news & trends

Five growing trends in food innovation

Our world is facing disruption and uncertainty. Yet in this changed world people seek to nourish their bodies to the best of their ability. Consumers have re-evaluated their food and nutrition priorities and in this post we take a closer look at what this means for your business. We joined virtual global conferences including SIAL 2020 and reviewed top notch research articles to study the future of food innovation.  Here is our translation of the 5 growing trends in food innovation that will impact all food and nutrition professionals for the next 5-10 years to come.

  1. Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing
  2. Clean label
  3. Plant based
  4. Food safety
  5. Well-being and immunity

1 Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing

Consumers are looking for new ways to meet their food needs. Less time spent in grocery stores and restaurants means convenience and personalized shopping is essential.

Digital-age solutions are transforming the way grocery stores, food retailers and restaurants operate. Pandemic-impacted brands must adapt and power through by branching out of traditional platforms to sustain consumer engagement.  Discount chains are offering more food brands and premium brands at better value. Have you seen groceries in dollar stores yet? They are priced as close to a dollar as possible.

The line between retail and restaurants continues to blur.  A completely new restaurant concept dubbed as a ‘dark kitchen’ or ‘virtual kitchen’ is rising. These kitchens sell meals exclusively through delivery – no eating in, seating or serving is involved.  Virtual kitchens cook purely for delivery so the food that is produced there must be transported and enjoyed elsewhere.  Third party delivery and distribution channels enable these food businesses to connect with consumers quickly and effectively.

2 Clean labels

Consumers continue to seek clean labels. Although undefined by regulators, shoppers consider ‘clean label foods’ to have familiar sounding ingredients and made simply using fewer ingredients.  Various claims are also sought after including ‘organic’, ‘free from’ and health-related benefits like reduced sugars. Product innovations across all categories are now sharing messages about minimal processing and fewer chemicals as consumers don’t want to see labels packed with additives to extend shelf life.  Some consumers are also evaluating foods’ environmental impact based on climate change and land / water use.

In our work with clients we collaborate with them to simplify food labels and provide meaningful, legally sound claims that address clean-label project goals.

3 Plant based

Gone are the days when plant based was just an ‘alternative’.  Plant-based foods are successfully crossing over into the mainstream and becoming a regular part of people’s diet.  More and more consumers are looking to limit meat or dairy intake based on deeply held values such as ‘eco-health’ or ethical reasons.

This macro trend is driving innovation for dairy and meat substitutes and fish/shellfish alternatives are expected to follow. The key ingredient of interest in food innovation for plant-based foods and beverages is protein, a trend that continues to remain strong.  Consider the variety and diversity of plant based sources of protein including a larger selection of grains and cereals. Consumers are also expecting great taste and an eating experience that is beyond imitation.

What’s holding your plant-based food innovation back from crossing over to the mainstream? As dietitians and food experts we empower our clients to make plant-based foods an everyday healthy choice.

4 Food safety*

Ensuring high food safety standards is becoming a greater concern as people focus on keeping illnesses at bay.  Although there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source of transmission of the Covid19 virus it’s critical that all stakeholders protect food safety, animal health, plant health and market access. Everyone has a role to play to bolster and safeguard food. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to appropriate oversight of domestic production and imported food products. Agri-food stakeholders, including farmers are providing safe food for consumers and managing the supply chain. Culinary professionals and consumers should continue to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation including:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces including chopping boards and countertops
  • Clean fruit and vegetables before eating, cutting, cooking and wash them under running water. (Do NOT use soap or detergents or other chemicals on food.)
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw foods that come from animals such as meat poultry and seafood. Avoid potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods
  • Cook meat thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperatures

More information about food safety is available at our previous post here or consult Health Canada’s website for food safety tips.

* Source: Health Canada, CFIA, CDC

5 Well-being & immunity

Research shows that many consumers have at least one health goal they are looking to reach and are actively seeking healthier foods.  Well-being is a common goal and functional ingredients, like prebiotic fiber and slow-release carbohydrates are setting the stage for wellness foods.  This is good news and we applaud food makers to evaluate and re-formulate as needed to provide healthier food choices and optimise nutrient density.
During the pandemic many consumers are seeking functional ingredients to boost immunity. Good nutrition is essential along the journey towards supporting immunity. There are many articles about how this claim will be growing in the future and we caution food makers in the way they approach immunity. Careful consideration must be given to maintaining the integrity and credibility of the statements as food makers formulate food and drinks to empower consumers’ lives. Contact us for credible and legally sound advice on food labelling and claims.

 

Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Services     www.n4nn.ca
 
 
  • Food innovation and labelling support
 
  • Trends, innovation & strategic marketing
 
  • Monthly community newsletter (sign up here)
 
  • Social media tips and sparks (follow us @Nutrition4NonN)

 

 

Innovation Unleashed – 5 hot topics from Canada’s largest foodservice trade event

rc show 2018

 

People LOVE food – it unites us all! The power of food is everywhere and the Restaurants Canada show Innovation Unleashed was a great place to discover fascinating insights on advances in the foodservice industry. We were there and connected with Operators, Presidents, Buyers, Agents, Chefs & more about key industry issues and the future of hospitality. #RCShow18

Here are the 5 hot topics that caught our interest as food and nutrition experts:

  1. Where does food come from? Local is by far still the biggest trend in restaurants today and expected to keep gaining momentum. Running a profitable restaurant, maintaining food costs, and satisfying the local trend is challenging for many businesses. Restaurants are discovering how to incorporate local ingredients to menu items  while boosting the bottom line.
  2. Why does food go to waste?  Stats are shocking…too much of the food cooked in restaurants is thrown away. What about grocery stores? Does food end up in the waste bin because it doesn’t look good? Consumers’ attention is moving beyond where food comes from to where food is going. With such tight margins let’s keep the food out of the trash bin. Speakers also discussed a “Feed it Forward Food Insecurity” option where safe, unused and unsold food destined for landfill could be donated to those who are hungry and in need of food aid.
  3. Wellness anyone? Want to make better-for-you foods and boost your sales with claims? There are labelling laws & science for that!  The power of good food and nutrition has a direct connection to health. Good energy, focus, concentration and productivity are all benefits of healthy food choices throughout the day. As dietitians, we translate the science of nutrition to unlock foods’ potential and support healthy living for Canadians. Call us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help!
  4. Beverage menu in focus. Coffee and tea are popular beverages among Canadians.  Research-based industry trends showed strong areas of opportunity for Restaurateurs, including the largely untapped world of decaf coffee and herbal tea. Tea and food pairing is a trending opportunity. The positive impact of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails can create memorable drinking experiences while striving for a more balanced lifestyle. Cheers to that – healthy hydration never looked better!
  5. Future of Food & Eating. Space research yields fascinating insights on innovation in the hospitality industry. Expert panelists discussed technology, new agriculture, experiential eating, personalized foods and more that will transform the future of everything edible.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights that can elevate your business contact us info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com or join us at the 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18, 2018, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

 

Top 3 Trends & Winners at Grocery Innovations Canada 2017

Lucia GIC grocery trade show 2017 gic 2017 show pic

Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) is a ‘must attend’ annual event for professionals in the grocery and specialty food business. This year’s conference and trade show offered tips for growth, innovation, and best ways to connect with consumers.  Here are 3 TOP TRENDS we recognized in some of the award winning products.

  1. Pack it with protein
  2. Make it Fresh
  3. Keep it simple & clean for labels

Pack it with protein
Food makers are adding and highlighting protein in just about every category. It’s true that consumers are looking for protein but many people are confused about how much they need and where are the best sources of this important nutrient. As dietitians, we translate the science and find that Canadian nutrition recommendations encourage people to include plant based proteins and balance their protein intakes throughout the day, especially at breakfast.

Two of the 2017 Grocery Innovation award winners featured a protein claim.
•     EGGbakes (Burnbrae Farms Ltd.) with about 13 grams protein per 95 g serving.
•     PrOATein Premium Nutritional Bar (PrOATein) 15 grams protein per 50g bar.

gic 2017 egg burnbrae

Grocery Innovation 2017 Proatein

 

 


Make it Fresh
Demand for fresh food is on the rise (Euromonitor). We saw many packages inviting us to eat with our eyes first, using windows to let fresh food peek through and beautiful fresh food images on pack. Adding a story about where the food was grown and who cared for it makes packaged fresh food a consumer attraction. One of the top 10 winners of the 2017 Grocery Innovations Awards captured this trend: Ready-To-Eat Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (Nature Knows Inc.) showcasing fresh grape tomatoes, blueberries or grapes.

gic 2017 nature knows

Keep it Simple – the food label that is.
Consumers are looking for a clean label which may be interpreted as a combination of ‘free from’ features as well as an ingredient list that is easy to read, understand and not too long. Simply Simple Kefir+ Overnight Oats (A&M Gourmet Foods Inc.) was voted as one of the top 10 most innovative products.
gic 2017 kefir overnight oats

food labelling changes n4nn

You already know Canadian packaged foods are preparing to update their labels to comply with new Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Table regulations.  Are you working with food brands and rethinking your food offerings? If you have questions about food and health contact us. As Registered Dietitians we are Canada’s trusted experts who translate the science of nutrition into terms everyone can understand. We unlock food’s potential and support healthy living for all Canadians. Reach us for reliable advice at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Key Food Innovation Trends

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2014 Annual Meeting attracted more than 16,400 food professionals from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and share knowledge. One of the highlights of the meeting was IFT’s five key innovation trends expected to have major impact on the food industry. We’ve added our builds for additional insights and context.

  1. Protein is the next nutrient trend following fat and carbs. Protein helps build and repair body tissues and muscle, and is a component of protective antibodies. Protein also plays a role in satiety. With all these important attributes, the quantity and quality of protein in our foods and beverages matters!
  2. Spices & heat are increasing in popularity. Food makers use a wide range of spices to infuse flavour and enhance consumer appeal. Top spice trend mentions include adobo, anise, cumin, coriander, chili peppers, paprika and turmeric.
  3. Natural colors are sought after ingredients to add vibrancy and appeal without artificial dyes and colours. Examples include a variety of fruit and vegetable extracts that are stable in different food applications and are eye-catching to consumers.
  4. Fats & oils are key food ingredients that add flavour and texture. Choosing healthier fats improves the nutritional profile of foods and results in the creation of tasty and ‘better for you’ options that consumers want.
  5. Clean labels which generally means a food ingredient label that is simple, easily understood or sounds familiar. The consumer’s quest for ‘clean labels’ continues to spark innovations in ingredients and food safety to support product re-formulations that allow for the removal of chemical sounding ingredients.

Gluten-Free claims update

Canada’s new Allergen and Gluten labelling regulations came into full force on August 4, 2012. The long-awaited guidance document to industry outlines the requirements for the “gluten-free claim”. For interested marketers, the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) now provides a Gluten-Free Certification Program which includes the use of the CCA’s gluten-free logo.

Health Canada’s report on “gluten-free” claim criteria states that products that do not exceed 20 ppm, and are manufactured under “Good Manufacturing Practices” meet the intent of regulations for “gluten-free” claim. It’s up to the manufacturers to ensure that they meet the established criteria before using the “gluten-free” claim. Read the full report.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provides compliance and enforcement of Gluten-Free Claims.  As a service to manufacturers involved with marketing gluten-free products, the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) developed a Gluten-Free Certification Program. It is a voluntary program with a fee structure and license agreement that involves an audit for good manufacturing practices and defines the terms of use for the gluten free mark. To see if the CCA’s service is a good fit for your business check out their Gluten-Free Certification Program Self Evaluation Checklist.

Implications to your business:

Gluten-free claims target an increasing number of consumers who are seeking to limit gluten in their diet. According to the Canadian Celiac Association, it’s estimated that 2,300,000 people require gluten-free products – 300,000 Canadians who have celiac disease and another 2 million who have non-celiac disease gluten sensitivity. It’s not surprising that the market for gluten-free products is expected to grow. Consider learning more about the health and nutrition needs of consumers to help your business. The gluten-free claim is regulated and may be used by manufacturers whose products meet the criteria. The Canadian Celiac Association’s voluntary program may also be of interest to marketers of gluten-free foods.

Men’s health trending

Life expectancy of Canadians has hit an all-time high of 80.7 years, according to the most recent data released by Statistics Canada. However, men lag behind by almost 5 years nationwide with men living on average 78.5 years compared to 83.1 years for women.  Why is there such a difference and what can be done to close the gender gap? One key reason may be that men are less likely to take care of their health compared to women. Although annual medical checkups and timely screenings can find early warning signs of trouble, many men do not take advantage of these treatments that may save their lives. It’s time to encourage conversations about men’s health. The “Movember” campaign has done just that by committing to “changing the face of men’s health.”  Others are also taking a closer look at connecting with men, including the food and grocery industry. Research shows that long gone is the stereotype of a man as the basket-case in the grocery store and “man-style” shopping is gaining recognition. Studies suggest that men appear to do more than one-third of the family grocery shopping, a trend which is likely to continue.

Implications for your business: Look for increasing opportunities to speak to men about healthy food choices and help them connect the dots between what they eat or drink and what matters – taking care of their health and wellness.