With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, for the first time, consumers had more time at home to lay back and educate themselves. They began to read more, to create new routines, and to improve their health and well-being. Functional food and personalised nutrition were two existing trends that have now only gained prominence and further promoted innovation in the food industry. In this article, you will find out why nuts are great allies in the development of functional products.
The post-Covid-19 landscape is strongly marked by new demand needs, especially when it comes to nutrition and food. Functional food is in the spotlight, as the consumption of products with functional food and ingredients, which aim to boost health or improve immunity, has intensified. For example, 6 out of 10 consumers already look out for foods that improve their immune system.1
Personalised nutrition has emerged as one of the most important trends in nutrition of recent years (1). The growing interest in food origins, in plant-based options and in the quirks of having a unique diet for each case has established a new culture of health awareness. The most advanced food companies meet these needs by promoting the procurement of traceable ingredients and foods with more functional properties.
Why Do Consumers Choose Personalised Nutrition?
By 2018, 93% of companies that prioritised advanced personalisation strategies saw an increase in their revenue.2 From a health perspective, personalised nutrition is gaining traction as consumers seek an experience that is tailored to their own preferences, quirks and lifestyles.
Consumers, now better educated, no longer approve of a «one size fits all» approach. They are aware that the benefits associated with food apply on a case-by-case basis, and that a tailor-made approach is the only way to absorb the potential of functional food.
Challenges That the Food Industry Faces
Brining the new personalized nutrition and functional food trends to life requires a complete transformation in the production and business models of food companies. But before going into sales strategies, it is important to have a deep understanding of, at the very least, of the gut microbiota. What will the main challenges be on the road towards functional and customised product development?
Most innovation focuses on gut health, but companies need to develop comprehensive strategies, based on both external factors and people’s genetic make-up, to achieve competitive advantage when it comes to new product developments.
Current food production models operate in mass to deliver food products at scale. Given that, as a recent study by Innova Market Insights states, 64% of global consumers are increasingly finding ways to tailor their food to their lifestyle, how can consumers adapt to a new format of personalized nutrition? The answer is a feasible if complex mass customisation.
A hybrid form of mass production in which food is specifically designed and/or packaged to meet the requirements of individual customers. This new form of mass customisation requires major changes by companies, which have to rely on new technologies to update their manufacturing strategies and processes.
Functional Food: The Present and the Future of the Food Industry
With increasing access to information and new product alternatives, consumers have become more demanding, especially when it comes to food. Consumers are looking for features: foods, beverages and supplements that can potentially improve their well-being.
In a continuous search for «what’s best for everyone,» consumers no longer just debate how good a certain food tastes, but, in many cases, prioritising products that can improve their bodies and health.
Functional Food Trends
- Searching for the best functional food claims
With the rise of functional food as a strong concept, manufacturers in the food industry are focusing on better conveying and communicating their functional food claims. They seek to bring out the potential benefits of products so that they do not remain in the shadows.
- Instant nutrition
There is a high demand for quick and easy solutions that support a healthier lifestyle, and nutrient-enhanced products such as snacks, energy bars or nutrient-dense functional shakes and drinks (mainly formulated with nuts and nut derivatives) are gaining prominence.
- Clean labels
The demand for more transparent products in terms of the origin and nature of their ingredients is driving the rise of functional food.
Consumers continue to move towards a more plant-based diet. This is made evident by the plethora of dairy alternatives that are emerging, as well as solutions with plant-based ingredients that are enriched with fibre, protein and omega-3. Many of these benefits are attributed to the use of almonds, peanuts, walnuts and other nuts.
Nuts: A Key Ingredient in Personalised Food
Nuts are one of the best sources of vegetable protein in the food industry, offering a higher protein content relative to almost any other source of vegetable origin. Within the framework of the search for new flavours, better ingredients and new formats, nuts are extremely versatile.
Not only are they available in different varieties such as whole, peeled, roasted, or as flour, powder, pastes or creams, but their multiple nutritional benefits make them a key ingredient in the launch of new functional products for different industry segments: bakery, breakfast, confectionery, snacks or nutrition bars—the possibilities are almost endless.
Importaco has made great advances in the race towards meeting the rigorous criteria demanded by this type of food.
The company has created a line of advanced foods composed of almonds and walnuts fortified with probiotics. In addition to having all the benefits of classic nuts, such as being a source of calcium and omega 3, these products have probiotic properties thanks to the selected micro-organisms that they contain. Their probiotic bacteria have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant effects, according to «in vitro» and «in vivo» studies.
On the other hand, Importaco has a product conceived in its laboratory of ideas, designed to solve different problems and that can help to provide an answer to personalized nutrition: defatted peanut powder.
This product is designed for different types of consumers; e.g. vegans who need protein, which is already present in common nuts. But, in addition, removing the fat further increases its protein profile, making it also ideal for other profiles, such as athletes.
Defatted peanut powder has been listed as an additive to increase the protein content of foods such as bread and other baked goods, pasta, pancakes; a diluent in meats such as sausages; and an aid in the preparation of beverages and ice cream similar to skimmed milk.
Importaco: Committed to Health
At Itac Professional, a B2B brand of the Importaco food company, we are strongly committed to the health of our planet and all those who inhabit it. This means that all our processes proactively contribute to improving people’s health and well-being.
Our current plans include the reduction of salt, sugar and fat in our products, new product lines designed to provide personalized nutrition and the minimisation of allergens to provide greater access to a healthy diet.
Innovation, quality and traceability are three of the basic pillars that are promoted by new beneficial food solutions. Do you want to redirect your products towards more functional food and personalized nutrition? Contact Itac Professional, a B2B brand of the Importaco company, supplier of nuts for industry.
- 1 Innova Market Insights. Innova identifies top 10 food and beverage trends to accelerate innovation in 2021.
- 2 How will personalized nutrition be shaping the food and health industry?
- Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Top 10 functional food trends.
- Food Business News. Personalized nutrition trend gaining momentum.
- Food Navigator. ‘Personalized nutrition will shape the food systems of the future’ How will mass production adapt?
- New Food Magazine. Five key food and beverage industry trends for 2022.
- Financial Food. Importaco identifies probiotics and uses them to enrich their nuts
- La Vanguardia. Importaco enriches nuts with antioxidant probiotic bacteria