How many times have you read about the need for healthier products? Jos Muilwijk, regional category director savory for Europe, Middle East and Africa at International Flavors & Fragrances, discusses how the company assists food and beverages manufacturers in reducing salt, sugar or fat in their recipes, while still providing great taste in packaged food.
Government and consumer organisations continuously advocate further reduction of salt or sugar, and replacement of enhancers such as MSG or artificial sweeteners. Consumers meanwhile are looking for healthy, affordable products that taste great.
International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is passionate about great taste; this is why it approaches the replacement of ingredients holistically, designing complete flavour solutions without compromising on deliciousness. The company's continuous investment in FlavorfitTM - its programme of health and wellness solutions - demonstrates its commitment to the challenge of 'delightfully less'.
So what are the key questions to consider before starting to develop "healthier" products?
How can manufacturers win consumer preference?
IFF understands and addresses the complexity of taste in order to deliver winning flavours. Every time it removes an ingredient from a product, it impacts the whole taste profile. Sugar reduction in strawberry yoghurt, for example, impacts not only the sweetness, but also the fruity notes of the flavour. Thus, IFF's flavour solutions bridge this taste gap and maintain flavour complexity to achieve consumer preference.
Moreover, IFF sweet modulation tools can increase the sweetness perception of beverages without adding calories and, at the same time, improve consumer preference.
With snacks - a pioneer category for sodium reduction - IFF has worked on preserving iconic profiles and ensured consumer preference for new developments. Its market knowledge together with clever combinations of IFF proprietary technology ensures great taste, even in challenging regulatory framework.
How can cost be managed via culinary methods?
"If you try to reduce sodium while maintaining the same taste, the cost of the recipe will increase disproportionately; 90-95% of these projects are not implemented due to high recipe cost," explains Marcus Pesch, technical director of IFF savoury foods in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. "We develop products in a smart way, through complete reformulation; taking inspiration from culinary expertise."
This approach delivers great taste at manageable cost. Take classic chicken soup as an example. How would a traditional chef cope with less salt? They would add onion (natural umami), carrot (sugar for taste complexity) and lemon (acidity) to create a juicy sensation. IFF can mimic these taste contributions through its advanced technology tools, successfully delivering 'delightfully less' products at an affordable cost.
What are the specific needs?
Customisation is the principal trend in the 21st century. IFF works with customers across the world and understands that consumer - and thus food manufacturers' - needs differ depending on the region. "Natural" and "clean label", for example, are driven by developed markets, whereas developing markets like Africa still value sugar as an energy provider.
IFF partners with each customer to develop flavour solutions that fit specific needs (process or application, for example). The company shares its knowledge and expertise in flavour modulation and regulation, which adds value in collaborative projects. This makes every taste solution unique.
For IFF, natural flavours and flavours with modifying properties are strategic innovation pillars. Considerable investment in molecular research helps the company understand how taste receptors function, and deliver a continuous stream of new and effective ingredients.
IFF uses its proprietary technology to achieve complete customised solutions that deliver great taste at an affordable cost.
What is next in health and wellness?
The UK Food Standards Agency has announced even more challenging 2017 salt targets; Eastern markets migrate towards natural "good-for-you" brands; and value is added to kids products through healthier formulations. All the indications suggest that the health and wellness trend is here to stay in processed food.
IFF is ready to respond to the challenges ahead by capitalising on its technology and expertise, delivering 'delightfully less' experiences that consumers love. Put IFF's creative expertise to work for you.