Superfoods: (Part 2) What will be next in well-being? The “superior” food of tomorrow

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19 Oct 2017 --- Strengthening supply chains
A few years back quinoa production centered around traditional Andean growing regions like Peru, Bolivia and Chile, but now the superfood grain is commercially grown all over Europe including, Britain, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain and the Netherlands as its popularity continues to gather pace in consumer groups all over the world. Commercial farming is also being developed in Kenya and India. 

Since around 2013, which was also the International Year of Quinoa, European consumption has been steadily increasing and it’s now a mainstay in supermarket aisles, on restaurant and food-to-go menus and is used as an ingredient across many categories including, baking, snacking, confectionery and cereals. 

Around one cup of cooked quinoa (185g) provides 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, and 5g of fiber, which is 21 percent the recommended amount. Quinoa is also an excellent source of magnesium with around 118 mg per cup.

Faced with the challenge of increasing the production of quality food to feed the world's population in the context of climate change, quinoa offers an alternative for those countries suffering from food insecurity, according to FAO. 

Coconut & cacao
Both these naturally growing products come with superfood status. The rise of coconut is self-evident in many countries from coconut-infused everything while rising star cacao has been growing in popularity throughout 2017. Both these ingredients are used across several categories, particularly popular in beverages. 

For instance, global sales of coconut water are estimated to reach US$3.4 billion by 2019.

Earlier this year Tetra Pak highlighted the growth in coconut-based products with the launch of an online version of its acclaimed Coconut Handbook, which provides an in-depth guide to the entire value chain of products made from this versatile and nutritious fruit. It’s also used as a source of reference for more than 1,000 industry professionals since being launched as a print-on-demand book in 2016.

“The Coconut Handbook draws on our 20-year experience in the category, as well as insight and research from our dedicated Coconut Knowledge Centre in Singapore. In response to numerous customer requests, and in anticipation of continued growth, we are now making it available online,” Samit Chowdhury, Cluster Marketing Services Director, for Tetra Pak told FoodIngredientsFirst

“We also believe that our expertise and knowledge is more easily spread when online, plus, as well as customers, university students welcome the fact that the book is available to read online.”

“We expect the global growth trend to continue,” he claims. “The original growth came from unflavored coconut water but now we see a proliferation of flavored and protein-enriched varieties, alongside the extension of coconut water from a traditional hydration space into subcategories related to sports drinks and energy management. We also expect traditional coconut water drinking markets to take up packed coconut water due to the convenience factor.”

Superfoods of tomorrow
Seaweed is making waves in nutrition-rich new product development (NPD) and with its many varieties is tipped to become the next super green “superfood”. It’s finding new product applications in Western markets due to its wide-ranging health benefits and although seaweed cultivation has been around for decades, the challenges for today’s burgeoning industry is to keep pace with demand for the super speeding growing and nutrient-rich algae that are being included in new product innovations across the food, supplement and animal feed segments.

Microalgae as an ingredient are often used for innovative flavoring or as a salt substitute and, according to Innova Market Insights reported a +10 percent increase in global supplements launches containing seaweed ingredients (2015 vs. 2014).

Seaweed is one of the most sustainable raw materials as it consumes carbon dioxide as it grows and doesn’t require any water, pesticides or fertilizers. It obviously taps into consumer trend for natural products and has an extremely healthy nutritional profile. All indicators that the category will likely continue to surge. 

Tiger nuts
Despite the name, Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, they are a small, dried edible tuber from the Cyperus Esculentas. With a coconut flavor and creamy texture, tiger nuts are being hailed as the next superfood. At least by Nordic Chufa, a Danish company which says it was the Arabs who brought the chufa to southern Spain more than 500 years ago. There has been continued cultivation and today it is especially popular in the Valencia area.

This original ancient superfood could be used in plant-based milk, flours for gluten-free baking can be eaten whole and if soaked overnight can also be added to recipes. 

You can read the first part of this report here

By Gaynor Selby

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