The search for healthy, natural and sustainably sourced ingredients drives consumer buying decisions and guides manufacturers' product development. Felicitas Oltrogge, marketing manager at Norevo - an international supplier of natural raw materials and a producer of speciality ingredients for the food, confectionery, beverage, pharma and cosmetic industries - shares her views on the trends shaping the industry.
Felicitas Oltrogge: The rising awareness of ingredients and the demand for natural, healthy, sustainable and organic alternatives is a major trend. People care a lot about the foodstuffs, beverages or cosmetics they consume, questioning ingredient declarations and quality labels. Consequently, manufacturers try to eliminate any ingredient that can be criticised. The demand for natural, harmless and functional clean-label alternatives imposes a lot of responsibility on us.
As an international supplier of natural ingredients, we follow these trends, and develop innovative and functional ingredient alternatives for our customers.
I think - or at least I hope - that it's more than just a temporary trend. It should be a sustainable development in increasing awareness for our environmental and personal health. We will eventually harm ourselves if we continue to act lavishly with our health, resources and planet.
The key characteristic of natural ingredients is obviously that they grow naturally and have to be harvested. Therefore, our business depends on crops and these, in turn, depend on variables such as weather conditions, environmental factors and the local political situation. Bee mortality, for example, is a big concern as honey is one of our most important products. We have to ensure that our raw materials are pure and uncontaminated, and meet regulations. Hence, the sourcing of high-quality natural raw materials is one of our key competences.
Besides the supply of natural raw materials, Norevo develops tailor-made ingredients according to customers' requirements. We cooperate closely with customers' product designers, R&D and development partners. Our specialists have a thorough knowledge of our products, and their properties and functions. Product developments are guided by our ambition to meet novelty trends and solve our customers' problems.
The regulations for food ingredients, in general, are very strict, especially in Germany. Honey is a good example as the German Honey Regulation meticulously defines the legal requirements on the properties of honey used in foodstuffs. Our business with other natural materials such as liquorice extract, gum arabic or natural waxes is equally affected by stringent rules. There are more quality parameters with stricter legal limits. It's our responsibility to ensure that all incoming and outgoing products and raw materials meet the applicable regulations and quality requirements, which is why we analyse our raw materials in our own laboratory.
Besides our range of organic-certified honey, honey powder, agave syrup, liquorice extract and gum arabic, we have developed organic-certified versions of our Confectionery Performers Quick Coat, Quick Shine and Quick Oil. They already enable manufacturers to produce organic sweets with natural ingredients, and more organic Confectionery Performers will follow.
Furthermore, after the development of Quick White - a clean-label whitening agent - to replace titanium dioxide in the recipe of sugar-coated candies, we have also developed a clean-label polishing agent for dragées. Additionally, we are about to launch an innovative texturiser that allows the production of gelatine-free chewy candies without a cooking step.