Speaking to FoodNavigator during the site visit, SVP and site lead James Blunt outlined some of the consumer trends that are shaping the needs of its food manufacturer customers.
Indulgence & regional differentiation
“One of the big challenges today [is] around indulgence. We have more customers asking us to differentiate around texture – so more crunchy, more creamy,” Blunt revealed.
He places this drive for differentiation around indulgence in the context of increasing regionalisation of taste preferences and expectations in Europe. “Increasingly, we see more regionalisation of food products. As a result people are looking to develop different textures, more indulgent products and again we work a lot more now on indulgent differentiated products to help our customers launch new varieties and new textures.”
Health, nutrition & clean label
While consumers are seeking out differentiated indulgent experiences, health and nutrition has also shot up the agenda.
This is prompting consumers to place the ingredients in their food under ever-greater scrutiny, Blunt said noting that 70% of French consumers actually read the ingredients list.
Clean label ingredients therefore continue to be of crucial importance to product developers. “We have a lot of challenges around clean label. Our customers are asking us to look at solutions which are more clean label, more plant based.”
Health and nutrition – alongside mounting regulatory pressure – is also propelling the drive to reduce fat, salt and sugar in food and beverage products.
Blunt revealed Tate & Lyle is witnessing “more and more demand around sugar and calorie management”.
He continued: “Our customers are looking to us to help them provide more nutritionally balanced food products, looking at removing fat, salt and sugar amongst other things.”
However, Blunt also stressed the importance of providing choice. “Our challenge today is to offer the consumers a choice…. We need to be able to offer sugar based products but also we need to offer products with reduced sugar or controlled amounts of sugar. Different solutions are what we are looking to provide.”