Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Health & Wellness
Health and wellness will continue to take center stage in 2013 both because persistent high obesity and chronic illness rates demand it and because food and beverage manufacturers seek higher margins that these value-added products can command. Manufacturers of packaged foods and beverages and chain restaurant operators will demonstrate ongoing commitment to improving the healthfulness of their offerings consistent with evolving consumer interest and building on initiatives undertaken over the last several years.
Formulating foods and beverages to address health and wellness concerns is an important area for food processors in 2013 and beyond primarily because consumers are demanding healthier options but also out of concern over meeting the recommendations spelled out in the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Delivering against health and wellness objectives also provides a way to enhance competitiveness, particularly in relation to nutrition labeling, increasingly as front-of-pack information.
It is worth noting that consumer perception of health and wellness appears to be undergoing a change from purely personal nutrition and fitness to a view heading into 2013 that considers self in relation to environment and the broader world. As such, local, organic, natural and sustainable are important attributes within the broader context of health and wellness.
The goal of Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Health & Wellness is to provide an analysis of the key ingredient trends and formulation approaches anticipated for 2013 that are associated with high profile health and wellness platforms of food manufacturers including more nutritious breakfasts, healthier snacking, alternative protein ingredients, sodium reduction and sweetener selection strategies. The report contains in-depth discussion in each of these areas, with high level focus and findings as follows:
Breakfast’s comeback will continue in 2013, and with it consumer expectations of serious health and wellness benefits associated with one or more of the following: fiber, protein, whole grains, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Packaged Facts expects continued strong interest in breakfast foods that provide the energy needed to get through the morning without crashing or being hungry, thus continuing to drive interest in high protein and high fiber foods. For this reason, expect to see new whole grain and dairy blends in convenient product formats in 2013. Like the Energizer Bunny, oatmeal’s appeal will keep going and going, both in packaged goods at retail and in food service. Yogurt’s popularity will not wane, with manufacturers planning numerous product launches and yogurt-centric food service outlets opening their doors bright and early in the morning to cater to the breakfast crowd; no longer just dessert and sweet treat eaters.
Snacks as mini-meals and for mindless munching will happily coexist, offering product attributes that address a range of health and wellness concerns in 2013. Nuts, bars, popcorn, cheese, vegetable chips, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and fruit chips offer more healthful snacking variety packaged to provide greater convenience and portion control.
Consumers aren’t proclaiming to be vegetarians in greater numbers, but more are cutting back on meat and broadening their dietary repertoires to include more plant protein sources. Ancient grains such as quinoa and amaranth, nut butters, nut and seed blends and legumes are all growing in importance, both consumed as is and formulated into processed foods.
Despite periodic rumblings that sodium reduction efforts are misguided and even potentially harmful for the general population, major food manufacturers continue to make progress toward achieving their stated reduction targets both for consumer retail and foodservice product lines. Throughout 2013, Packaged Facts expects ingredient manufacturers will continue to introduce and refine the use of technologies and approaches for reducing the sodium content of processed foods that deliver against both cost and taste expectations. Reshaping salt crystals and use of ingredients to enhance savory character and taste satisfaction are approaches likely to be used more in 2013 in addition to partial substitution with potassium chloride replacers.
Without a doubt, the perfect sweetener is poised to the most sought after and the most despised ingredient simultaneously in 2013 as pressure mounts for reducing total and added sugar content of all foods and beverages. Packaged Facts expects that stevia will see growing competition from monk fruit as a no-calorie natural choice while honey and coconut sugar are likely to outshine agave nectar and its high fructose content when it comes to natural caloric sweeteners. Although some processors are returning to HFCS after reformulating with sugar, anti HFCS sentiment will remain strong in 2013 as evidenced by new product labeling, particularly on food and beverages designed specifically for kids.
The information in Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Health & Wellness is based on both primary and secondary research. Primary research included interviews with the Hartman Group, the Kruse Company, Center for Culinary Development, Dairy & Food Communications, Inc., editorial staff of The Packer and Produce Retailer and the National Honey Board in addition to firsthand examination of the retail marketplace. Secondary research involved gathering data from various trade, business and government sources, including company websites and Internet blogs.