Special Reports

At the forefront of food trends: Blending big business with disruptive start-ups to accelerate growth

16 Oct 2018 --- Start-ups are attracting the attention of senior executives (particularly in R&D roles) and large-scale corporations looking to collaborate. The industry is awash with examples of how big business is incorporating newly-established small companies that show such promise and scalability that investment from large-scale corporations becomes inevitable. So, is the future of food in the hands of disruptive startup and innovative R&D?

Mushrooms at the center of the plate? Plant-based NPD, health attributes and fermented opportunities

09 Oct 2018 --- Consumer awareness regarding the health benefits and versatility of mushrooms are some of the key factors influencing the growth of the mushroom market at present. The growth in interest in plant-based products and the fact that many consumers are looking to reduce their meat consumption by swapping meat dishes for alternatives is driving mushroom innovation. We are therefore increasingly seeing mushrooms featuring as the star of the show. Increasing demand for meat substitutes followed by growing consumer preference towards vegan food are other factors that are expected to enhance the global market demand for mushrooms.

Palm oil: Industry reiterates improvements and sustainability targets, campaign groups urge more efforts against deforestation

02 Oct 2018 --- The journey for sustainable palm oil is picking up the pace in the food industry recently as big businesses push forward with sustainability pledges, palm oil-free products hit the shelves and the often controversial commodity remains in the spotlight. As we head into the last months of 2018, FoodIngredientsFirst recaps on the strides forward for some of the key players in the move towards a 100 percent sustainable palm oil industry.

At the touch of a button: Food deliveries surge, driven by mobile technology

25 Sep 2018 --- As social networks innovate their platforms and advert types, food brands are also evolving in how they interact with consumer lifestyle, purchasing habits and preferred ways of consumption. As busy, connected consumers seek convenience the food industry is experiencing convergence with social media and the food buying trends of online grocery shopping and food delivery systems. Today’s connected world means that for most consumers, convenience is just a phone call or touch of a button away.

Snack attack: Better-for-you, healthy, spicy and savory NPD drivers

18 Sep 2018 --- More consumers frequently snack throughout the day. Salty snacks are competing not only with each other but also with a myriad of other categories as more food and drink products have become “snackable.” Also, busy lifestyles, concerns about long-term health and the desire to get health-boosting benefits from daily food and drinks have also affected the snack aisle.

Business policies: Tracking the growth of traceability in the supply chain

11 Sep 2018 --- Traceability has firmly entered the mainstream of company Corporate Social Responsibility agendas, it’s one of the key drivers of new business policies, modeling how a supplier must ensure that traceability is at the heart of its ingredients and processes. This comes as global consumers demand more detailed information about their food, where it comes from and its ethical and environmental impact of people and the planet.

Social media and “Instagrammable” food: Millennial influencers – a virtual reality?

04 Sep 2018 --- Social media has become a powerful asset to marketing within the food industry. As sharing food through social media becomes increasingly important, particularly for millennials, standout food concepts are thriving. All of this means that color is once again being embraced and celebrated in food and drink, specifically on social media platforms that provoke these trends. It is a new age of diverse choice, and standing out on the crowded shelf has never been more appealing.

Vegan innovation: Growing appetite, plant-based power & retail positioning

28 Aug 2018 --- The image of veganism is undergoing the most radical change in its history while shedding some tired, old stereotypes – that’s according to The Vegan Society itself. The group proudly states that consumers now closely associate eating vegan with health, fitness and well-being – all huge trends that are dominating the global food industry. The word “vegan” didn’t even exist until 1944 when The Vegan Society’s co-founder coined it, but today it can now be seen on menus and products around the world. This week, Unilever announced the launch of vegan Magnum ice cream bars in Sweden and Finland.

Consumer appeal: Ethnic and street flavors trending in culinary preferences, soups and sauces gaining momentum

21 Aug 2018 --- Culinary trends have evolved dramatically. With the plant-based trend still going strong, consumers are looking for innovative ways to take the benefits of plants into their daily lives and innovation that relies on decadent flavor application, from desserts to alcohol or flavors that evoke indulgence, will also continue to grow and remain paramount to the needs of today's modern consumer. As a result, manufacturers are creating an abundance of flavorful and healthy options. Consumer preferences are somewhat shifting and opportunities for a more adventurous blend of flavors are emerging. Today’s connected world creates an opportunity for new ethnic flavors, street food inspired meals and the revival of culinary classics.

The flavors shake-up: Ethnic, rich and authentic options pushed to the fore

14 Aug 2018 --- The last few months have seen a real shake-up in the flavors space with International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) beginning a new chapter with the combination of Frutarom. The news came as Swiss-headquartered market leader Givaudan completed the acquisition of 40.5 percent of the shares of Naturex for €135 per share, with plans underway to take complete control of the natural ingredients supplier. The acquisition of such a significant shareholding in Naturex fits with Givaudan’s 2020 strategy to expand its offering to deliver natural products to customers.

Bright futures: The evolution of natural colors and a “less is more” approach

07 Aug 2018 --- The trend for natural colors is part of a wider shift in consumer awareness about health and wellbeing and a desire for cleaner and safer food products. Consumers now have access to more information than ever before and, as a result of demand and pressure from health interest groups, the natural ingredients space has been growing steadily for several years now. In light of this, the incentive is now overwhelming for food manufacturers to clean up their products. This is being reflected in the rapid uptake of natural colors in new product launches.

Added value ingredients: Fruit and vegetable inclusions trend amid health boom

31 Jul 2018 --- Better-for-you products are driven by health-conscious consumers searching for satiating healthy foods that taste good. Companies are finding success in fruit and vegetable applications. This market dynamic has led to a surge in new product development within potential categories. Consumers are often searching for new ways to incorporate fruits & vegetables into their favorite foods, as a way of boosting the nutritional values of foods and thus making them feel less guilty about their food choices.

Global trade disputes: Tit-for-tat tariffs, industries hit hard and no end in sight

24 Jul 2018 --- Trade wars, sanctions, the threat of further tariffs and the retaliation that is inevitably involved leads to uncertainty and concern in the economic community. Politicians vent their anger, civil servants compile lists exacting what products to target for maximum impact, farmers feel the pressure of imposed tariffs, entire industries are fretful of what the future will bring and the end-consumer will likely end up paying more.

Nuts, grains & pulses: Plant-based eating trends boost alternative proteins

17 Jul 2018 --- Consumers’ quest for alternative protein is driving innovation across several categories involving nuts, seeds, grains and pulses, backed-up by a rise in vegan and vegetarian trends and an overall growth in meat-free food. People want products with alternative sources of protein as they turn away from traditional meat sources and one of the categories where plant-based inspired eating is driving innovation in snacking. Plant proteins fit some of today’s most significant trends in food and beverage product development – non-GMO, organic, sustainable, vegan, big 8-free, allergen-free and label-friendly. They’re also versatile and functional and that combination of attributes is why we see plant proteins in everything from beverages to bakery products.

Fermentation factor: New horizons for bakery and dairy cultures

10 Jul 2018 --- Fermentation is an age-old process but has been experiencing a revival in recent years with a broader recognition of the health benefits offered as well as the unique taste attributes it can deliver. With fermentation seen as a natural and authentic process, new product development and heightened consumer awareness have combined to bring a raft of traditional products to our supermarket shelves.

Botanical prospects: Natural, organic and “active” ingredient trends

03 Jul 2018 --- As the motion of “mindful choices” continues to dominate as an overall trend this year alongside the demand for natural, clean label ingredients in beverages, substances obtained from plants are giving a significant boost to products across multiple platforms. Sugar reformulation in the beverage industry also boosts botanical applications and as government-imposed sugar taxes hit markets around the world, manufacturers want and need to innovate with better-for-you ingredients.

Plant-based potential: Vegan demands surge, opens the door to future innovation

26 Jun 2018 --- Vegan products have become more mainstream and we now see a much higher prevalence of food companies moving straight beyond vegetarian to vegan. The plant-based food market is growing at double-digit rates and expected to reach US$5.2 billion worldwide by 2020, according to Nestlé and a significant proportion of this will be down to plant-based snacks.

Natural antioxidants: Unlocking the power of plants to preserve food

19 Jun 2018 --- Since modern-day consumers understand the role that natural antioxidants can have on their personal nutrition as well as how they can function to preserve food for longer, they want more of them. And so antioxidants are finding new potential amid modern life’s demands. As the fast-paced, high-stress and the time-precious contemporary consumer doesn’t have much time for sourcing and cooking from scratch, that often translates into a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables and an increase in processed and convenience food.

Allergen & free from claims in a plant-based world

12 Jun 2018 --- The need for free-from foods is driving innovation across many food sectors. There has been an unprecedented growth in the egg free and vegan sectors as both manufacturers and consumers alike exercise more caution when purchasing products containing eggs. The free-from industry has grown significantly over the last few years and foods without dairy, gluten or animal products are becoming much more mainstream and readily available on supermarket shelves and in the foodservice sector.

From hop to hip: Craft moves to the mainstream

05 Jun 2018 --- Craft beverages, functional and botanical ingredients and clean label have long been dominating NPD in the beverage space for some months. Contributing to this is the world of social media, which backs the current wave of food and drink related content as a form of self-expression and the debate around beverages – what’s in them, what’s new and so on – continues to dominate the sector.

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