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Innovative solutions for high-quality added value clean-label ingredients
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Clean-label, sustainability and cost efficiency: Latest innovations for high-quality, added value natural ingredients

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In the ever evolving food industry, the demand for high-quality natural ingredients has never been greater.

The growing consumer interest in wellness, nutrition and labelling coincides with an increasing focus on ingredients – notably, fat and sugar content; unwanted additives; and protein and fiber content. Recent market data shows that 45% of US consumers actively seek protein-rich snacks.1

Additionally, sustainability has become a top concern for many consumers globally, driving them to look for companies which offer sustainable ingredients of natural origin. According to market research carried out in 2024, more than a third of US consumers believe companies bear the most responsibility for improving sustainability.2

So how can the demand for better nutrition, natural origin and sustainability be effortlessly combined with cost-effectiveness and the production requirements of today’s modern industry?

Clean-label and cost-efficient: Combining technology and natural ingredients

Within this context, a significant player established in 2012 in the ‘Italian Food Valley’ – the Emilia-Romagna region, and specifically in Parma – comes into play. HIFOOD, a pioneer in natural ingredients technology, now part of CSM Ingredients, has established itself as a leader in the field thanks to its unique research and development (R&D) and application capabilities when it comes to new fibers, proteins, gluten-free and free-from solutions, clean-label products, and plant-based systems.

Protein bread with textured vegetable proteins

Its approach leverages technology and innovation to offer tailor-made solutions based on natural ingredients with proven effectiveness and functionality – free-from, healthier, cleaner, better-for-you – while also focusing on important cost savings for customers. Whether it's reducing ingredients such as eggs or fat, or extending shelf life, HIFOOD's solutions can ensure manufacturers do not have to sacrifice quality for cost-effectiveness.

“In today's challenging economic climate of inflation, labor and skill shortages, and supply chain disruptions, the prospect of integrating more sustainable or natural ingredient options into a company’s portfolio can be daunting, as they are often perceived to come with higher costs,” explains Massimo Ambanelli, Chief Commercial Officer Americas and Asia of HIFOOD-CSM Ingredients.

“However, this assumption does not always hold true. Indeed, at HIFOOD, our priority is to deliver efficient, cost-effective solutions to customers and, very often, it is the natural ingredients themselves that provide us with the perfect solution.

“Many ingredients on our planet possess untapped potential, offering nutritional characteristics and serving as effective binders or stabilisers, therefore effectively replacing non-natural additives or allergens. With our technology and our outstanding team of R&D experts, we offer easy-to-implement solutions and tailored support, allowing food companies to bring tasty, better products on the shelves in order to satisfy the diverse requirements of modern-day consumers,” adds Ambanelli.

Ready Meals

Allergen-free egg replacements to enhance cost savings

The combination of natural ingredients and cutting-edge technology can provide efficient solutions to substitute ingredients that have always been used in food production but that – for several reasons – have become less desirable or more expensive.

A great example is eggs, an ingredient that is used across several product categories and that provides a unique combination of functionalities. As well as being a source of protein, eggs can thicken, coagulate, foam, stabilise, and emulsify. Replacing or reducing eggs is therefore a challenging task.

However, their substitution has become a priority for many companies for various reasons. These range from consumer sensitivity to ethical and sustainability concerns, from cost to availability, as well as to mitigate allergen presence and the potential risk of severe microbiological contamination – a sensitivity that emerged particularly in the US following the outbreak of avian flu from 2010 to 2016.

HIFOOD has developed clean label systems to partially or totally replace whole egg / egg white / egg yolk, in selected applications, such as sauces, bakery and pastry products, gluten-free and ready meals.

Egg free sauces

This way, the final product may offer several benefits: it can be allergen-free (as eggs are a significant allergen), have a reduced environmental impact, and achieve significant cost savings. These solutions can be up to 80% cheaper, depending on the specific recipe of the final products and the ingredients used, according to propriety data from CSM Ingredients.

'Better-for-you' solutions to combine nutrition and indulgence

The replacement and reduction of eggs is just one example of the broader better-for-you approach undertaken by HIFOOD in order to offer a range of solutions to create good and palatable products that contribute positively to overall wellbeing.

In particular, HIFOOD portfolio includes clean-label solutions to reduce salt, sugar, and calorie content, as well as protein and fiber enhancement, all available worldwide. For instance, to address sugar reduction, HIFOOD has developed a pioneering product capable of reducing or eliminating sugar in its bulking and humectancy aspects: Meltec® serves as a texturising and bulking agent with low-calorie properties, containing less than 1% sugar, making it an ideal substitute for traditional solutions.

Egg reduction_ sponge cake

Meanwhile, in response to the growing demand for high-protein products, HIFOOD offers a diverse range of vegetable proteins, from Proteios Textured Vegetable Proteins (TVPs) to micronised dispersible proteins ideal for sports drinks and baked goods.

Partnerships and collaboration at IFT Expo

HIFOOD's extensive expertise and ability to quickly tailor solutions to meet specific needs make the company an ideal partner for developing unique products, and several of these innovative concepts will be presented at the upcoming IFT Expo in Chicago.

For example, Alianza Team and HIFOOD, winners of the 2023 Fi Europe ‘Plant-based Innovation Award’ for their clean-label and allergen-free version of the protein emulsion MirrorTissue®, have joined forces even further to create food technology advancements in the areas of sports nutrition, bakery and plant-based meat alternatives.


Their award-winning advanced version of MirrorTissue®, which combines Alianza Team's plant-based lipid fats designed to mirror animal fats with HIFOOD's allergen-free plant proteins and soluble fiber technology, demonstrates the potential of collaborative innovation.


1. ​Mintel. US Better for You Snacking Market Report 2024.
2. ​Mintel. Unveiling the Trends Driving Ingredient Innovation in the Food Industry.