Supplier view on consumer trends in the nutritional space: Clean label and sustainability

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07 Aug 2017 --- Consumers are stepping up their demands on the quality and sourcing of the foods, beverages and dietary supplements they purchase. Today, in the second part of a special report, NutritionInsight presents a list of the latest trends in natural ingredients, analyzed and expanded upon by a number of industry experts.

Clean label
Demand for clean label products shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. “With consumer demand for increased transparency and natural products, clean label is firmly established as one of the most influential global trends and has become a standard for many supplement manufacturers,” notes Dominik Mattern, Capsugel Business Development Manager, EMEA. “Along with scientific evidence, producers are placing growing emphasis on removing unwanted additives, such as preservatives and e-numbers, in order to simplify on-pack labeling and build consumer trust.”

More than ever, consumers are looking for natural ingredients in their foods. “We see a growing demand for natural or naturally-derived ingredients that support health,” says Maria Pavlidou, Head of Communications for the EMEA area at DSM. “Our portfolio consists of many products that fit this profile, which can be applied in a range of formats within the nutritionals industry. These include, but aren’t limited to, omega 3s from algae or fish, OatWell oat beta-glucan and Fruitflow – our natural tomato extract with an [EFSA] approved article 13.5 health claim related to blood circulation – all of which are backed by strong scientific evidence.”

Some believe that people are becoming tired of the unnatural products they are constantly exposed to. “Mainly the driving trends are linked to a [rejection] – or in a more indulgent way, a more suspicious view – of consumers of all the chemical products that consumers are in contact [with] during all the days of all their lives, including their in-utero lives,” in the view of Dr. David Daguet Ph.D., Scientific Affairs Director at Vidya Europe. “That is why consumers are now looking more than ever to more naturalness in their foods, including nutritionals and food supplements.”

“Consumers are [becoming] more and more aware of potential risks associated with, for example, chemical additives and GMO products. [They are becoming aware of] direct risks [to] their own lives, or indirectly [to] the environment, to the planet. That is why more and more consumers are looking for free from, non-GMO, organic and sustainable products.”

Vegan and vegetarian products
In what could be seen as an extension of the demand for clean label foods, increasing numbers of consumers are also opting for diets with no meat or animal products in them. “The rise of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian products, alongside the consumer shift towards healthier living, is resulting in increased interest in plant-based proteins and omega-3 fatty acids,” notes Gerd Mueller, International Sales Director for Natural Health and Nutrition EMEAI at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM). “Linked to the trend for more natural, clean label foods, vegetarian and vegan products are moving into the mainstream – particularly in Germany and the US, where almost one in five new product launches are now positioned as vegan, according to [market research provider] Mintel.”

The rise of vegan food should present multiple opportunities for the nutritionals industry. For example, vegan consumers “tend to lack vitamin B12,” Capsugel’s Dominik Mattern points out. “Vitamin B12 is essential, however, as it contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism, red blood cell formation and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.”

Sustainability
Of course, awareness of the environmental impacts of all products and the possibility of sustainability are becoming very important to consumers, too, and ingredients are no exception to the sustainability trend. “In this frame, Industrials are using more and more vegetal proteins (soy, pea, rice) instead of animal proteins,” explains Jean Pierre Cuif, Global Food formulations director. “This vegetal origin generates a better CO2 impact and a better availability, resulting in a better solution to feed the planet. Traceability of these new natural sources is obviously a must for food companies.”

The issue of the sustainability of ingredients is inseparable from the issue of their health benefits, according to Dr. David Daguet Ph.D., scientific affairs director at Vidya Europe: “A good ingredient is a healthy ingredient for you, but also for the planet. Good for you with demonstrated efficient health benefits, good for the planet when produced in a sustainable manner.”

Anagenix Managing Director Chris Johnson agrees, emphasizing the ultimate link between a healthy human body and a healthy environment: “A healthy product does not just have functional benefits. It is also sustainable, grown in a way that respects the person consuming [it] and the environment and gives the consumers an emotional uplift in knowing that they have gratified their body without taking away from the environment.”

By Paul Creasy

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