From East to West: IMCD’s approach to nutritional improvement by region7 Nov 2023
IMCD technical directors share nutritional improvement trends, challenges, and tips for their respective continents.
Consumers around the world are increasingly focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This focus has created a greater demand for food and beverage products that boost nutrition and benefit health. At the same time, some countries have established nutritional requirements and regulations.
However, those regulations and consumer demand for specific nutritional improvements vary from region to region. Understanding local variations is key to success in the food and beverage industry.
IMCD Group’s directors, Michel Faes (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), Karen Gallagher (North America), and Wanlin Koh (Asia Pacific), were invited to share the unique nutritional improvement trends and challenges within their respective continents. These technical and sales experts combine their global expertise with local knowledge to support customers in unlocking tailored nutritional improvement solutions.
A growing market
On a global level, IMCD’s directors see a healthy growth in the nutritional requirement market. However, each region has different regulations and a unique focus on specific nutrients, which means each requires a tailored approach to nutritional improvement.
For example, in some Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries, a government initiative aims to reduce deficiency of certain micronutrients through mandatory fortification of staple ingredients, such as salt and rice.
The food industry also caters to Asian consumers’ demand for healthier products. “Gut health, high protein, and immunity are currently the most requested solutions in terms of nutrient additions,” says Wanlin Koh, Technical Director APAC.
In North America, manufacturers focus on balancing nutritional improvements with taste and texture. “If it’s a beverage, bar or gummy, the nutritional improvement solution may provide texture, stability, taste or fortification,” says Karen Gallagher, Regional Sales Manager, West Coast USA. As each application brings a unique formulation challenge, partnering with technical experts who understand these intricacies is critical.
In the EMEA region, there has been a notable shift towards improving nutritional content across all food categories. According to the 2022 Innova Lifestyle & Attitudes survey, European customers prioritize products that are low in unhealthy ingredients, rich in nutritional value, and known to promote health.
“We see a growing demand for protein-enriched products,” says Michel Faes, Global Technical Director at IMCD Group. “Additionally, hybrid formulas, which combine both dairy and plant-based elements, are fueling innovation in the industry.”
While many manufacturers face challenges surrounding taste and texture, affordability, and ever-changing regulations, the specific requirements in each of these areas often vary by region.
For North American beverage manufacturers, the main challenge is often the off-notes of fortification ingredients or the desired texture. In beverages, bars and gummies, it can be difficult to get the desired functionality while maintaining clean label, organic, gluten-free, vegan and a multitude of label claims.
Selecting the right ingredients requires an extensive knowledge of regional requirements and availability. “Options in nutritional ingredients can differ according to physiological functions, bioavailability, application suitability, and price,” says Koh. “In addition, every country in Asia Pacific has different regulations for nutrition-related labelling, claims and grading.”
For European manufacturers, it is a fine balance of delivering on customer preferences, meeting regulations, and optimizing costs. “Consumer preferences present formulation challenges that can significantly impact taste, texture, and shelf life,” says Faes. “Nutritional improvements, such as additional protein, carry cost implications — and strict regulations and government initiatives must be taken into account during the development process.”
IMCD’s technical directors offer insights for food and beverage manufacturers who are navigating region-specific trends and challenges.
- Stay up-to-date on emerging solutions, market trends, and regional requirements. “We have to remain agile in understanding the nutrition regulations and trends that are evolving in the food industry,” says Koh. “As part of that, we must maintain knowledge of the current local cultural aspects of each region.”
- The right partner is crucial. Find a solution provider like IMCD that is well-versed in tackling challenges and recognizing opportunities, and will offer technical support throughout the entire process, from product development and quality to troubleshooting and production scaling.
- Don’t settle for the status quo. “At IMCD, our commitment to our customers extends far beyond the conventional supplier relationship,” says Faes. “We're dedicated to fostering innovation, enhancing nutritional profiles, and elevating sensory experiences.”
How does IMCD create solutions for customers? “Our passion lies in marrying market trends with formulation expertise,” says Faes. “With our collaborative strategy and holistic approach, we act as partners in our customers’ journey to innovation, providing regional expertise and global inspiration.”
Discover tailored nutritional solutions for your region with IMCD. Contact us today to unlock innovative formulations, navigate local regulations, and meet consumer demands effectively.
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