Q&A: Talking Healthy Trends with Chaucer Foods

May 2022

Whether promoting labels like fair trade or sustainable, new foods and beverages often carry an ethical claim. But how can we know exactly where the ingredients were grown or how the workers growing them are treated?

We spoke with Matt Hill, Group Head of Technical & Quality at Chaucer Foods, to learn how ingredients can be traced, how consistent standards can minimize the impact of disease, and how brands can help.

Q: When you think about transparency as a healthy eating trend, what does that mean to you?
A: From my experience in the industry, consumers knowing where the product comes from is key to their ultimate decision of whether or not it’s healthy and whether they should buy it. Not only is it important for the consumer, but it is crucial for producers to know where it comes from.

In terms of healthy eating, people are moving out of old-fashioned trends, like fast food, to eating more healthy, natural foods. People have a better understanding of what ingredients they eat, which leads to curiosity about where their products come from and how they were grown. As a result, consumers become more focused on clean, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients—which follow on par with current healthy eating trends.

Q: Why should consumers be concerned about supply chain transparency? What trends have come out of this?

A: There are two main reasons why consumers should care about transparent supply chains: the cost of food and the cost of living. With costs being on the rise, consumers might decide to prepare more meals at home to save money.

This shift has started a premiumization trend where consumers began preferring higher quality ingredients to cook and consume at home. With the greater focus on quality, consumers now have a better understanding of what type of ingredients they have, and the overall standards held for the ingredients.

Q: Why does it matter to Chaucer Foods?
A: From our perspective at Chaucer, maintaining a transparent supply chain is crucial to us, and is one of the key differences between us and other ingredient providers. We have a full understanding of our supply chain, allowing us to track ingredients back to the original source as a result of us tracing directly from audited suppliers and farms Chaucer Foods has risk assessments in place based on factors like country origin and end-product to ensure ingredients are not from unknown sources. These audits are for our customers to use so that they can promote and prove their ethically sourced ingredients.

As a result of our strict standards and audits, we can easily track ingredients down. If an outbreak, like listeria or salmonella, were to occur we would be able to locate each ingredient supplied to discover the outbreak source.

Q: How can food and beverage manufacturers prove their ingredients fit the consumer’s standard for transparency and ethically sourced?
A: Globally and internally, we are noticing that producers seek reassurance when souring new ingredients. When there is a product recall due to foodborne illness, companies can struggle with tracing down to the root issue. When these events occur, it is important to have the ability to track down the issue and mitigate damage. Our Chaucer team is meticulous about protecting the ingredients that we provide. From flour to flavouring, all of our audits are essential as they allow us to help consumers in the long run.
Q: Are these trends a short-term fad or a long-term shift in how people choose what to eat?
A: Interest in supply chain transparency is a longer-term trend. During the pandemic, people have realized that there are issues affecting the global food industry. This has resulted in a shift in what consumers are looking for. People are opting for ethically traced foods more by incorporating transparent ingredients within their homecooked meals instead of a restaurant dinner.
No matter whether the consumer is looking for a plant-based alternative, to achieve nutrient goals, or to receive convenient nourishment, products innovated to be functional and immune-boosting are on the rise. Freeze-dried fruit is 100% natural and contain no added sugar. Unlike ingredients dried using other methods, freeze-dried ingredients retain their original nutrients, color, shape and flavor – attributes that are increasingly important to today’s clean label and health-focused consumer. Freeze-dried ingredient pieces and powders quickly infuse in hot or cold liquid, and are ideal for adding natural color and flavor to immune-enhancement beverages.

Looking to add Chaucer’s ethically sourced ingredients to your formulations? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

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