Health and Nutrition
Consumers taking control
In recent years, the Global Food and Grocery Retail Market have seen continuous growth. This growth has been resilient. Instead of merely taking medicines, consumers have been becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of preventative, health diets. In short, they are taking control of the way they eat.
Alongside this trend is the increasing mistrust of large-scale organisations and their ability to provide optimum nutrition. COVID 19 has played its part, raising issues and concerns around food security and quality. People are now thinking carefully about what they consume, where it is processed, where they source it from and how they consume it.
A mature yet growing market
Western Europe is now a mature market, facing saturation. Manufacturers need to think clearly about how they position their offering. They need to consider the rise in global population, development of the market and the increased spending power of consumers.
As more premium foods become available, costs increase. Changing lifestyle trends and food preferences are encouraging manufacturers to experiment with cultivation, Genetic Modification, new techniques and ingredients. There are signs, however, that consumers are pushing back with demands for simplicity. The move from home-cooked food to convenience foods means that emerging markets are showing more demand for healthy foods.
A growing consumer demand for nutritional content
The future will see further co-operation between R&D, bakers, development chefs, scientists and health professionals. We will also see innovation in fats and shortenings, emulsifiers, enzymes, functional blends, colours and flavours. The growing consumer demand for nutritional content also features in the baked foods sector with low sugar, whole grain, and zero trans-fat per serving.
There are many other factors which are influencing the demand for nutritional innovation –
- A growing ageing populations
- Better science
- Improved computing power
- A better understanding of the importance of gut health (often referred to as the body’s second brain)
- Needs of those with specific health conditions such as Coeliac disease and allergies
- The growing obesity problem
In recent years, the relationship between pharmaceutical science and nutrition (known as nutraceuticals) have combined with consumers’ desires for ever more exotic ingredients and locally healthier sourced ingredients, meaning that this sector is poised for dramatic growth.
In addition, governments are pushing for balanced nutrition, enhanced fortification and healthy eating campaigns. Almost by osmosis, consumers are becoming more health aware, but there is still plenty of confusion. Consumers are overloaded with messages, often conflicting, regarding what they should, and what they shouldn’t eat. They become easily influenced by fad diets and next-big-thing trends.
Negotiating confusing legislation
Consumers, product designers, start-ups and retailers need support to negotiate the maze of claims that are allowable and how to position their products. In addition, there is a huge amount of confusing legislation to negotiate, especially if a food manufacturer wishes to make a health claim for their product.
Consequently, consumers are seeking champions and reliable sources to help them make healthier choices. Manufacturers need help with how to make products healthier, i.e. fat, sugar, salt reductions, whilst keeping ingredients panels simple (free from unknown ingredients). This is called ‘clean label’.
Maximising profits and health - simultaneously
Nutritionists and dieticians can advise. Chefs, bakers and technicians can recommend and design products. However, if manufacturers and would-be manufacturers are to innovate, they need top-line insights.
Manufacturers need maximum yield and nutrition from their products. This means maximising profitability and health simultaneously. A further growing trend is ‘stealth health’ for children - healthy confectionery and fortified treats.
Consumers prepared to pay for a healthy option
Evidence shows that consumers are shopping less but spending more per trip. They’re more focused on their needs. Foods traditionally found at the bottom of the food pyramid, such as dairy, bread and cereal grains are historically viewed as better suited to fortification. However, nowadays, almost any raw material, if correctly processed and handled, could be viewed as a functional food.
Consumers are prepared to pay extra for products that are innovative and healthy. Even indulgence products are getting the healthier-for-you treatment, promoting the virtues of reduced sugar and lower-fat versions.
However, as you take the bad things out, there’s the danger of compromising on taste, mouthfeel and other qualities. Just changing a formula to make it healthier isn’t enough. This is where product developers need help from different disciplines - those that know how to manufacture things better, how to improve acceptability and how to make it look, taste, feel, smell and eat better.
Combining nutritional support with science-based evidence
Dieticians and nutritionists understand what happens inside the body. Getting consumers to try, purchase and enjoy the products is a different matter. This requires experts who understand how to make them cheaper, faster, better and more sustainably.
This is where our team of experts comes in. We provide reformulation and processing supports and advice, as well as nutritional support and science-based evidence. This means faster fixes for product developers, more certainty and better alignment with which claims are permissible.
Who are these services for?
These services are as applicable for high-performance products, such as sports nutrition bars or beverages as they are for unique scenarios, for example
- Extended periods of isolation
- Food boredom
- Specialist diets
- Aged care
- Hospital food design
Our skills and expertise
We have experts from across the entire spectrum of
- Functional Foods
- Side and product development
United Plates dairy experts are positive and passionate advocates for health foods and nutrition. They relish innovation – exploring new techniques, ingredients, and processes. They are always eager to develop and share ideas for ‘the next big thing’. Their approach is to act responsibly and professionally, affording total respect to the concept of client confidentiality.