Campden BRI publishes a document every three years to detail the industry’s needs following an online survey with more than 2,000 food companies and hundreds of face-to-face interviews.
“As always, assuring product safety was seen as imperative… but there was also a lot of emphasis on consumer care, ranging from reformulation of products and encouraging a more healthy diet, through to supply chain integrity and protection from food fraud,” said Campden BRI director-general Steven Walker in an online explanation of the report’s findings.
The results are intended to guide the organisation’s R&D and services provision, and to raise awareness among third parties of the issues industry faces, including government, funding bodies and standards organisations.
For improving diets in particular, industry respondents said they wanted new raw materials to address specific dietary needs, such as reformulation to cut fat, sugar or salt, or to achieve ‘free-from’ status – and they wanted to know more about the science underlying products to target specific dietary needs, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
They were also interested in ways to assess the impact of lower cost ingredients on dietary quality, and in novel or neglected crops with high nutritional value.
More with less
Food companies were also concerned about ways to improve the sustainability of their products, including reformulating to exclude less sustainable ingredients, making more of waste streams, and learning about ways to balance nutrition with environmental concerns.
Food fraud and authenticity
Food fraud has risen to the top of the industry agenda in the wake of the European horse meat scandal, when beef was found to be widely contaminated with horse meat. But authenticity goes far beyond species of origin, and respondents said they would like rapid and reliable verification of a range of attributes, including GM status, presence of allergens, geographical origin, organic status, and free range status.
Campden BRI has produced an update of industry needs in scientific and technological innovation every three years since 1996.
Its latest report results are available online here.