It’s interesting how many different trend predictions are being made at this time of year for what’s in store for our industry in 2012. Some say the word “pure” is resonating more with consumers than “natural,” and a product’s origin, or the ingredients contained in it, are taking on more importance in the buyer’s mindset. Food safety is on everyone’s mind and getting the right certification in place, such as FS 22000, can go a long way in helping a company demonstrate its commitment to delivering safe, nutritious products. We are proud to have received that certification on a worldwide basis.
While it’s important to be aware of these trend predictions, consumer interest in their overall health and wellness shows no signs of slowing down, offering manufacturers ceaseless opportunities. Baby Boomers continue to flex their strength by living longer, more active lives. The boom in births during an 18-year period post World War II (1946-1964) created a generation of 78 million “Baby Boomers” in the U.S. that now represent the largest consumer group. To enhance their healthy aging process, products targeting issues surrounding sight, flexibility, osteoporosis and cognitive health will continue to take center stage with this group of consumers. Nutrients such as lutein, lycopene, chondroitin, calcium and choline are some of the most researched nutrient monographs by visitors to the Fortitech website, interested in creating products that speak to this demographic.
At the other end of the spectrum is children’s nutrition. From infants onward, parents are constantly looking for the best possible product for their kids. Weight management and childhood obesity are constant topics in mainstream media. According to recent statistics from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 16% of children and adolescents are obese and many more are at risk of becoming obese. Satiety-inducing ingredients such as protein, in particular whey protein; fibers such as inulin and oligofructose; oils such as Korean pine nut, palm and oat; and hydroxycitrate (HCA) may help to deliver a sense of fullness when used to fortify children’s food and beverage products. Additionally, another important area of parental concern is that their children’s nutritional intake is optimizing their cognitive function. A growing body of research has implicated the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as important in the normal brain development of the fetus, infants and young children. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid and member of the omega 3 fatty acid family, is believed to be important for normal brain development in children as well.
Whatever demographic a manufacturer decides to pursue with its product offerings, the one point, other than a food or beverage’s nutritional content, that will determine repeat purchase is taste. Consumer interpretation of good taste involves many attributes, including mouthfeel as well as the experience of bitter, sweet, salt, sour, umami (savory) and smell. Formulation challenges exist with all products when it comes to taste and partnering with an experienced nutrient premix provider can go a long way in countering these challenges as one goes through the various stages of product development.