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ADM on transatlantic differences: “American sweet” protein bar

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn , 03-Dec-2013

ADM marketing director: “In the United States you’d see 20 feet, six shelves high in a grocery store of nutrition bars.”
ADM marketing director: “In the United States you’d see 20 feet, six shelves high in a grocery store of nutrition bars.”

Europe is still behind America on the nutrition bar trend and European perceptions of sweetness levels are different, says ADM marketing boss.

Talking with BakeryandSnacks.com at Food Ingredients Europe, Tom Burrows, director of strategic marketing at ADM, said: “I know Europe is not as much of a bar market.”

The American food-processing conglomerate was at the show demonstrating its new prototype protein and fiber bar which incorporates ADM ingredients including Textura, a new line of soy protein crisps.

American snacking habits

Burrows said he was pleased to see “a fairly significant amount of bars” on sale in shops in the UK. However he said that this still isn't on the same scale as the US. “In the United States you’d see 20 feet, six shelves high in a grocery store of nutrition bars,” he said.  

He said he thought that this could be because in general Americans snack more. “We’re now tracking trends that say consumers are eating six meals a day in North America.”

However this is not something limited to the US, he said. “I’ve been to New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and Mexico in the last six months and I see health and wellness trends everywhere. I see snacking is a global phenomenon. So we think supporting the nutrition bar industry, the healthy snacking industry, is a major market for our division,” he said.

“American sweet”

The company said that it was using the prototype as an opportunity to demonstrate what the company can do with all its ingredients. “The prototype had two goals: one was to introduce Textura, but also to demonstrate that we can actually develop for someone a complete bar. We have every ingredient you need.”

The prototype bar contained mainly ADM ingredients, with the exception of the rolled oats and mango. Burrows said that the mango and the white chocolate included could provide a sweetness that some Europeans may not be familiar with. “Between the mango pieces and the white chocolate, I would call it 'American sweet'. It’s more familiar to me than most Europeans that try it,” he said.

Little demand for sweetener alternatives

The prototype bar contains ADM’s maltodextrin Fibersol-2 which Burrows says provides both sweetness and a binding function when added with high fructose corn syrup.

He said that he did not see the trend for sweeteners like stevia entering the nutrition bar segment. “We don’t find much of a demand for the sweetness element of the product. In other words we’re not being asked for artificially sweetened nutrition systems that help them make a bar. These are all relatively low in sugars, that’s how we design them,” he said.  

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