bombarded by choices. As a result, they are constantly looking for shortcuts in decision-making, in order to simplify their lives and spend time on things that matter. Choosing healthy food is no different. The new trends in healthy living is redefining what is considered healthy and follows new consumer demands regarding transparency in ingredients and “bad stuff” avoidance.