Friday, July 22, 2016

IFT16 Trend: Feeding the Evolving Consumer. Think Lifestyle Fortification.

This was a week of quotes...some familiar and others brand new. This blog contains a number of them.

One of my favorites, the one that inspires me as a food scientist, was obtained while researching an article for Food Business News on formulating convenience cocktails.

Keith Davis, founder of Nebula9 LLC, a Portland, Ore.-based company that will very soon be rolling out a namesake healthful vodka beverage that’s distilled four times and infused with organic drinking vinegar and sweetened with stevia, said:

“People don’t change. They evolve. We did not set out to re-invent the drinker, rather to re-invent the drink and change the game.”

This profound statement was alive and thriving on the show floor of IFT16: Where Science Feeds Innovation, the annual meeting and food expo of the Institute of Food Technologists that took place this week. It was so wonderful to see so many of you in Chicago, my hometown. I hope you enjoyed your stay and returned to your offices and homes with great ideas for future innovations.

If you were at the expo, you are likely as tired as I am. Hopefully you are taking the day off and have your feet up relaxing. I’m actually in Salt Lake City to speak this afternoon at the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) annual meeting. The title of my presentation: “Getting in the Driver’s Seat, Marketing Milk and Dairy Products to Today’s and Tomorrow’s Consumers.”

It’s all about formulating and marketing dairy to the evolving consumer. The reality is:
than consumers did during the past 100 years.
There’s no going back. If the consumer is evolving, food manufacturers and marketers must evolve, too.

There’s a tremendous shift in the way we eat and drink and we are in the pinnacle of it, according to Melisa Abbott, vice president of culinary insights, The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. Consumers want more from their food and beverage choices, with wellness and deliciousness going hand-in-hand.

That “more” Ms. Abbott refers to is suggestive of nutrients that go beyond basic nutrition. This is not to be confused with the “more” that comes from traditional food fortification, which continues to be of upmost importance in preventing deficiencies that can lead to disease. Rather, this new “more” refers to lifestyle fortification. It’s personalized nutritional enhancement for a specific life stage or health condition.

Lifestyle fortification presents processors with an opportunity to differentiate in the crowded marketplace by giving their products a boost of extra nutrition. This is either by adding isolated vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, or selecting whole food ingredients concentrated in the vital components today’s consumers want for their bodies to function as best as possible.  

Fortification refers to the act of supplementing foods with nutrients not previously present in the food or not naturally occurring at high enough levels to serve a functional purpose in the body. The term is often confused with enrichment, which describes the practice of adding back nutrients lost during processing.

“Fortification of foods helps millions of people meet their nutrient requirements annually,” says Hugh Welsh, president, DSM North America, Parsippany, N.J. “Before food fortification, deficiency diseases were prevalent in the U.S.

“Research consistently shows that people who avoid fortified foods are at increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies,” he said. “It is very difficult to eat a nutritionally dense diet, meaning one that provides all the required nutrients in recommended amounts and maintain a healthy body weight. When people are restricting the amounts they consume to maintain a healthy body weight, then the goal of meeting essential nutrient requirements becomes even more difficult. This is even more challenging when on a weight-loss diet. Fortification increases the nutrient density of foods and makes it easier to obtain essential nutrients and maintain health.”

From what I observed at IFT, there’s tremendous opportunity for dairy processors to offer “more” in everything from milk to yogurt to even ice cream.

Think omega-3 fortification to improve brain development and enhance memory. Fiber addition for gastrointestinal health, heart health and improved nutrient absorption. The list goes on.

Even FDA recognizes we need to consume more vitamin D for better health. Just last week, the agency announced updated food additive regulations allowing manufacturers of milk and plant-based milk and yogurt alternates to add more vitamin D to their products. The update will allow milk to continue to claim to be an excellent source of vitamin D, even after the Daily Value for vitamin D is raised in the updated Nutrition Facts label.

This allowance for increased vitamin D levels goes into effect immediately. Processors will want to get on board and add more vitamin D, as it will be a nutrient that must be declared in the new Nutrition Facts label starting in 2018.

The food additive regulations for vitamin D now allow double the maximum level of vitamin D previously allowed in milk, up to 84 IU per 100 grams of milk or 800 IU per quart of milk. However, no changes were made to the standard of identity for milk, which still provides for only 400 IU of vitamin D per quart of milk.  In order to fortify with the higher levels, milk must be named with a nutrient content claim, such as “high vitamin D milk,” according to Cary Frye, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association. You can read more HERE.

With that, we must never forget that there’s a whole world out there filled with many hungry populations. So where lifestyle fortification appeals to the many with dollars in their pockets, safe, nutrient-dense food appeals to so many more.

Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, Omaha, said it very well during an IFT session on clean label. He said:

“Make sure to look at the entire world, not just what 50 million people in North America want.”

He emphasized we must never forget the needs of the global population.

“If you really want to look at megatrends, look at the entire planet,” he said. “A lot of things will be fads or trends for elite developed countries that can support them, but there are 10 billion people coming in the rest of the world that we have to feed, and they’re not going to use Google Glass or Q.R. codes to read labels on products. They’re going to get up in the morning and wonder where their food is coming from.”

To read an excellent article on the clean label session in Food Business News entitled “The complicated reality of simple ingredients,” link HERE.

My colleague Monica Watrous at Food Business News is on a roll with her IFT reporting. Here are a few other great articles she wrote this week with links.

 Rest up my IFT-attending readership! Mark your calendars for IFT17, June 25 to 27 in Las Vegas.

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