The company identified seven trends highlighted by food and beverage producers it queried, and used these as platforms to promote its ingredients that match the trends.
According to Tate & Lyle, 2009 will see increased consumer attraction to foods and beverages with multiple health benefits.
“With economic uncertainty influencing consumer purchasing decisions and interest in healthy eating on the rise, food and beverage manufacturers can feed consumer demand for products that provide more bang for the buck,” said the company.
Several of the trends identified revolve around the recurring theme of health and nutrition, which is increasingly capturing consumer attention.
The ‘health and wellness’ trend draws on Tate & Lyle’s market research from 2008, which found that consumers prefer products with functional health benefits. These include digestive health, immunity defense and weight management.
The company also identified a ‘functional ingredients’ trend, which is based on an increased consumer attention on individual ingredients. It highlighted an article that appeared in The Chicago Tribune last month, stating that consumers opt for foods that deliver benefits against multiple conditions, such as added-fiber products promoting digestive health and satiety.
A continuation of the age-old trend of ‘reduced calories’ provides fertile ground for the company to promote its sweetener ingredients as a means to cut sugar and calorie content without affecting taste.
Tate & Lyle suggested that food and beverage manufacturers help consumers save costs in a tightening economic environment through strategic partnerships.
According top the ingredient group, manufacturers can partner with suppliers on sweetener or texturant optimization processes that could lead to “significant production savings, which can be passed on to consumers, while delivering a final product with an improved health profile.”
Taste and indulgence remain top priorities, and need to be reconciled with the consumer quest for more health and less cost.
Tate and Lyle said consumers “want to have their indulgent cake and eat it too”.
“Several reports indicate decadent foods with a healthy twist are sparking food interests. Consumers are seeking their favorite desserts, like ice cream and cookies, fortified with dietary fiber, vitamins and other nutrients to enjoy without the residual guilt.”
The company also suggested that consumers are increasingly seeking out comfort foods as part of a quest to find products and tastes reminiscent of their childhood.
Finally, Tate & Lyle highlighted findings fromThe International Food Information Council (IFIC) 2008 Health and Wellness survey, which found that consumers are looking for “simple” ingredients.
“Foods with functional, recognizable ingredients, such as dietary fiber, on the label are in. Ingredients requiring an advanced degree in biochemistry to understand are out,” concluded the company.