Q&A: At the Crossroads of Health and Sustainability

August 2022

Today’s consumer is highly interested in, and educated on, how food ingredients affect their personal health and the environment’s wellbeing. With a stronger focus on nutrition and sustainability now more than ever, better-for-us has emerged as an umbrella trend for products that meet both of these demands. To meet these demands, formulators must reevaluate their ingredients, ensuring that each aspect of their formulation provides nutrition—without harming the Earth.

We spoke with Itzel Rincon, Sales and NPI Director at Chaucer Foods, to learn more about how consumer demands have shaped the food and beverage industry and evolved the better-for-us trend.

Q: In your own definition, what is the better-for-us trend?

A: For me and from what I am seeing from consumers, the better-for-us trend focuses on how to combine health and happiness for consumers looking for flexibility. Whether it be for health or sustainability, consumers want to feel good about what products they are consuming. The pandemic drastically evolved the consumer’s typical habits, making room for them to care more about how they can personally improve their health and better the environment.

Q: What is driving the growth of interest in better-for-us products?

A: Research shows that global consumers are prioritizing investments in health and wellbeing, with 61% intending on increasing their spending in these areas over the next year1. Consumers—primarily younger generations—are also taking action to manage their mental health by demanding foods that fuel their bodies for success. As a result, we are seeing a proactive approach emerging within the better-for-us space through innovative, healthy, and sustainable products hitting the market.

Q: Do you believe the interest in better-for-us will be long term? If not, what will replace it?

A: While the pandemic accelerated the change in consumer interests, the better-for-us impact has been a long time coming. When I used to work in research and development 20 years ago, nutritional products were mainly formulated with premixed blends of synthetic vitamins. We are now witnessing the slow change going into using natural ingredients, like freeze-dried powders, within supplement products as a result of the better-for-us trend.

Because of this, initially slow, gradual rise in consumer popularity, better-for-us offerings are here to stay. Instead of it phasing out like some micro-trends, other trends will blend into better-for-us with more product markets offering healthy and sustainable products.

Q: Are there any common formulation challenges with developing better-for-us products?

A: For decades, R&D has been all about mimicking ingredients, and having to create the perfect combination of ingredients to optimize formulations. While successful, this process can be grueling with numerous trials and errors to get the right mix. When it comes to better-for-us products, formulators must now navigate the development with new ingredients that fit strict standards of health and sustainability.

Chaucer Foods’ ingredients can assist formulators with the help of their natural ability to enhance flavor and color of the offerings. The freeze-dried fruits and vegetables’ naturally functional qualities, such as a high content of pectin in some fruits, allow formulators to utilize them within diverse food recipes, not only as a flavor or color enhancer, but to improve texture or other sensory properties.

Q: How can brands strengthen their better-for-us offerings?

A: To strengthen their better-for-us offerings, brands should look to the starting point of each of their products. By beginning with naturally better-for-us approved ingredients, the formulation process is set up for success. All of our freeze-dried ingredients are premium, better-for-us problem solvers. At Chaucer, we source ingredients from all over the world, allowing us to help brands develop formulations with unique and specific ingredients that enhance texture, flavor, color, and nutrition.

Q: What is Chaucer Foods doing to ensure that its ingredients meet the needs of the better-for-us consumer?

A: Here at Chaucer Foods, we are serious about our commitment to only sourcing high quality, ethical and nutritious ingredients for products. As a result of our deeply rooted commitment to transparency, we can include information on certifications and sustainability practices for each of our ingredients for your consumer to be aware of. Consumers must feel good about the ingredients they are enjoying. We put in the extra work to ensure a formulator’s final better-for-us product is something worth bragging about. In addition to backing up any claim, we innovate new better-for-us products, like smoothie bites, with trending ingredients such as matcha, chlorella, curcumin, and probiotics, for consumers to enjoy.

Are you curious about what the next steps to innovate a better-for-us product are? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

“Top 10 Trends for 2022,” Innova Market Insights. 2021.

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