Tate & Lyle highlights four key food-bev trends for 2011

What’s in store for food and beverage trends in 2011? Tate & Lyle’s food experts convened at a roundtable to develop the Top 4 trends that will shape the food industry this year to “help manufacturers supercharge their brands to meet consumers’ ever-changing preferences”.

“At Tate & Lyle, we have three key objectives: first, having a deep understanding of the food industry; second, collaborating with manufacturers to develop line extensions and new products that support healthy lifestyles while meeting consumers’ demand for great taste; and third, sharing our depth and breadth of resources, from consumer trend insights to bench-level support, to help manufacturers develop products that consumers purchase repeatedly,” says Nick Fosteras, North America General Manager, Specialty Food Ingredients, Tate & Lyle.

Trend 1: Simplicity
Consumers are increasingly demanding products made with fewer, easy-to-understand ingredients and a transparent label, according to 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. In the two years from 2007-2009, Datamonitor reports that the leading claim on foods and beverages was “simple” or “simply,” which appear on more than 180 SKUs globally.

“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,” says Dave Tuchler, Global Vice President of Marketing, Innovation and Commercial Development, Tate & Lyle.

Trend 2: Stealth Sugar and Calorie Reductions is the new Mid Calorie
For consumers, taste is king. So is reducing calories and sugar. According to Mathew Kaleel, co-founder and portfolio manager at H3 Global Advisors, sugar prices could spike 30-40 percent from its current levels over the next 12-18 months, taking sugar prices to an all-time high.

According to Craig Donaldson, Vice President Sucralose Product Management, Specialty Food Ingredients, Tate & Lyle, manufacturers can reduce sugar, calories and manufacturing costs by blending sweeteners, such as SPLENDA Sucralose, the zero-calorie sweetener, with sucrose. Manufacturers also can use KRYSTAR Crystalline Fructose, a nutritive sweetener with a relative sweetness of 117 compared to sucrose at 100, in a 50/50 fructose/sucrose blend to provide a relative sweetness of 128 in a 10 percent solids water solution.

“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,” Donaldson says.

Trend 3: One Product, Multiple Benefits
Foods and beverages that offer a variety of value-added elements provide manufacturers with key product differentiators in a competitive market. Simply by making savvy ingredient decisions, manufacturers can now, for example, formulate a product to provide a digestive health benefit while simultaneously reducing calories without compromising on taste. Paul Cornillon, Global Applications Vice President, Specialty Food Ingredients, Tate & Lyle, believes that understanding consumers’ preferences and formulations can help manufacturers develop products with value-added benefits.

“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,” Cornillion explains.

Trend 4: Restaurant Quality at Home
With the economy on a roller coaster, consumers continue to watch their pocket books and stay close to home. The ability to recreate the restaurant experience with bold, creative flavors will help to build brand loyalty by giving consumers permission to experience their favorite foods at home.

According to Jim Miller, North America Vice President of Sales, Specialty Food Ingredients, Tate & Lyle, manufacturers can meet consumer needs through a variety of applications such as at-home meal kits and microwaveable meals. Due to the requirements of production, distribution and product cost, re-creating textures in a commercially feasible and good-tasting way is not just a matter of repackaging restaurant recipes.

“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,” says Miller.

Source: Tate and Lyle