The review – published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety – provides an overview of opportunities for new product development and nutrition research in the light of the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union (EU) legislation on health claims.
Led by Professor Sedef Nehir El of Ege University, Turkey, the authors said that the new legislation and guidelines will “play an important role in regulating information to the public about a wholesome diet and for improving the availability and affordability of nutritious food choices to consumers.”
“As a result, food science and technology are prompted to create a new framework for these food-based dietary guidelines, principally in the areas of food physics, methods of food storage and preservation, nutrient restoration and fortification of foods, and the development of health-focused designer foods and functional foods,” said Professor El and her colleagues.
“Food manufacturers have the responsibility to supply the widest range of products in accordance with the principles of dietary guidelines,” they argued.
The researchers explained that an increasingly important determinant in food choice is the growing consumer concern about nutrition and health.
“This focusing of consumer interest on the food supply, and also extensive research and technological developments in food science will provide further opportunities for new product development,” wrote the team.
El and her team said the food industry can be “a significant player in promoting wholesome diets, physical activity, and new product development in line with dietary guidelines.”
Many say that the only hope for business survival is the ability to continue innovating. El suggested that in the past, the criteria for screening a new product idea have mainly related to marketing factors – arguing that this approach has to change in the future.
“The manufacturer must not only know the technology of combining ingredients to produce an attractive, palatable, and safe food, but also, in the current regulatory climate, give serious consideration to the formulation of the existing and recommended dietary guidelines,” warned the team.
“In this regard, it is apparent that changes that influence the development of healthy products will come thick and fast in the next few years,” they said.
The Turkish research group noted that many new initiatives have been undertaken by the food industry: to reduce the levels of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sugars, and salt in processed foods, promote reasonable portion sizes, and increase the introduction of innovative, prudent, and nutritious choices.
Industry can continue to contribute to meeting the guidelines, whilst creating opportunities for innovation and new products by reducing the number of energy-dense products; and improving the nutrient profile of processed food through the reduction of salt, added sugar, trans-fatty acid, and saturated fat content, said El and her team.
Source: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 2–12, doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4337.2011.00167.x
“Food Technological Applications for Optimal Nutrition: An Overview of Opportunities for the Food Industry”
Authors: S. N. El, S. Simsek