Consumers are more aware than ever of what they’re putting into their bodies, and governments the world over are responding by imposing taxes on sugary soft drinks. This means that reformulation and greater portion control have found their way onto the agendas of manufacturers in every sector of the industry.
In this feature, we’ve taken a look at four of the big trends covered by FoodBev online and in print over the last month or so, and simplified them for your convenience.
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Individual portion packs
If you’re unconvinced about the demand for convenient portion control and lower quantities of sugar, salt and artificial ingredients, look no further than General Mills’ recent product launches.
As reported by FoodBev last week, its innovations in yogurt, cereals, snacks and convenience foods were characterised by a focus on health and wellbeing – and particularly on individual portion sizes. The standout trend was individually portioned packs, such as new Yoplait Go Big grip-and-rip tubes that let teens, in particular, single-handedly crush the yogurt before enjoying it.
FoodBev has been talking about the low-calorie sweetener stevia for more than eight years, but its continued use represents a revolt against sugar and a shift towards more natural, non-calorific alternatives.
In last month’s issue of Dairy Innovation, Beneo Technology Centre vice-president Rudy Wouters explained that the main challenges to substituting sugar for an alternative sweetener were ensuring you “obtain the sweetness and body of sugar, while reducing its use”.
The low-calorie sugar Ribose is muscling its way in as the new stevia, while natural fibres such as Beneo’s Orafti oligofructose can help to reduce the total sugars in dairy products by 20%.
In May 2016’s issue of Food & Beverage International, Leatherhead Food Research’s Sophie Pealing explored how enzymes can be used to create healthier food and drink products.
“Enzymes, such as transglutaminases, tyrosinases, peroxidases and laccases can be used to modify food proteins to increase the satiating effect of a product,” she said.
As well as making you feel full sooner, enzymes can be used to make food products last longer. Eating low-GI foods, which have been steadily increasing in popularity, slows down the rate of carbohydrate digestion, which helps to maintain blood glucose levels, manage insulin response and provide extended energy absorption.
Mycotech’s ClearTaste bitter blocker.
Lowering the bitterness
Instead of introducing low-calorie sweeteners into a product, Mycotech Corp has suggested first seeking to reduce the bitterness of some ingredients as a zero-calorie way of sweetening food and drink.
Many foods in their natural state are bitter, it said – but now organic bitter blockers can reduce the need for sugar and sweeteners by preventing a bitter taste from binding to
No company is willing to sacrifice flavour in order to make their products healthier – as evidenced by Mars’ recent advice that consumers should only eat some of their products once a week.
The move shifted the onus to the consumer to ensure that their diet was healthy, and not the manufacturer, suggesting that companies who find themselves unable to reformulate their products to an increasingly health-conscious marketplace are still able to make use of clever marketing techniques to present themselves as “sugar-wise”.
But with more options for reducing sugar and calories than ever before – whether it’s no-calorie plant-based sweeteners or changes to the portion size – for food and beverage producers, the excuses really are running out.
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© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020