Ingredients producer identifies key food trends

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based meat, such as the Vegetarian Butcher’s Mc2 Burger (pictured), is a key trend for manufacturers
Plant-based meat, such as the Vegetarian Butcher’s Mc2 Burger (pictured), is a key trend for manufacturers
Alternative proteins and sustainability are the key trends that food and drink manufacturers should be keeping their eyes on, according to ingredients and flavourings producer Griffith Foods.

Speaking to Food Manufacture​, vice president of marketing and sales Hans Schinck said that alternative proteins already had a strong foothold in the industry, evidenced by the interest in some of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

“You see big companies like Unilever investing in the vegetarian butcher here in the Netherlands,” ​he explained. “They do that because they see that market segment thriving and growing really rapidly, driven by consumer demand for these types of products.

“The market segment is there, it’s growing rapidly and it will continue to do so in the years to come.”

Griffith does a lot of work within the alternative proteins sector, helping manufacturers to maintain taste and texture in their products. It has also joined the green protein alliance in the Netherlands as the only ingredients company.

Sustainability

The company has also identified sustainability as a key trend, on which consumers are very conscientious.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of impact that their choices have on environment and on the world,”​ Schinck added. “We’ve always been a very sustainability-driven company, sourcing our raw materials from sustainable sources in an ethical way.”

“It’s a driver that is underlying our growth strategy. As a trend it’s more prevalent now and more in the foreground.”

A large part of Griffith’s work is around sugar and salt reduction in its customers’ products, an area where manufacturers have come under increased pressure to make the food and drink they produce more nutritional.

However, reducing or eliminating sugar and salt in food products creates a unique set of challenges that Griffith works to minimise.

Challenges in processing

“When you eliminate sugar and salt … you create challenges in processing,”​ Schinck explained.  “When you eliminate the higher volume components, you have to compensate for them to make sure you still have a stable and fully spread blend of components.

“What’s challenging when you eliminate sugar in a sauce or a dressing is shelf-life stability. Our technical experts have found solutions for that – depending on the level of elimination or reduction that the customer wants to achieve.”

Another consideration for creating a product lower in salt or sugar is the taste.

“Taste is king – you can have a very great healthy product, but if consumers don’t like it, then they’ll buy it once and never again,” Schinck concluded.

Meanwhile, now is the perfect time for start-ups in the alternative meat sector​,​ as a growing number of investors look to fund businesses within the market, according to the head of investment at CPT Capital.

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