Healthy nutrition is the new norm, as markets globally show rising demand for healthier foods. Formulating for the new generation of health-conscious consumers remains challenging, as taste, texture, flavour and appearance matter alongside convenience and a nutritional profile. Fibre and protein enrichment, free-from, plant-based nutritional choices, sugar, salt and fat reduction, fresh-keeping for sustainable health, clean label, healthy indulgence are all a focus for Univar Solutions.
Bakery, snacks, beverages, dairy and active nutrition are some of the key categories seeing consumer drive for healthy nutrition.
“Today’s consumers are constantly on the lookout for cleaner labels, less sugar, salt and fat, fibre and protein fortification, and meat- and dairy-free choices with an enhanced sensorial experience,” said Natalia McDonagh, head of marketing and technical sales for food ingredients, EMEA at Univar Solutions.
She continued: “Consumers are effectively becoming mindful nutritionists, educating themselves on what they need for health and wellness. They are mindful of the nutrient density and functionality of their foods, and we will soon see a combination of holistic health and self-care in food and beverage markets like never before, with a sharp focus on ingredient sustainability and taste, flavour, texture and appearance.”
Plant-based nutrition is seen as one of the pillars of health and wellness, from the self-case as well as the environmental and sustainability perspective. Health crises, climate change and the ability of food production systems to keep pace with a population projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, bring the need for alternative proteins into focus, rapidly elevating the “better for me, better for the planet” theme across the continents.
“We believe that plant-based food innovations could help the food industry bring together business communities, science and technology to create sustainable growth, enable consumer choice for better nutrition and have a positive impact on fighting climate change. Univar Solutions has these innovative technologies and ingredients to assist challenges of developing high-quality, clean-label, plant-based alternative products,” McDonagh added.
The source of the ingredients used to create products matters. Consumers routinely scrutinise ingredient lists and educate themselves on product safety, quality and traceability. European markets are adopting the Nutri-Score front-of-pack label, while in the UK, promotions on food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) in medium to large retailers will be restricted starting October 2022.
Delivering sustainable, nutrient-dense and functional products is becoming a prerequisite for successful product launches and brand longevity. Clean labels are essential in providing the health-conscious consumer with information and therefore confidence in their chosen products, as ‘Front-of-Pack’ labelling is well established throughout Europe.
The concept of clean conscience is beginning to supersede clean labelling, as it goes beyond what is good for the body and reflects what is good for the planet, the provenance of ingredients and their environmental sustainability.
And consumers are now seeking and being given more information about the health components of the food that they are purchasing. Healthy products in the next two years will focus on solutions that support consumers’ self-care practices and boost nutrient density, whilst reducing fat, sugar and sodium.
“Enabling that all-important consumer choice and quality healthy nutrition is what fuels our passion at Univar Solutions, and that is the focus of our efforts to bring quality, efficient solutions and options to food and beverage manufacturers,” said Kevin Hack, vice president for food ingredients at Univar Solutions.
Webinar series: Discover wellness
Join Univar Solutions’ Virtual Discover Wellness Series throughout June 2022 to learn more about how Univar Solutions can prepare you to meet these unique and rising demands.
Among the topics of discussion are selected ingredients and formulations for healthy nutrition in bakery, snacks, dairy, beverages and active nutrition, such as starches, enzymes, natural sweeteners, taste modulators, natural colours and flavours, texturising systems, proteins and protein concentrates and prebiotic dietary fibre. The webinar series will discuss ingredient solutions that will address flavour, texture and mouthfeel challenges during product development.
Learn more about healthy nutrition and Univar Solutions here.