Emerging ingredient trends – GlobalData report

24 April 2017

GlobalData looks at the changing needs of consumers, and presents a number of ingredients that can help food manufacturers in the bakery and cereals sector to meet new demands.

With the majority of shoppers being highly ingredient-attentive, it is vital that manufacturers understand consumer trends in order to ensure innovation aligns with their needs.

This article identifies emerging ingredients selected in alignment with key health trends impacting the bakery and cereals sector, as identified by our expert analysts. For each ingredient, GlobalData identifies the consumer trend underpinning demand for this ingredient, determines which consumer groups are most likely to find the ingredient type appealing, and explores how bakery and cereals manufacturers can capitalise on the trends.

The growing demand for natural low-calorie sweeteners is being driven by negative health perceptions surrounding not only sugar but also mainstream artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. While stevia is the most mainstream of the low-calorie ‘natural’ sweeteners, it is not perceived as positively for health as monk fruit. There are major opportunities for monk-fruit-based sweeteners, such as Magou-V, to enter the mainstream in the formulation of ‘natural’ low-sugar bakery and cereal products.

Originating from China, monk fruit (or luo han guo) is familiar to 95% of Chinese consumers, of whom 75% perceive it positively for health.

Manufacturers should leverage its local popularity to offer lower-calorie, lower-sugar cakes and cookies in the Chinese market. Chinese consumers are more likely to accept monk fruit as a sugar substitute than stevia, of which consumer familiarity is much lower.

While often overlooked when it comes to weight management, manufacturers can capitalise on the fact that men are more likely to be positive towards the ‘natural’ sweeteners monk fruit and stevia than women.

With men being the most frequent consumers of cakes/pastries (25% consume them at least a few times a week), coupled with the fact that 67% are trying to lose or maintain weight, there is an opportunity to offer low-calorie, low-sugar options made with ‘natural’ sweeteners explicitly targeted towards their needs.

As global diabetes rates continue to soar, there are opportunities for monk-fruit-based sweeteners like Magou-V to be used in diabetic-friendly foods such as cakes, cookies and cereals.

Diabodelite sugar-free multigrain cookies with fenugreek from India claim to “help maintain healthy blood-sugar levels”.

Monk fruit extract can be used in such products. However, manufacturers should seek to achieve approved health claims in key markets to really capitalise on the opportunity.

ActiStar RM

ActiStar RM starch allows food processors to improve the texture, processing characteristics and health benefits of a wide range of foods and beverages. It has a high level of resistant starch that is highly fermentable, resulting in the production of short-chain fatty acids, especially butyrate.

Potential health benefits include promoting a healthy digestive system, aiding weight management through reducing calorie content of foods and acting as a prebiotic to stimulate the growth of ‘friendly’ bacteria.

The growing demand for ingredients that help consumers lose weight is a reaction to the global obesity crisis; this is particularly acute in developed nations. The obesity issue is partly attributable to a poor diet made up of high-calorie, sugar, salt and fat consumption among all types of consumers. Consequently, there are significant opportunities for ingredients, like ActiStar RM, that enable calorie reduction in foods such as cakes, to enable consumers to fit such treats into their weight-management goals.

One of the main markets for this ingredient would be Western Europe. Europeans will be the most likely to accept ActiStar RM in their bakery and cereals products because of their weight concerns. By targeting markets that have high levels of obese or overweight people, ActiStar has the opportunity to capitalise on its calorie-reduction and weight-management qualities. However, with 43% of global consumers trying to lose weight, ActiStar also has a lot of potential for growth in developed and developing markets.

Women are the most likely demographic to be trying to lose weight, at 49%, making this the ideal group for ingredients like ActiStar RM to focus on. Furthermore, the prebiotic benefits will appeal to the 52% of women who perceive them as positive for health, compared with just 44% of men, enhancing the proposition above to simply a diet aid. There is an opportunity to offer more healthful low-calorie prebiotic products that support weight loss, while also aiding digestion and boosting immunity.

As obesity continues to increase across the globe, consumers will continue to seek out products that help them lose weight and create a healthy lifestyle. ActiStar therefore has the potential to meet this demand as other high-fibre products, like thinkThin, have done. thinkThin is rich in fibre, protein and minerals that act as prebiotics in conjunction with calorie reduction to appeal to consumers.


Mankai is derived from the Araceae family of aquatic plants; and is a nutritious, whole-leaf vegetable protein source. These vitamin and mineral-rich plants are native to South-East Asia and have been used in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam for generations. The hydroponic technology used to produce Mankai enables fast growth of large quantities and achieves a protein content of at least 45% by dry weight. The ingredient can be used raw as a vegetable, as a whole food supplement, or as a food or beverage ingredient.

Consumers are increasingly seeking out ingredients that are natural and high in protein. Protein is an essential part of the human diet that supports the healthy functioning of the body. Additionally, protein can aid weight loss, aid muscle growth and repair, and support healthy aging. Many consumers, particularly young adults (25–34-year-olds), are actively trying to increase their intake of protein, and are turning to plant-based sources to further improve their health.

Although Mankai is not yet well-known in the West, the US should be a key target market for the ingredient due to continued popularity of the high-protein trend. While meat, dairy and cheese consumption is high in the US, increased awareness of the disadvantages of animal protein will make plant sources increasingly attractive options. As US consumers try alternative protein sources, bakery and cereals manufacturers should capitalise on Mankai's benefits as a nutrient-dense protein source to enhance the overall health credentials of their products.

Manufacturers should look to incorporate high-protein ingredients into baked goods, like biscuits, cookies and bread. This is a chance to offer low-calorie, high-energy and protein-rich baked goods explicitly targeted towards the needs of active young adults.

Plant proteins are only a small segment of the wider protein market but among the fastest-growing, so there are many opportunities for Mankai in the coming years. It can be used in a variety of baked goods such as biscuits, cookies, cereal bars and other snack items. Similar protein ingredients have been used in V8's chocolate, pomegranate and cranberry protein bars. The bars are promoted as a healthy alternative snack and aimed at active consumers who want an indulgent yet functional treat.

Scelta Taste Accelerator

Scelta Taste Accelerator is a clean-label flavour enhancer made from mushrooms, offering a cleaner alternative to controversial options such as MSG. It uses the natural power of umami to increase flavour and reduce sodium in processed foods.

Scelta's natural vegetable extracts are suggested to solve formulation challenges and keep ingredient lists ‘clean’ in a wide range of applications, from bread and crisps to soups.

The growing demand for natural low-sodium ingredients is driven by negative health effects, like high blood pressure, from consuming too much sodium from salt, MSG and other high-sodium ingredients. Consumers are seeking out natural ingredients that provide enhanced flavour for foods without creating long-term heart problems. As a result, Scelta Taste Accelerator is well positioned to appeal to these consumers by adding flavour to bread without the need for as much salt.

Under pressure

Many countries have high-sodium diets, partly due to heavy reliance on processed foods. While sodium and its derivatives, like MSG, are used as flavour enhancers in a variety of foods, manufacturers must respond to concerns about heart health and related issues such as blood pressure.

Bread and cereal manufacturers should turn to clean-label ingredients like Scelta Taste Accelerator in markets such as the UK, where negativity about salt/sodium is especially high, to offer natural lower-salt products without compromising on flavour.

Consumers often become more health-conscious as they age, as they are forced to deal head-on with health issues such as high blood pressure. There is an opportunity for manufacturers to capitalise on the fast-growing ageing population with low-salt/sodium breads that address their health concerns. Brands should consider other aspects that will make such (typically perishable) products suitable for older consumers, such as smaller and resealable pack formats, to maximise the opportunity.

As health concerns over high-sodium diets continue to grow in developed Western markets, more products will be made to meet this demand. Scelta is well placed to be incorporated into a variety of bakery and cereals products across many different markets. Nature's Path Love Crunch is a low-sodium breakfast cereal designed for older, more health-conscious, consumers. It is gluten-free, vegetarian and high in fibre. This is a good example of how ingredients like Scelta could be used and positioned globally.


Made from corn starch, DS-RStar80 contains 80% dietary fibre and can be used as a fibre supplement in various foods, such as refined white bread and cereals. It can be used to substitute a proportion of flour in baked goods such as bread, cookies, snack bars, crackers, doughnuts and cakes to increase the fibre content.

A lack of fibre in the diet can cause several health problems for consumers, such as constipation. This issue is a concern for many young adults globally due to their growing preference for a high-protein and low-carb diet.

This particular diet means a lot of young adults are not getting enough fibre to maintain a healthy digestive system. Consequently, DS-RStar80 is very well positioned to enter the mainstream in the formulation of fibre-boosted, low-carb bakery and cereals.

Changing diets in North America – namely, a shift towards high protein, as well as an over-reliance on refined white carbohydrates instead of wholegrains – is leading to digestive health problems as people under-consume fibre.

Bread and cereals manufacturers should use fibre supplements such as DS-RStar80 to target markets like North America with fibre-boosted products that allow consumers to have healthier indulgences, such as doughnuts and cakes, with added fibre.

Millennial opportunity

A key consumer group to target is young adults, 18–24-year-olds specifically, because of the popularity of high-protein diets. These consumers are among those most concerned with health issues stemming from a lack of fibre, like constipation. There is an opportunity to combine fibre supplements (such as DS-RStar80) with protein (such as Mankai), to create high-fibre, high-protein bakery and cereals targeting the needs of the millennial consumer group.

In the short term, high-protein diets are expected to remain popular in Western markets but GlobalData predicts a backlash. The lack of fibre and increasing health concerns mean more balanced and nutrient-fortified products are entering the market. Delights Fiber 1 is a 90k cereal bar, the branding for which is based solely around its high-fibre proposition. DS-RStar80 can be used in such products to capitalise on the protein backlash.

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