Renee Boerefijn, BLC director of innovation for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said increased use of nutrition labelling schemes was fuelling growing interest in BLC’s fats and oils solutions. He told Food Manufacture there had not just been a rising interest in BLC’s reformulation services in confectionery. “This is not restricted to confectionery or chocolate products.
“It also applies very strongly to bakery, which I think is going to be the real battleground for these nutrition labels. There we have a lot of solutions available to improve [Nutri-Score] labels to go from E to D to C without sacrificing indulgence, without creating something that is completely dry.
‘Massive burst of activity’
“With the last half-year we have really done a massive burst of activity in the innovation team to look at different iconic products – you can think of sandwich biscuits with a cream layer in between or a filled chocolate bar with a caramel and a wafer and a biscuit layer to see how those products could move to the left through the Nutri-Score to get a better front-of-pack label.
“This is such a key timing, with Italy moving on Nutrinform and Germany moving on Nutri-Score. We have done a lot of work on cookies, for example, where we see that you can really make quite big steps in terms of improving Nutri-Score and also there you run the risk of making a very dry product in the end, so it’s key that you have the right oil and fat solution in there.”
Boerefijn’s comments come after Public Health England published its latest report painting a mixed picture regarding the UK food industry’s progress on sugar reduction.
EU member states remain at loggerheads over which nutrition labelling scheme to adopt across the union. France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany favour the Nutri-Score system, which uses A-E grading as well as colour coding. Italy and others back a system known as Nutrinform Battery, which illustrates the weight and proportion of calories, fats, sat fats sugar and salt per 50g portion.
Nutrition labelling pressure
BLC marketing director for EMEA Feike Swennenhuis acknowledged the pressure that the roll-out of nutrition labelling was applying to the food industry, driven by consumer and government demand for healthy eating. “Healthier choices is one big driver that will drive the food industry for the coming 10-15 years.”
The intense product development activity focused on plant-based products was partly being powered by the same healthy eating trend, but was also separate from it, he said.
“It’s very interesting to be now in the food industry. There’s certainly a revolution going on. You see that on the rise of plant-based, but it’s driven by a different type of consumer that wants to make healthier choices. There is, for example, a growing rejection of red meat. These new consumers, Millennials, are looking for plant-based solutions in that area because of animal welfare, sustainability and these healthier choices.
“Healthier solutions go across a lot of categories. It’s in confectionery, bakery, dairy, plant-based, so it’s a very broad application this new food labelling will be applied to.”
Addressing BLC’s capabilities, Swennenhuis said it now operated a team of 30 co-creation specialists across Europe who work in partnership with processors to deliver bespoke solutions.
Boerefijn said BLC had united its existing portfolio and services for food and drink manufacturers seeking reformulation solutions to showcase on front of pack and nutrition labels. In particular, it had integrated its tropical oils and fats and seed oils and fats portfolios. “We have really brought this together now to be seamless and to help customers improve their nutrition scoring.
“This scoring is targeting the calories, the saturated fat levels and also the sugar and salt levels. All these things are really building blocks of confectionery products, of pastry products and that’s what’s new in this offering, that we make ourselves available for co-creation across this full range of capabilities that we have, including our creative studios, of which the latest one is now in Istanbul.”
Swennenhuis also highlighted BLC’s recently launched Sweetolin total fats solution, which was launched earlier this year and was designed to achieve up to a 50% sugar reduction in confectionery products.
Boerefijn added: “Seed oils are definitely so much lower in saturated fat compared to tropicals, but also there’s our capabilities in terms of fractionation that allow us to take by physical processes lower saturated fat of a tropical oil so we can then use the functionality of those oils without having the downside of high sat fat level.”
BLC’s tropical solutions include oils and fats derived from shea butter, coconut, palm and palm alternatives. It is a leading global producer and supplier of sustainable plant-based specialty oils and fats for the food manufacturing industry, targeting dairy, bakery, culinary and confectionery producers.