Food Matters Live 2020, 13-14 October, virtual event

08 Mar 2018

Convenience foods are fast becoming healthier and more environmentally sustainable than ever before. 

Determined to improve the diets of those on lower incomes, the inspirational Del Monte’s Fresh Market stores and franchises offer healthy, ready-cut fruit and vegetables at low prices to a global audience. Their use of clear plastic tubs and boxes make the products ideal for cooking or eating on the go.

Del Monte understands that accommodating the consumer’s lack of time and need for convenience is key in stimulating healthy eating. Take the simple carrot: not the most appealing vegetable for those accustom to eating junk food, burgers and fries. Yet by spiralling a carrot into ‘crude or cooked’ veggie noodles – which take just minutes to cook in a stir fry or can be eaten raw in a salad – Del Monte are providing a nutritious, enticing alternative while leading the way forward for the next generation of mainly non-cookers, who are more used to putting a pizza in the oven than cooking from scratch.

The packaging of their Low Calorie meal range is a lesson in how to communicate, with calories clearly marked on each pack. (From the packaging alone we can tell Dill Fish with Brown Rice has 266 calories or Vegetarian Tagine with Quinoa has 301.) The company is also in the process of taking some huge strides to discontinue their use of plastic packaging. Their first foray is the new brown cardboard soup tub, which has a very natural look and feel and is easily recyclable (excluding the clear plastic self-adhesive label).

Healthy snacking is also high on the agenda with a pineapple and grated coconut Hawaiian snack, and carrot and celery veggie sticks with ranch dip or hummus, all sold at very affordable prices. The large tub of carrot ‘noodles’ for instance retails globally at the equivalent of 60p.

As regional marketing coordinator for the MENA region, Racha El Aawar said: “We need to make healthy eating affordable for everyone. Del Monte is on a mission to make that possible by preparing and packaging food that is temptingly presented, easily available, easy to prepare and does not cost too much. The future is customisation in everything, with customers able to prepare sandwiches and salads themselves, to their tastes and palate.”

Seeds and grains as meal staples

Latvia’s Graci Laboratories are also on a health venture. They offer a range of six functional muesli blends in brown pouch packs using names such as HisPower+, LoveThin+ and Energetic+. Their packaged hot cereals, called Shape and Recover, contain grains and seeds, while the Quickmeal tubs make an excellent alternative to pot noodles. Containing a blend of rice, chia, buckwheat and three wholegrains, just add water to create a quick and satisfying meal. Looking to the future of sustainable packaging, the company is about to repackage its muesli into upmarket cardboard tubes with cubist style designs.

Other ‘on the go’ snack trends include Mezete’s sachets of hummus, to be eaten with carrot and breadsticks, and Ramkalni’s naturally sweet and flavourful dried rhubarb pieces. These latest innovations exemplify how the evolution of traditional foods into easy-to-eat convenience foods continues to grow.

All these companies are setting the bar high when it comes to the healthy lunchtime snacking, easy prep meals and ‘on the go’ snacking categories. We look forward to hearing more about their progress and from the new companies launching food and beverage products with a similar cost-conscious and nutrition-conscious approach.


Written by Claire Phoenix

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