The whole foods movement: ‘Age of the unthinkable’ for processed foods?

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food industry, Nutrition

The whole foods movement: ‘Age of the unthinkable’ for processed foods?
American consumers are rejecting processed and functional foods and embracing whole foods – and industry needs to react with innovative formulation, according to a presentation at the recent Nutracon conference.

Speaking at the Nutracon conference in Anaheim, California last month, CEO and president of Blue Pacific Flavors Donald Wilkes said that the future of food formulation lies in clean labels and nutritious, whole food ingredients. Wilkes predicts that concern about food from farm to table will intensify, as part of what he calls ‘the whole foods movement’. And he suggested that with an increased interest in whole foods and whole ingredients, the supplements industry could also find itself in a difficult position.

“The processed food industry, and anything that has a functional ingredient, is under question from consumers right now, and it’s not going away; it’s only going to get bigger,”​ Wilkes said. “…I think today is the age of the unthinkable for the processed food industry, unless the industry reacts.”

Think simple

He urged food manufacturers to move toward simpler products, and to communicate health benefits of foods and supplements within the context of a whole-food based, balanced diet, and an exercise regime.

“So many food manufacturers want to put structure/function claims on food products these days, but it is a barrier to consumption,”​ he said. “People don’t want their diet to be a medicine chest…If you want to talk about health benefits, talk about them as part of health and wellness, rather than death and disease.”

Fear factor

Wilkes said that the large number and broad scope of food and supplement recalls in recent years has been a major factor behind consumers’ move back toward whole foods, spurring fear of the processed food industry. Despite the recent passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, fear of processed foods and food ingredients is not going away any time soon, he said.

Another major driver of the whole foods movement has been consumer advocacy via the internet, Wilkes said.

“The internet is the pulpit for whole foods,”​ he said. “It educates, but it also misinforms.”

Whole food creativity

Nevertheless, the general model that is emerging for healthy eating is about going back to basics, with whole, healthy foods, colorful plant foods and nutrient-dense foods.

“Companies, even in the ingredients business, can invent…There are ways to deal with it but it needs a certain amount of ingenuity and creativity.”

Wilkes cited successful and innovative food brands that have managed to find a way to capitalize on the whole foods focus, including Häagen Dazs, Minute Maid Simply Orange, and Mamma Chia whole chia seed beverage.

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3 comments

read the ingredients

Posted by Iwonka,

I am sure that some food processors will jump on this trendy bandwagon and try to disguise processed food as healthy alternative. It happened before with "no sugar" products stuffed with artificial sweeteners or "low fat" products stuffed with MSG etc. I hope people will just read list of ingredients. Better yet, they will buy real, pesticides free, no-GMO organic food that don't need list of ingredients.... I hope that whole food/organic revolution will prevail for the sake of our health and our children health. Just say no to frankenfood!

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Glad to See This!

Posted by Ruth Ann Bowen,

I'm glad to see that real, whole foods are gaining in popularity. The fact that the issue is being brought up to the processed food industry is a clear indicator that people are talking with their dollars when it comes to choosing real, whole foods. It's all about supply and demand. The more consumers demand true, farm to table foods, the more we'll find it available.

Ruth Ann Bowen
Co-founder, Nurturing Naturally
www.nurturing-naturally.com
www.facebook.com/NurturingNaturally

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Amen

Posted by J. Ken Swensson,

3 keys to health
The more you leave out of your diet, the more food you eliminate,

the more damaging food you eliminate from your diet,

the more you''re going to cleanse on a cellular level.

you don't need to be 100% Raw to be healthy.
leave out certain foods from their diets without cheating!
you leave out everything that could make you ill and only keep in the best of foods.
I don't care if you eat Raw Foods until you are blue in the face. You are not going to fully heal unless you eliminate the cause, which means omitting certain foods from your diet. I like to break foods down into the following five groups:
• Animal Protein

• Dairy

• Refined Sugar - Cake, Cookies, Candy, Bakery items

• Processed Starches - Bread, Pasta, Cereal

• Raw Vegan Foods –

• Vegetables,

• Fruits,

• Nuts,

• Seeds, and

• Sprouts
If what we leave out of our diet completely without cheating is the way to ultimate health, then it makes sense to first eliminate the food groups that are most damaging to the body.
The two most damaging food groups are the

refined sugars and
processed starches.

THAT IS THE SECRET!

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