by Gretchen Schisla
Food professionals from all over the world gather to learn about the latest developments in food science at the IFT Annual Meeting & Foodshow. Picture the size of 24 football fields combined, and you can visualize the scope of this year’s IFT in Las Vegas. I recently attended to support our client, Univar Food Ingredients, and learn about the current trends in healthy ingredients and food.
Engage your customer through video.
Every year we partner with Univar Food Ingredients to roll out a unique tool at IFT. This year, Univar developed a series of short “snapshot” videos, not as training tools, but rather to inspire new ways of thinking about the product development process. We invite you to take a look.
We worked with Univar and Once Films to create video demos that provide the food product formulator with innovative options. The demos included a dual-layered margarita with suspended, edible glitter flakes and a heat-resistant sweet potato custard. “Designing deliciousness” is a goal of every food formulator, and Univar is using this unique tool to inspire their customers to achieve that goal. The press attended the launch of the videos, yielding a podcast interview with Food Navigator entitled: Inspiring the YouTube generation of R&D professionals.
Healthy trends at IFT.
For the past 10 years we have worked with Univar Food Ingredients creating materials focused on ingredients that help reduce fat, sugar and salt. This “Healthy Reduction” trend continued to be a focus at IFT 2012. There was greater emphasis than ever on education about healthy food and wellness, and many more companies featured organic products.
Trends & Solutions Tours focused on “Ingredients for a Better You,” featuring ingredients to help product developers deliver more nutritious foods and beverages. At the Healthy Food Ingredients Pavilion, Innova Market Insights and Mintel provided information on current consumer trends and insights. Below are four that caught my attention, and some of the buzzwords associated with them.
Pure is the new natural.
Natural products are becoming the rule rather than the exception, despite ongoing issues with what a clear definition of “natural” means. One way around this has been marketing the purity of a product.
Buzzwords: real, pure & simple, unrefined, unprocessed, raw, whole, pure, goodness from nature, no artificial ingredients and 100% real.
Green is a given.
Sustainability is now a compulsory issue for food companies. Corporate social responsibility plays an increasingly important role and fair trade becomes mainstream.
Buzzwords: low energy consumption, reduce, reuse, 10% of all profits, certified, fair trade, free range and environmentally friendly.
Forty is the new twenty.
There is a focus on “extending the middle years” with an active, productive, rewarding life and a greater demand for products to aid “successful aging.” In addition to emphasis on nutrient intake, there is also an increased focus on ingredients including: resveratrol, omega 3 fatty acids, lutein, coenzyme Q10 and green tea. The key will be “eating right” and “balanced nutrition.”
Buzzwords: vitality, energy, guilt-free, longevity, for a long life and improved lifestyle.
Location, location, location.
Interest in where our foods are coming from has never been higher among consumers. This is being driven by support for local suppliers, a desire for authentic products from specific regions, and interest in traditional and regional foods. Concerns over the quality and safety of imported products has led to revised EU country of origin certification regulations.
Buzzwords: locally grown, regional, family, authenticity, farm, small batch, food miles and reared with care.
It will be interesting to see how companies embrace healthier products based on consumer demand. Food formulators will have to constantly innovate to keep choices healthy and satisfying.