Tate & Lyle lists top food and beverage trends for 2011

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Specialty food ingredients, Food

Simplicity, stealth sugar and calorie reductions, one product with multiple benefits and restaurant quality at home will be the four top food and beverage trends influencing manufacturers this year, according to a roundtable of experts convened by ingredient company Tate & Lyle.

The top trend, simplicity, reflects consumers’ growing preference for products made with fewer, easy-to-understand ingredients and a transparent label as highlighted by Datamonitor. “This expansion in what consumers generally consider “healthy” is changing the face of new product launches, carrying with it the growth of the natural products category,” ​said the panel.

Simplicity trend

Dave Tuchler, Tate & Lyle’s global vice president, Marketing, Innovation and Commercial Development, said: “As the simplicity trend accelerates, it is crucial for manufacturers to understand consumers’ desires for easy-to-understand ingredients, such as soluble corn fiber​ and crystalline fructose, when formulating foods and beverages.”

Trend two​: Stealth sugar and calorie reductions, reflects both health and economy. Craig Donaldson, vice president, Sucralose​ Product Management, Specialty Food Ingredients, said: “By custom blending ingredients with a higher sweetness profile, the end result is a product with less sugar, less calories and 100 percent of the taste without the risk of increasing manufacturing costs that would occur by using sugar. It’s a win-win on all accounts​.”

Mathew Kaleel, co-founder and portfolio manager at H3 Global Advisors, warned that sugar prices could soar 30-40 percent above current levels over the next 12-18 months.

Manufacturers can reduce sugar, calories and manufacturing costs by blending sweeteners, such as Splenda Sucralose with sucrose, said the company.

Trend three:​ One product with multiple benefits, highlights consumers’ preference for foods and beverages with a range of value-added elements. This offers manufacturers the ability to differentiate their products in a competitive market.

For example, manufacturers can formulate a product to provide a digestive health benefit while simultaneously reducing calories without compromising on taste.

Taste preferences

Paul Cornillon, global applications vice president, Specialty Food Ingredients, commented: “A deep understanding of what health issues are of concern to consumers and how manufacturers can communicate claims are important to developing a product that provides multiple nutritional benefits, and meeting both quality standards and taste preferences.”

Trend four​: Restaurant quality at home, reflects manufacturers’ opportunity to build brand loyalty by recreating the restaurant experience with bold and creative flavors while allowing consumers to watch their pocket books. Applications such as at-home meal kits and microwaveable meals will allow manufacturers to differentiate their products in this area.

Jim Miller, North America vice president of Sales, Specialty Food Ingredients, said:

“The key to re-creating the restaurant meal at home is incorporating the right blend of food starches and stabilizers that are synergistic with the other ingredients in the meal.”

Meanwhile, when the company first conducted this survey three years ago, budget and health were among the main consumer preferences targeted by US food manufacturers.

Other trends for 2009 included: Functional ingredients and reduced calories.

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3 comments

Confusing

Posted by wildmktg,

The trend concepts get blurred in the explanation and the explanations sound more scientific as opposed to consumer friendly. Shows a lack of understanding on the consumer side which then suggests that the research could also show a lack of understanding of the results. Perhaps a list of trend items or trend concepts would have been more effective. I guess it depends on who the intended audience was for this article.

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Contradictions

Posted by Julie Wasmer,

It would seem that the highlights underline a contradiction. Are we looking at a growing divide in the consumer marketplace? Things like starch stabilizers that mimick the restaurant experience seem in direct contradiction to "simple" ingredients.

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Easy-to-understand?

Posted by Howard Goldstein,

“As the simplicity trend accelerates, it is crucial for manufacturers to understand consumers’ desires for easy-to-understand ingredients, such as soluble corn fiber and crystalline fructose, when formulating foods and beverages.”

Crystalline fructose is easy-to-understand?

Also - Does trend 1 and trend 2 contradict eachother? As we use more artificial additives (like sugar-substitutes) won't the ingredient lists become more cumbersome and harder to understand?

Is this simply a game of darts?

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