news & trends

Top 5 Tips for Safe & Innovative Recipe Development

In today’s food-conscious world, consumers are more vigilant than ever about safe food handling. Did you know that approximately 1 in 8 people (4 million Canadians) falls ill due to foodborne illnesses each year? Health Canada’s statistics underscore the importance of food safety awareness. As consumers scrutinize their food and recipes – from its origin to preparation – they seek reassurance that it’s safe for consumption.

But here’s the good news: Health Canada is stepping up its prevention efforts, focusing not only on preventing foodborne illnesses but also on heading off food spoilage. In collaboration with the Partnership for Food Safety Education, Health Canada has identified key messages to incorporate into recipe development. These messages aim to enhance food safety practices and empower Canadians to handle and prepare food safely at home.

As recipe developers, writers, food journalists, bloggers, dietitians, and chefs, you play a pivotal role in shaping culinary experiences. Let’s explore five essential tips for creating safe, innovative, and enticing recipes. Whether you’re a seasoned recipe creator or a curious home cook, these insights will help elevate your culinary work.

  1. Incorporate Food Safety Instructions into Recipes

    Research shows that when food safety instructions are seamlessly integrated into recipes, consumers are more likely to follow them. As recipe creators, your mission is to encourage everyone to practice food safety steps at home. Consider weaving essential food safety practices directly into your recipe instructions.

  2. Emphasize Handwashing and Clean Surfaces

    Prioritize hand hygiene and cleanliness. Begin your recipes by emphasizing the importance of washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Highlight this step as the first step before handling food. You can even create a tip box at the start of each recipe, drawing attention to proper handwashing practices.

  3. Ensure Proper Cooking Temperatures with Food Thermometers

    Guide readers on cooking food to the correct internal temperature. Visual cues (such as color or texture) can be misleading. Encourage the use of food thermometers to accurately determine doneness. Embed the internal temperature message within your recipe instructions and refer to Health Canada’s safe cooking temperatures chart. Cooking food using proper temperatures is a great message for everyone, especially those who are just learning to cook. (Health Canada)

  4. Use Authentic Recipe Names and Cultural Appreciation

    In the culinary landscape of 2024, cross-cultural cuisine is trending. When naming your recipes, appreciate their cultural origins. Thoughtfully borrow from diverse culinary traditions, paying homage to roots and backgrounds. Celebrate flavor, experience, and cuisine by mindfully integrating regional and traditional elements. (McCormick Flavour Forecast 2024)

  5. Create Nutritious and Flavorful Options

    When it comes to nutrition, a balanced eating pattern is key. While plant-based eating is on the rise, it doesn’t mean eliminating animal-based foods entirely. Consider incorporating plant-based protein sources such as soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh), legumes, nuts, and seeds. Explore balanced meal patterns from Canada’s Food Guide and the Mediterranean diet to inspire wholesome and delicious recipes.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about innovative recipe development services or nutrition analysis support! 🌱🍽️

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Written by: Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc – Award-winning dietitian and Owner, n4nn

Key Nutrition Trends for 2024 & Beyond

After examining forecasts, here are the 10 key trends in food and nutrition for 2024 and beyond. These trends have enduring impact that will influence food and nutrition businesses and shape the way we shop and eat.

  1. One Health

    One Health promotes a balanced and healthy future by integrating the well-being of people, animals, and ecosystems. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment. One Health is a collaborative approach, aiming for optimal health outcomes at local, regional, and global levels by recognizing the ecosystem connections.

    Opportunity: Innovations in food production are pivotal for ensuring food security, nutrition, and animal welfare. The WHO supports advancing One Health approaches.  (WHO 2017, 2021)

  2. Sustainability

    Consumers increasingly prioritize sustainability in food choices, seeking options that benefit both people and the planet. Principles of stewardship and responsibility of humans to change behavior and adopt solutions underscore the importance sustainable practices for future generations.  (Dvorin, 2022)

    Opportunity:  Many Canadian companies stepped up with eco-friendly packaging, but much more can be done to communicate clearly and credibly about sustainable choices that are affordable, available and desirable.

  3. Plant Forward

    The plant-forward trend continues to evolve, accommodating various dietary preferences. It encompasses vegan and vegetarian and flexitarian eating, reflecting a shift towards more plant -based eating while allowing animal foods too. “Think omnivores on their way to becoming flexitarians.” (Culinary Institute of America, 2020)

    Opportunity: Consumers seek great tasting and convenient plant based foods both in grocery stores and restaurants. Plant proteins present ongoing opportunities for innovation.

  4. Year of the Fibre

    Fibre is part of the ‘healthy halo’ yet many people only get half the amount of fibre they need. Fiber-rich eating patterns offer many benefits, including improved digestive health, and reduced risks of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. Fibre-containing foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes and nuts. (Dietitians of Canada, 2018)

    Opportunity: Looking for ways to add more fibre to consumers’ eating plan can positively impact overall health. Fibre messages are easy to understand and have strong positive association to digestive wellness.

  5. Snackification

    Snackification reflects a trend towards consuming larger size snacks throughout the day rather than traditional main meals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, instead of a morning meal, people may eat a snack right after waking up, then eat another snack mid-morning. Other names for snackification have been “grazing”, eating a “little bit at a time but more often” or simply just “snacking”.  This pattern aligns with busy lifestyles, offering convenient and portable food options. (Ceyland, 2023)

    Opportunity: Snackification presents an opportunity for diverse, nutrient-dense food offerings that cater to on-the-go consumers. Balanced budget wise snacks could have the edge in these times of rising food costs.

  6. Positive Relationship with Food

    A balanced eating pattern involves nourishing and optimal food choices.  How and why individuals choose the foods they eat reflects their relationship with food. Encouraging a positive relationship with food is essential as consumers move away from restrictive diet culture and discover more about their body’s natural hunger cues. Embracing intuitive and mindful eating approaches fosters balanced eating characterized by lower stress around food and more freedom in food choices. (Turner, 2021)

    Opportunity: Supporting individuals in building positive food habits with no restrictions and providing resources for mindful eating can facilitate a shift towards healthier relationships with food.

  7. Mood and Mind

    Awareness is growing regarding the impact of food choices on mood and cognitive function. Nutrient-dense foods support gut and brain health, with emerging research highlighting the role of the gut-brain axis in overall well-being. (Bending, 2021)

    Opportunity: Promoting diverse, nutrient-rich eating patterns can optimize mental function and overall well-being.

  8. Successful Aging

    Successful ageing emphasizes quality of life beyond the age of 60, focusing on physical, psychological, and social well-being. Research identifies 4 key behaviors, including regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, moderate alcohol consumption, and avoidance of smoking, to promote health in later years. (Willcox, 2012)

    Opportunity: Promoting evidence-based behaviors like balanced meals and staying active significantly enhances health beyond 60.

  9. Processed Food Controversy

    Processing food is a method of production and includes any kind of alteration. Debate surrounds the classification of foods based on level of processing versus nutrition or other food attributes and their impact on health. The levels of food processing—from minimally processed to ultra-processed—influences consumers choices. (British Health Foundation , 2023)

    Opportunity:  Consumers expect simpler and less processed foods, yet great taste, convenience and affordability are also important factors. Explore options for processing foods and consider nutritional contributions.  Offer information on ways to balance convenient foods and boost nutrient density.

  10. Technology and AI

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing food-related processes, from production to consumption. AI-driven data analytics optimize operations for grocers, while mobile applications assist consumers in navigating food choices, comparing prices and delivery options thereby enhancing convenience and efficiency. AI’s impact is increasingly felt in education and health care, including dietetic practice.

    Opportunity: AI tools can help fine-tune processes and provide real-time data to act efficiently and cost-effectively. Further research into the effectiveness and safety of AI-powered nutrition interventions is essential for realizing its full potential. (Bond, 2023)

Contact us for comments or questions.

Written by: Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc – Award-winning dietitian and Owner, n4nn

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