Nutrition and health - industry driver

Preserving the nutritional quality of products has always been a food industry priority. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their nutrition on health, the food and drink industry must respond to highlight the health benefits of existing products, and develop new products that match new advances in knowledge such as the influence of microbiome on health. Coupled to this, there is also pressure to reformulate existing products to improve health.

Explore the latest industry Nutrition and health needs below. You may also be interested in viewing our current research projects.

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Nutrition by popularity graph

Fundamental needs

  • Consumers and government are pressing for ever lower levels of preservatives, salt, sugar and fat in products. Their replacements need to maintain the functionality of the originals without compromising the quality or nutritional balance of the reformulated product. Guidance on labelling such products is also required.
  • The consumer is now in a position to be able to choose foods that have real health benefits. Tools to educate the consumer in making healthier choices, together with feedback on the influencers of those choices to industry, will help to improve health.
  • The relationship between food choices and positive impact on health requires more study. Influences on long-term health conditions such as diabetes are becoming more apparent, as is the role of the gut microbiome in overall health. Better understanding of the relationship between health conditions, demographics and food choices will lead to a more nuanced approach to the production of healthier foods.
  • Changing regulatory landscapes (e.g. post-Brexit) stimulate the need for clear guidance on the implications of new rules and guidelines. There is also the need for clear advice on how to support nutrition and health claims on products.
  • Pressure to reduce ingredients associated with poor health, such as salt, sugar and fat, is coupled to pressure to include ingredients that promote good health(such as high micronutrient ingredients). Reliable information on the effects of novel ingredients on human health is needed to inform product development.
  • Process changes can alter the nutritional profile of foods. Minimal processing is increasingly used to deliver foods with functional health benefits. The challenge is in how to maximise the nutritional profile of the food whilst maintaining the quality, safety and cost of comparable more heavily processed products.

Emerging needs

  • Adaptogens are compounds found in plants such as Siberian Ginseng which are claimed to alter the stress response of cells and reduce fatigue. These compounds may be incorporated into food products, so there is a need to better understand their mechanism, effects and legal status.
  • Social media can be used to promote accurate and safe statements for alcoholic drinks. There is a need to ensure that social media articles present accurate information on calories and responsible drinking for a given alcoholic drink.
  • Cultured meat products are starting to be commercially produced. Questions around these products include their nutritional composition and their acceptance by the consumer. There is a need to study the composition, processing and consumer perception of these products.
  • Inflationary pressures are leading to changing eating habits, with options presenting better perceived value being purchased by consumers. There is a need to ensure that these products are able to deliver the nutrition required.
  • Claims have been made regarding levels of omega three fatty acids in beef and lamb. There is a need to assess the micronutrient status of those products claimed to be high in these fatty acids.
  • Ultra-processed foods are perceived to be of poor nutritional quality. There is a need to better educate consumers regarding the types of food that fall into the ultra-processed category and the sort of nutrition they can deliver.
  • Personalised nutrition is developing as a concept. There is a need to define the legal status and format of personalised nutrition labelling.
  • High Fat Sugar and Salt (HFSS) products are being reformulated to contain less of these substances. The nutritional impact of the reformulation needs to be assessed.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Campden BRI but are a summary of industrial feedback obtained from Campden BRI’s Member Interest Groups and interactions with government bodies and wider industry.

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