Product Manager Klaudia Volmer from BENEO, explores the use of innovative functional ingredients and emerging trends.
Confectionery producers are increasingly using functional ingredients in their new and reformulated product development to tap into new and emerging trends. Here Klaudia Volmer, Product Manager Functional Carbohydrates at BENEO, discusses why there has been such a rise in interest in functional ingredients, and how these trends are beginning to shape the future of such ingredients in the sector.
The growing health agenda
In recent years, functional ingredients providers have been working closely with many industry-leading food producers to help them reformulate their products to deliver alternatives with less fat, sugar, allergens and artificial ingredients (clean label). However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, some issues have grown to become higher priority for consumers, and this has had an impact on the types of ingredients being sought out for reformulation.
From a consumer perspective, topics such as immune health and staying fit and healthy are now high on the agenda thanks to the pandemic, while broader issues such as gut health, mental stability and healthier ageing are also growing in importance. As a result, consumers are increasingly adopting a long-term approach to health maintenance, wanting to stay active and independent until as late in life as possible and looking to their nutrition to play a key role in this. In the confectionery sector, this is driving additional reformulation, as consumers seek the same levels of taste and indulgence, but in a ‘better-for-you’ package from an even wider range of products.
The growing transparency agenda
Even before the pandemic hit the headlines, consumers were increasingly wanting to know and understand more about what was in their food and drink products, so that they could consciously make ethical and healthy buying decisions. As more have understood the link between overall health, wellbeing and healthier nutrition, they are now, more than ever, choosing foods based on reading ingredients’ labels. This is leading to confectionery manufacturers using functional ingredients in their products that have specific nutritional benefits and help drive repeat purchasing. This attention to labels is also increasing pressure on producers to be transparent about their ingredients, sourcing and overall credentials on pack.
The health agenda – the shape of things to come
With six out of ten consumers globally saying that health is the priority for them when selecting indulgent products, pursuing healthier confectionery reformulation will continue to be a focus for producers over the coming years. Also, as many consumers develop a strong desire for control over their personal health, this will continue to influence and shape the types of functional ingredients used within reformulations.
One area where a shift is happening is sugar reduction and replacement. Up until recently, the emphasis was on reducing sugar contents, mostly with regards to calorie and weight management. However, another health benefit is beginning to take precedence when it comes to these aspects: one of the many reasons that so many are watching their sugar consumption is that they are wanting to improve their blood sugar management and subsequently to live more healthily…
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Editor, International Confectionery
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