The health and wellness wave, one of the world’s strongest megatrends, is rolling and rolling. It comes with a broad awareness in the population that ample exercise and a balanced diet are essential for health and wellbeing. 92% of consumers agree that a healthy diet is the most important factor for wellbeing.
Along with the trend towards conscious and healthy eating, the Nutri-Score was introduced.
The Nutri-Score is intended, on the one hand, to improve the nutritious composition of processed products and, on the other hand, to give consumers a visual guide to the nutritious quality of foods.
The “negative” elements of a processed product are calculated and compared against the “positive” elements. While high sugar, fat, or salt content has a negative impact on the Nutri-Score, proteins and dietary fibre contribute to a more positive Nutri-Score. The score ranges from A to E (best to worst) to indicate the nutritional value of the product in a simple way.
The Nutri-Score is meant to help the consumer compare the quality of foods at a glance.
Healthy is “in”
The increasing trend towards healthy eating is driving up the popularity of foods with a health claim. According to Mintel, the number of products launched with claims about balanced nutrition is growing fast. Especially health claims like “no added sugar” or “high/added protein” are enjoying increasing popularity.
Therefore, instead of boasting a rich, full taste, modern foods have to meet the requirements of a healthy diet, achieve a good Nutri-Score, and optimally be labelled with a health claim.
«BETTER FOR YOU» – trend concept
With our “BETTER FOR YOU” concept, we show you how sugars, fats, and salt can be reduced with little effect on quality or taste and how nutritional, physiological advantages can be developed by the targeted use of proteins and dietary fibre.
Sugar reduced – sweetness in moderation
The reduction of sugar is an important trend in the food industry, and many producers are giving this due consideration in developing new foodstuffs.
Currently, the average Swiss person consumes 127 g of saccharose per day, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 25 g. Eating too much sugar is known to be bad for health, and it is one of the causes behind modern diseases of civilization such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.
The food industry is endeavouring to reduce the sugar content of processed foods as a way to disrupt the status quo.
Sugar reduction and its challenges
Aside from its main function – to sweeten foods – sugar actually helps to round off flavours. It improves the texture and consistency of foods and even often acts as a preservative.
If you want to reduce or replace sugar entirely, you first have to know exactly what properties the sugar lends to the product. These properties then dictate what methods or raw materials will successfully replace the sugar in the product.
We have a great number of raw materials in our portfolio for developing many types of sugar-reduced products.
Salt reduced – go easy on the salt
Salt is a crucial flavour carrier, and turns bland foods into rich compositions. It does this by enhancing the various flavours of the food without masking them, bringing out the best in a given food’s individual taste. Salt also inhibits the growth of microorganisms, and thus fulfils an important preservative function that cannot be replaced without effort.
Despite its many uses, it is recommended to go easy on the salt, for the sake of a healthy diet. According to the WHO, current salt consumption in the EU is 50% above the recommended 5 g per day.
In order to keep up with the growing health trend, and to satisfy the newly introduced Nutri-Score, many food producers have already started reducing the amount of salt they use. However, a stark reduction in salt content is largely unwanted among consumers, who do not appreciate the resulting loss of salty taste. In addition, salt often serves many technological functions in food products – baked goods being a good example of this.
Accordingly, there is a need for innovative solutions and raw materials that can reduce the added salt in products like bread, cheese, snacks, and fillings while still retaining all the structure and flavour.
Fat reduced – lighten up
In response to people’s increasing care about the healthiness of their diet, many food producers are optimizing and reformulating their foodstuffs. Yet, while fat is perhaps more demonized than ever in the eyes of consumers, it has many valuable properties in processed foods.
Fat is an important flavour carrier because it serves to carry fat-soluble aromas and even vitamins. Fat influences melting behaviour and acts as a structure provider and stabilizer. Fat is also responsible for the pleasant consistency of many products, and helps achieve satiety, the state of feeling full.
In foods, the technological properties of dietary fats are of great value, which is why fat reduction presents a considerable challenge for the industry.
As an integral component of emulsions, fats furthermore have a direct influence on the textural properties of foods and improve important sensorial attributes such as mouthfeel and creaminess.
Reducing the fat content of foods therefore requires innovative solutions and raw materials.
Protein enrichment – Powerful food solutions
Protein-enriched products are becoming a favourite choice as a result of people’s increasing health consciousness. Claims like “high/added protein” are very trendy, since proteins have a good image and are seen as muscle boosters and fat killers.
This pronouncedly positive perception of proteins is being answered by many launches of products with nutrition-related labels.
Our body needs proteins as components of cells and tissues (muscle fibres, organs, blood) as well as for antibodies and enzymes. Furthermore, they transport nutrients like vitamins and iron, accelerate reactions, and convey signals (hormones).
For humans, there are eight essential amino acids (building blocks of proteins). “Essential” means our body cannot produce them itself and must get them from food.
Proteins also fulfil important functional tasks in the product composition. For example, they improve the structure, texture, and elasticity of processed foods and often have good emulsion properties.
There are many types of protein suitable for improving the nutritious profile of foods, such as pea, rice, or wheat proteins.
Fibre enrichment – Healthy dietary ballast
Dietary fiber is an important component for a healthy diet. Thanks to its physicochemical properties, the soluble dietary fiber beta-glucan from oats has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Thus, consumption of beta-glucan from oats reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
Yet, even the conscious consumer with a meal plan high in whole grains and fruits finds it difficult to get the WHO’s recommended 30 g of fibre in their diet every day. Targeted product design in the food industry can help here, by contributing a fibre-enriched range to improve the dietary quality of the population.
Thanks to our wide portfolio of different dietary fibre types, we support you in developing fibre-enriched foods that are indistinguishable from conventional products in terms of look, texture, taste, and stability.
BETTER FOR YOU by IMPAG
With our BETTER FOR YOU concept, we have picked up the healthy nutrition trend for you, and want to show you how you can respond to this as a food producer and achieve a good Nutri-Score.
Are you interested in being inspired by our BETTER FOR YOU concept, and would like to develop next generation foods? We will be happy to present the concept to you in person or by videoconference.
To make an appointment, click on this email link.
Of course, you can also reach us by phone at +41 43 499 25 00 – ask for Business Unit Nutrition & Health.