02 Mar 2016
The global population has seen an ever growing global obesity issue, and numerous other dietary challenges, yet the key message to eat less, eat better and do more exercise is still failing to reach the most vulnerable. This has created a need for food and drink manufacturers to focus on producing a wider range of functional ingredients and inherently healthier products so that the consumer is able to continue with the same lifestyle, but without the impact on health and well-being.
This global issue has made reformulation a strategic issue rather than simply a development step or marketing message. Every single company engaged in the food and drink manufacturing process must start to adopt a strategic approach to reformulation, and a key part to this is the consideration of adopting new technologies that will help achieve that step change.
Historically, the approach to this has been relatively ‘low tech’ and typically around the model of remove, reduce or replace, the fundamental tools of anyone involved in reformulation activity.
But this landscape is changing. Salt levels are widely recognized to have achieved their lowest levels within the context of known technology, largely through a phased removal strategy. The replacement strategy around fat has ultimately contributed to the increased concern around sugar. Sugar however presents a wider range of reformulation challenges, in its ability to provide taste, texture and structure. It is also worth noting that reducing the sugar content could actually lead to an increase in calories in certain products. This underlines the need for a structured and strategic approach to reformulation to ensure that each products values are maintained.
Opportunity in technology
These difficulties highlight the need for a change of culture within the industry. In recent years the food industry has shied away from shouting about the science and technology that is inherent in food processing. This has also led to a reticence to invest in novel technologies that can add value for fear of not achieving the return on investment that recommitting to traditional process would yield.
New food technologies are being developed all the time that aim to solve many problems with today’s food and drink. A prime example is seen with ColdBake; a low temperature baking process that can deliver enhanced nutrition in a light crispy textured product. ColdBake could be described as a progressive, patented technology that bares the hallmarks of the paradigm shift in thinking that the food and drink industry need to embrace in order to deliver the healthier, more nutritious products that the consumer desperately needs.