Q&A: Reimagining Grab-and-Go Nutrition with Chaucer Foods

July 2022

Consumer food and beverage consumption patterns are shifting with a return to on-the-go, pre-pandemic lifestyles. While many trends are changing, the desire to snack isn’t going anywhere and neither is the increasing role of health and wellness in our everyday lives. To navigate current consumer demand, formulators must carefully select the ingredients that keep their new product innovations ahead of the competition and front-of-mind for their target market.

We spoke with Brian Dudek, (former) CEO of the Consumer Division at Chaucer Foods, to break down the consumer trends currently influencing the convenience food and beverage industry.

Q: What is driving the growth of sustainable, on-the-go foods and beverages?
A: Throughout the pandemic, consumers looked for sustainable options, but also had evolved to want more healthy, good-for-you choices. The consumer still wants to feel a connection with their favorite brand, but they want the brand to show its own evolution. It is crucial for brands to make internal corporate social responsibility a priority while their other operational and process-based changes lead to a more sustainable supply chain and more innovative product offerings that lean into the demands of their consumers — environmentally friendly, healthy, nutritious, and convenient.

Q: What challenges or pain points can Chaucer Foods help address when a business begins to innovate new, healthy and convenient offerings?

A: When innovating a sustainable, healthy and convenient product, formulators can run into difficulties with sourcing ingredients that not only work well in on-the-go product formulations, but grab the consumer’s attention with trending claims like functional, and plant-based. Chaucer Foods is able to provide the ingredient solution, as we offer a wide range of customization possibilities and a support system of experts to help producers along the way, not to mention full and open listing of the ingredient’s path from farm to table. From kosher to vegan and from healthy to sustainable, Chaucer’s ingredients can help formulators develop a new product that checks the boxes of any consumer’s top demands and major pain points.

Q: In what ways have you seen brands evolving with these health and wellness trends during the pandemic and as we’ve started a return to normal?
A: As fads come and go, different dietary trends will do the same — it’s an ebb and flow process. From a consumer’s perspective, their definition of health evolve with these trends, and brands must be out in front on this. We aren’t just reacting to our customers, we have to be proactively offering them solutions to the challenges we see them having and solutions to challenges they don’t even know they have. As we move away from the pandemic, brands must focus on creating—not following—the healthy eating trends. By staying on top of the consumer demands, and providing a product that drives a trend, your brand can lead in healthy innovation and stay ahead of any potential competitors.
Q: What recommendations do you and the Chaucer R&D team have for businesses looking to enter or reimagine their current offerings within the “on-the-go” space?
A: In an industry that changes more than the seasons, it is crucial for food and beverage innovators to remain flexible and nimble. Brands must evolve and harness the ability to maneuver as the consumer appetite shifts and go where they see their customers heading. Whether launching or reimagining current offerings within the on-the-go space, you have to be willing to innovate outside of the box. Regardless of your company’s size, there is always room for a brand to succeed if they show the capacity to navigate with the consumer and remain flexible to external factors. If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that what we anticipate the future to be can be drastically wrong. Don’t lock yourself into a long-term plan that doesn’t allow for flexibility or change.

Q: How can Chaucer’s ingredients help formulators innovate on-the-go products?

A: Freeze-drying fresh ingredients allows for fruits and vegetables to retain all of their natural color, flavor and health benefits while extending the ingredient’s shelf-life. By creating options that last longer, formulators are able to harness the nutrient dense qualities to provide consumers with a delicious stash of healthy, on-the-go meal and snack selections.

Our baked range ingredients are crafted in small batches, allowing us to work with brands to customize the ingredients to best fulfil the innovative vision in mind. Our ingredient flexibility will allow you to discover new ingredient possibilities for your products that aren’t readily available on the market. By standing out from the competition, your products will pop with flavor and texture while being unique enough to stand out on the store shelves.

Looking to innovate a healthy, convenient food or beverage product that consumers will love? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

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