The following content originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Food and Beverage International, which you can subscribe to here.
The last 10 years has seen a revolution in the snacking and convenience sector with consumers choosing premium quality indulgent snacks and looking for healthier options with lower fat, salt and sugar content. Claire Phoenix spoke with Beneo manager market intelligence and consumer insights Myriam Snaet.
What do you see consumers looking for in today’s ever busy world?
Weight management is the number one health concern for today’s consumer in Europe. We are also finding that they are expecting their food and drink products to support a healthy lifestyle, rather than hinder it; be that on the go or at home. Consumers are interested in all things ‘natural’ and non-GMO, as they continue to link natural with being ‘better’ for them (70% of the European consumers regard natural products as better, according to BENEO Fibre Research). This explains why clean labelling has grown in importance, with more than half of the consumers saying that they now choose to consult packaging information when buying food products.
When it comes to snacking and convenience what are the current and upcoming trends?
With weight management such a major health focus for European consumers, it is no surprise that there has been significant growth by 23% (2015 vs 2014) in the area of ‘thins’; traditional bakery products that have a ‘thinner profile’. Major categories for thins include pizza, savoury and sweet biscuits and crackers. While pizza launches with a “thin” texture claim have been increased by 22% (2014 vs 2015), the number of launches in savoury biscuits in the same category has almost doubled and thin sweet biscuits has grown by 46% in the same period of time. . A great example of this trend, that combines weight management with clean label demands, is Sakata’s Japanese rice crackers – light and crispy, they are under 8 calories per cracker, yet are gluten-free and come in a wide range of flavours.
What sort of work has BENEO been doing in this sector?
We have many years’ experience in developing formulations that offer improved taste and texture, as well as other nutritional and technical benefits, such as being clean-label, and/or gluten-free. The company’s extensive range of specialty rice ingredients is proving particularly popular with gluten-free producers because they add mouthfeel, longevity and nutritional content to end products, as well as being clean label.
Technically, bakery products can overcome a range of gluten-free challenges using rice derivatives. The rice starch granule is the whitest and finest in the starch family and gives exceptional texture to products. It can help the finished product become crunchy, crispy or soft, depending on the profile required. For example, the hardness and brittleness of thin bakery products can be fine-tuned by adding small amounts of rice starch such as BENEO’s Remyline AX-FG-P. In addition, production losses arising from breakage of biscuits or crackers during packaging can be greatly reduced.
Taste is critical to repeat purchase – how do you overcome the taste challenges?
When it comes to taste, we have found that the entire ingredients portfolio meets or exceeds customer expectations. The rice ingredients have a clean taste that compares very favourably against gluten-free equivalents such as corn and potato starch. They can also be combined with our dietary fibres oligofructose and inulin when formulating products for sugar reduction. The use of inulin and oligofructose also improve taste and mouthfeel and enhance a product’s shelf life. Inulin not only adds sweetness but can also be used to modify colour and enhance the flavour of gluten-free baked goods formulations as well.
What other developments are in the pipeline for snacking and convenience?
Recent new product concepts have included breakfast solutions containing BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibre inulin. By including this ingredient, the products can also carry the exclusive EFSA approved digestive health claim. Additionally, the company’s experts have worked on sugar-reduced snacks with an improved texture, as well as protein- and fibre-enriched cereal bars. Last but not least BENEO launched its new translucent chewing gum coating technology. For the first time, this new technology allows multi-coloured gum centres to be covered in a crunchy and translucent coating that supports cleaner labels (as it replaces the need to use titanium dioxide).
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017