Dow: Consumer food trends drive need for better, healthier food solutions


14 Aug 2017 --- A recent Harris Poll study revealed that 64 percent of American consumers try to eat healthier on any given day, showing they are increasingly aware of their eating habits. As consumers become more conscious of their diet, they have begun to look for alternative food options including vegetarian and gluten-free options. Dow Food Solutions is paving the way to help more manufacturers deliver high-quality food products driven by the needs of their consumers.

Today’s demanding markets require novel solutions that help consumers live healthier lives and yet still get the taste they are looking for. Dow's WELLENCE portfolio provides food manufacturers with easy-to-use and cost-effective ingredients optimized for health related food applications, including fat reduction.

FoodIngredientsFirst recently caught up with Michiel Van Genugten, Global Marketing Leader at Dow Food, Pharma and Medical, who discussed the company’s WELLENCE portfolio. “WELLENCE Food Gums drive food ingredient innovation to provide more flavorful, healthier options with reduced fat and calories, better meat-alternatives and gluten-free options,” he says.

There are two mega trends in the current food market, according to Van Genugten. “The first is the continuous development of ready meals and convenience foods linked to that fact that people have less and less time to cook in the rapidly developing economies where more and more people who live in cities adapt to Western lifestyles.”

“The convenience foods area is a market that we are really benefiting from and our texture portfolio is all about binding, stabilizing, heat setting and foaming,” he notes.

The other megatrend is health driven by the changes in population. He reveals: “The fast growing elderly population are getting more affected by what they eat; there is a bigger need for healthier food options as health-related diseases are growing fast.”

“With our stabilizing capabilities, we are very active in meat-free space, gluten-free and we are starting to be more active in the fields oil/fat reduction area of fried foods, which is covered by our WELLENCE portfolio,” he claims.

“WELLENCE answers all of the above,” says Van Genugten, “It has solutions for main trends that we are seeing in the market.”

“In the gluten-free space – it’s really obvious that people are following this diet, whether it is because they have celiac disease or whether they are a family member of the person who has celiac so they also start to take on the gluten-free lifestyle,” he notes. “The number of people who eat gluten-free is growing tremendously.”

“When replacing gluten in bread, usually you miss a lot of structure, volume and you get those flatter more dense products,” he states. “You can also have issues with shelf-life, but our cellulose technology focuses a lot on solving some of those issues, and can create an array of high volume structure, with a good mouthfeel that is much closer to wheat bread.”

Targeting saturated fats is all about oil reduction. WELLENCE can improve and significantly reduce oil and calories, focusing on fried foods, foods that are fried either at home or at the manufacturers' food factory. “Our technology consists of a very specific coating technology, most of which those fried foods are already coated, so you can use our product as part of the coating, and what the product does is create a barrier for oil,” explains Van Genugten. “If you fry a chicken nugget, for example, the oil doesn’t penetrate as it usually does inside the product during frying, and it also means a lot of the natural moisture will remain in the product itself.”

“With this technology, you get lower oil content of fried foods, lower calories and at the same time a higher yield, which is also important to our customers, you get all of that without really impacting the appearance and the taste of the product, which is critical,” he says.

According to Van Genugten, up to 40 percent calorie reduction has been achieved by using this technology. “We have done many lab trials as well as pilot plant trials for validation of the technology,” he notes. “The US is taking the lead on this but Europe is showing a lot of interest. We are seeing interest from the food service chains in the US, particularly those who are supplying school menus and meals. There are stricter and specific guidelines about what is acceptable, in school menus and that has to do with the calorie content of certain foods, so there is a profile of how much fat children can consume, as well as saturated fats, sugar and calories,” he explains.

“So far we have been able to bring some of the products back into the approved category for schools just by reducing the oil and calorie content, so you can imagine that those producers are very happy with that as they are getting to remain listed as a product in school menus and before this innovation it would have been a challenge.”

This is a trend that Dow Food Solutions is seeing not only in the US but in Asia and Europe too. More consumers are getting increasingly concerned about what they feed their children for all the right reasons.

Another trend that is here to stay is the trend towards meat free foods. According to Van Genugten, one of the main challenges is texture.

“With a vegetarian based soy burger or other kinds of plant based proteins – you need something to bind the ingredients together so that when you heat it up it will stay together and when you eat it, it has that certain bite and juiciness that is representative of a real burger,” says Van Genugten. “That is where we can come in with our portfolio,” he continues. “We have been in this market for quite some time and we have been very successful already but what we have seen in the last 2 years is a renewed interest in these types of products.”

“There have been many new product launches, over the past 2 years, driven by 2 things. Firstly, there are more people to feed, and secondly that very often younger people who really understand the link between the consumption of meat and the footprint on the world and the fact that it is much more sustainable to eat plant proteins. So these young people really see that and they make a deliberate choice to eat less meat,” he explains.

“We are often approached by meat companies who are looking to develop vegetarian lines because they are seeing that meat consumption is stagnating. Vegetarian products are on the rise so it’s an interesting and present market for us, people know our solutions and we want to continue to be present in this space for the foreseeable future.”

“Flexitarian trends are here to stay – I definitely think there will be more innovations coming our way,” he reveals. “We are starting to see a lot in foodservice now, big restaurant chains are launching gluten-free and vegetarian options, and so that part of the market is also becoming bigger and bigger.”

“In Europe this market is certainly growing, and in the US more than 50 percent of consumer’s food is through foodservice rather than cooking at home. There’s a huge market for this, especially in the US, people eat out much more than they do in EU, so adopting those technologies in those restaurants is critical for future growth,” Van Genugten concludes.
By Elizabeth Green

Dow Pharma & Food Solutions


The right ingredients for delicious, convenient, and healthier foods

We, at Dow Pharma & Food Solution, offer the right mix of ingredients and ingenuity to address demanding health and lifestyle requirements.

For us, it's not only about providing food manufacturers with highly functional ingredients that improve the quality of their products. It's about a drive to find novel solutions that help consumers live healthier, more convenient and enjoyable lives.

Manufacturer's formulation solutions

Our portfolio of food ingredients combined with our formulation and regulatory expertise offer manufacturer's formulation solutions to address the following challenges:


Solutions for a wide range of applications

Dow Pharma & Food Solutions offers manufacturers formulation solutions for various food applications, ranging from smoothies and wine, over soups and glazes, bakery and meat products, to desserts and confections. Whether you are looking to enhance the texture of your product, to replace gluten, eggs, meat or fat or to preserve your food products, we do have a solution to help you meet your needs.

Contact us:

North America: +1 800 258 2436
Europe: +31 11 567 2626 
Pacific: +60 3 7965 5392
Latin America: +55 11 5188 9000

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