The Innovator: Inge Demeyere

In an interview shown at Confectionery Live 2024, Inge Demeyere, Managing Director for Cargill Food Solutions EMEA stressed to Editor Caitlin Gittins how in tune they are with trends and co-creation 

Please introduce yourself and your role at Cargill? What is your background in the confectionery industry?
I’m Inge Demeyere, the Managing Director for Bakery, Ice cream and Confectionery at Cargill Food Solutions EMEA. My responsibilities involve looking at growing these categories for the company in Europe. 

Previously, I was the Managing Director for Cargill’s chocolate business in Europe and I served in this position from 2014 until February 2023. 

Prior to joining the chocolate industry in 2009, I worked in trading and EMEA projects in the oils business. I began my career as a trader for the family-owned company Vandemoortele. That provides a brief overview of my career.

Based on your research and insights, how are consumers enjoying their chocolate today? Have attitudes or perceptions of chocolate changed? 

Consumers are the most important group that we need to be aware of. Consumers today are increasingly mindful of the food that they eat, but also of the ingredients used to formulate the products that they’re eating.  

We’ve seen that consumers want an innovative and sensory experience, which is very important, but we’re also seeing trends such as plant-based chocolate or sustainable chocolate grow in popularity. 

I’d like to highlight two topics that we’re focusing on in Cargill: pure indulgence and experimental flavours. Pure indulgence refers to chocolate that is clean label, promotes health and wellness and is not eaten at the cost for health of the consumer. 70% of EMEA consumers consider, for example, the lack of additional sweeteners in products as being important to them. 

Consumers are also seeking out new experiences and this can be achieved by experiment ingwith new flavours. If you look at our consumer research 63% of consumers are saying yes, we want to experiment with flavours and we’re willing to make an impulse buy to try out new flavours. We see this mindset across the board, both with younger and older age groups. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve witnessed the growth of nostalgic flavours. Consumers are seeking out nostalgic flavours that remind them of simpler times. Caramel, for instance, is a major flaovur that we see coming back. 

Today we’re seeing trends such as plant-based, clean label, sustainable chocolate and more. How are you keeping up with a fast-changing market? 

There are rapidly changing world demands and we need to meet these demands in a transformative way. The reputation of Cargill is reliability, security, but also innovation. We’re well positioned to become the go-to partner for our customers to work together on co-creating products. 

The big question is how to achieve this. On one end, we look together with our customers at future trends which are identified using our trends and ingredients trackers, which seek to understand macro shopping habits and consumer behaviours on a global scale. This can support our customers in understanding emerging and future trends they could tap into.  

We also look at our category specific surveys which provide a deep dive into consumer insights. As one example, if we do a deep dive into consumer insights on sustainability, then we look at consumers, what products they’re looking for…

Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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