Q&A: Talking Healthy Trends with Chaucer Foods

April 2022

Healthy eating continues to trend upwards as 60% of global consumers plan to improve their overall health and wellness1. With this in mind, food and beverage formulators must learn how to navigate popular consumption patterns and attract consumers regardless of any individual’s preferred health trend. Despite differing views on personal health and nutrition, one factor remains common across most every serious wellness diet: fruits and vegetables are essential.

We talked with Renee de Ravin, Asia-Pacific (APAC) Sales Director at Chaucer Foods, to learn about the global consumer healthy eating trends she is seeing today, the growth potential of future trends, and how Chaucer Foods can help producers meet these demands and be better positioned to lead in the years to come.

Q: How much of an impact do trends like “healthy eating” and “food as medicine” have on the way businesses position their products?
A: Whether we’re talking about pre-pandemic health and wellness trends or how the pandemic kept people homebound, healthy eating has accelerated as a global preference. People are cooking at home and have become more knowledgeable about what they’re eating as a result of a shift toward more personalized consumption patterns. For many major food and beverage companies this means promoting a balanced diet and encouraging healthy eating is no longer just a marketing step; it’s become a part of their corporate social responsibility mission. When food and beverage producers share detailed information about the nutritious benefits within their offering, consumers often opt for the products that will allow them to stay healthy and on track with their personal diet choices.

On a higher level, many governments and food industry leaders are supportive of this health initiative or are being encouraged to be more on-board with the shift. Clear parameters are made to distinguish a nutrition standard, which in return sets the bar higher for what is considered nutrient dense and healthy. For example, Australia and the UK have launched public health initiatives that provide more nutrition information to consumers in order to reverse high obesity rates and encourage everyone to care about their personal nutrition.

Q: What do you view as the most influential healthy eating trend of 2022 so far? Why?

A: Plant-based everything is here to stay. While the plant-based trend has been around for a bit, the consumer demand for it is continuing to increase every year. What was once thought of as a fad is now one of the most influential food and beverage trends of our time. Once major manufacturers and quick service restaurants got on board with the plant-based trend, the impact it had began to skyrocket. In addition to the credibility brought by large corporations, once consumers began pushing for their products to be sustainable, interest in plant-based grew as it was an opportunity for businesses to combine two great things—”good for you” and “good for the environment.”

As we come out of the pandemic, consumers who choose to be flexitarian play a big part in the trend’s growth. During a time of limited personal choice due to overall public safety, the idea of being able to control what they consume was an attractive factor for people looking to still stay healthy even when homebound. Instead of only consuming plant-based ingredients, consumers can pick what they want, when they want. They don’t have to eat less meat, but if they choose to do so, it is better for themselves and the environment.

Q: How do freeze-dried fruits and vegetables fit the demand for these healthy eating trends?
A: Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables blend right in with this trend as they are clean, plant-based, sustainable, and healthy. The drying process that Chaucer’s freeze-dried ingredients undergo allows them to retain many of the essential nutrients, which provides a more nutrient-dense product than other ingredient options. The freeze-drying process also helps reduce food waste as a way to reduce the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables being thrown away due to spoilage.

Our ingredients’ extended shelf life and Chaucer’s drive for environmental responsibility with traceability built-in throughout the manufacturing process allows for a more sustainable product and a product people can trust. As Chaucer continues to work closely with farmers, we can better ensure that the ingredients sourced maintains our sustainability standards.

Q: What formulations work best with this increased focus on health and wellness?

A: “Food as medicine,” and nutraceutical formulations work wonderfully. Chaucer’s adult smoothie range, which are pure fruit and vegetable purees, provide an opportunity for added functional benefits to be incorporated in a simple and efficient way. When we blend a few different ingredients together, they add more of the superfood nutrition consumers demand of their plant-based purchases.

Personal health and wellness is such a diverse topic; it means different things to different people. That being said, Chaucer takes pride in working with our customers to produce an ingredient that fits what people are looking for. Certain blends, such as our Vitamin C blend, can be adjusted to fit the customer’s unique specifications. This allows Chaucer to be able to meet most every request for new products and brings the whole team to work together to create the ideal final product.

Q: What common challenges exist for food and beverage manufacturers when it comes to formulating healthy alternatives? How can Chaucer’s ingredients help address these challenges?
A: As with most industries, the ongoing supply chain crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing food and beverage manufacturers. When producers are able to increase the shelf life of their offering, they are able to ensure that retailers and supermarkets will be able to store it without any spoilage issues. Since fresh fruits and vegetables spoil quickly, incorporating Chaucer’s freeze-dried ingredients allows formulators to innovate a longer-lasting healthy offering for their consumers to feel good about.
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.

Ready to learn more about Chaucer Foods’ healthy ingredients and how you can innovate alongside healthy eating trends? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

References

  1. “Health & Wellness Lifestyle Shifts: Five Consumer Behaviors that are Reshaping Food, Beverage & Supplement Innovation,” ADM. August 2021.

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