BALANCING TRENDS IN FOOD PRODUCTS.Development with nutritional value


Food products development is innovating to cater to the needs of consumers, and though many of these trends have a clear focus on sustainability and health, some lack a focus on guaranteeing nutritional value. The average 2019 consumer is now, more than ever, aware of the benefits of sustainable shopping and of living a healthy lifestyle full of exercise and conscious consumption. This does not, however, imply that all consumer demands in relation to food products development equates to nutritional value. Demands vary, centering on delivered value through accessibility, convenience, brand experience and/or customization.

The trend towards foods with bright colors has come to light due to their success on social media. The trend towards flavor creativity has resulted in deeper connections with brands. The question then becomes,

how can these growing trends in food products development be balanced with nutritional value?

Brands have begun to accomplish delivering desired consumer value, while simultaneously delivering nutritional value. Go Raw’s Sweet Spurlina, for example, has balanced the trend towards marine-based ingredients, by providing consumers a healthy seaweed snacking option rich in vitamin content and high in protein.

Trend Examination Balanced with a Nutritional Solution

Millennials are starved on time, meaning they seek convenient and efficient solutions when it comes to feeding themselves. Their schedules may not allot them the time to buy and then make home-cooked meals. Mini meals provided by grocery stores in the refrigerated aisle and by subscription based food delivery services is a growing trend that fills a customer need by offering something quick and easy to consume. Brands like Perfect Bar have followed this trend, while providing nutritional value. Perfect Bar created the first refrigerated protein bar, a mini-meal with a focus on protein and nutrition.

Though companies are providing mini-meals as quick and easy solutions, the trend towards mini-meals has been embraced with false and misguided nutritional solutions, making the consumer particularly weary to trust health-marketed mini-meals. Pepsi Co, a company highly associated with obesity and unhealthy food products adopted the mini-meal trend with a supposedly healthy twist in their development of Naked Juice. Pepsi Co saw high demand in the mini-meals business and responded to consumers increasingly healthy habits by producing a fruity smoothie. Contrary to their marketing efforts, the brand came under fire with a lawsuit in 2016 for misleading consumers. Naked Drink was marketed as a no-sugar-added beverage, and yet the smallest amount of sugar content in a Naked Drink still had more sugar than a can of Pepsi. This reality addresses the need to ensure growing trends in food products development are balanced with real nutritional value.

Creative Flavors
Consumers’ expectations are rising, allowing more space for innovation in food product development. Millennials and Generation Z in particular are embracing the experience economy and food innovators have responded by offering creative flavors. Heinz Ketchup has introduced a caramelized onion and bacon flavor. Lay’s Chips has launched Crispy Taco flavored chips. In order to meet in the middle with their target audience, brands have begun to offer creative flavors that appeal to younger audiences, while sticking to familiarity so as not to scare off older generations.

The brand Brekki is both a healthy and convenient breakfast option that has followed the creative flavor trend, while assuring a nutrient-dense breakfast. The brand offers unique flavors in overnight oats ranging from Coconut Cardamom to Vanilla Cinnamon. Brekki’s Facebook Page reflected on their decision to embrace more creative flavors saying, “Brekki fans we spoke to said they wanted more flavor, so we worked with some amazing chefs to sharpen our flavors and create an even better product.”

Innovative Ingredients
Consumers want new ingredients, new delivery options and new subscription options, and they want it now. As these consumers have become increasingly content-conscious, they desire ingredients that provide real nutritional value. The food industry has adhered to these desires by developing a variety of new ingredients, such as lipid multiparticulates. This innovation now provided by nutrition and consumer health applications was originally used in pharmaceutical products to improve performance. Lipid multiparticulates improve taste and increase bioavailability, therefore making certain powder blends and beverages more attractive to the conscious consumer. Though this is targeted towards the sports nutrition industry, new and innovative ingredients have been introduced to the food industry as a whole. Greenfood50, for example, is known for their healthy and sustainable free form quinoa ingredients grown and sold in the European Union.

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