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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Sept. 20 2019

Each week we collect the top stories and latest news in food trends and production, making it easy for you to stay current on science and innovation.

When to lead with sustainability in consumer communications, and when not to

Connecting with consumers on complex sustainability issues isn’t easy. Indeed, it could be the most difficult communication challenge of them all. But for consumer-facing brands, it’s increasingly necessary. That’s because today’s consumers demand transparency about the sustainability of their products. More than two-thirds consider sustainability when making a purchase and are willing to pay more for products that fit the bill, according to the CGS 2019 Retail and Sustainability Survey. A strong sustainability story also drives brand loyalty, the survey says, and customers that continue to support a brand over time will typically spend 67% more than new customers. Read more in GreenBiz

Sweet success can be tricky

It’s been a few decades since the U.S. nutritional guidelines on fats were established, advising consumers to avoid or limit their intake, prompting companies to produce products with added sugars to improve the flavor profile that the fats once provided. More recently, consumers have moved toward concerns about their sugar intake. This intention to avoid sugars is evident in some of the categories growing and declining in Americans’ food consumption. One might conclude consumers want it all—their collective sweet tooth satisfied while avoiding the sugar at the same time—and therefore sugars should be replaced with alternative sweeteners. That, however, will take some time and education. Even for the natural low-calorie sweetener stevia, fewer than 40% of U.S. adults are or would consider using it, NPD data shows. Read more at Natural Products INSIDER

Can clean labels bolster the vegan market?

The demand for vegan foods continues to rise at unprecedented rates along with another trend: clean eating. Many consumers are not only concerned with eating plant-based foods, but they also want simple, whole foods that are free from artificial ingredients and additives. Most natural vegan foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and grains, fall into this clean-eating category, but some processed vegan foods still contain additives and ingredients that many consumers would like to avoid. Consumers are also shifting their preferences towards food products and companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, tying into the clean-eating trend. And while vegan food is naturally better for the environment than red meat and other animal products, highly processed vegan foods do use up more resources than fresh, whole foods. Read more at New Food Magazine

Food trends: What’s next?

Scientific advancements are allowing for innovations throughout the food and beverage supply chain. It is no longer simply a farm-to-table story. It may start with the seed or in a petri dish. Success lies in understanding what consumers will accept and embrace, according to The Hartman Group, in Bellevue, Wash., which held the recent Food Culture Forecast 2019 summit in Chicago. Navigating the new playing field is not easy, especially with consumers’ evolving opinions. Read more at Baking Business

Overcoming the challenges of plant-protein application

The use of alternative proteins offers a perfect solution to a more sustainable food production system. Customers are ready to embrace this trend, but will only do if taste, texture and health remain uncompromised. In order to meet these expectations, product formulators will have to bridge the gap between their understanding of animal-derived proteins and alternative ones, such as plants, algae and insects.  This article looks at some of the common formulations issues such as taste and texture as well as blending and processing of proteins. Read more at Dairy Reporter

Road to natural: A three part series exploring the clean ingredients movement

In the fifth edition of the Road to Natural series, Nutrition Business Journal editor Rick Polito and Iowa berry farmer Andrew Pittz travel to Natural Products Expo East 2019. Their road trip finds them exploring the clean ingredients movement and how it affects not just the products on the shelves but the people on the production lines, the farmers in the field and business development across the natural products industry. Day 1 looks at clean in the city; Day 2, the cost of clean; and Day 3 considers the impact of clean ingredient brands. Read more at New Hope Network

Fortune 500s think small

With the proliferation of food industry disruptors, Fortune 500 companies are feeling the pressure to think like startups. Both Cargill and General Mills, for example, are revving up their investments in innovation by supporting and incubating startup companies. But this is not just a goodwill gesture—a successful startup can benefit the large corporation, too, says Lawrence Wang, Cargill’s director of digital strategy development. Wang heads the company’s Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator program. Currently in its second year of a three-year commitment, Cargill is partnering with Ecolab and Techstars, a worldwide network aimed at helping entrepreneurs succeed. Read more at Twin Cities Business

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