Food ingredients

Main trends in food development

Agricultural production

Technological development has been increasing the amount of food available for consumption. The evolution in the areas of medicine and economy has led to a large population growth and the food industry needs to meet the demand that has been created.

 

The world population is projected to reach more than 9 billion people in 2050 according to FAO. In order to meet this growing demand, the production of food needs to increase by 70% (FAO).

 

To deal with these breakthroughs, a number of technological inducers of productivity were identified, namely new cultivars enhanced by biotechnology and nanotechnology, intensive and rational use of pesticides and fertilizers, and new agricultural machinery and implements adapted to technologies such as precision agriculture and new handling methods.

With the adoption of the new productive model, professionalizing agricultural activities was necessary and production then relied on machines and implements and on the correct agronomic allocation of inputs. Modernized production meant a more balanced industry.

 

This new production methodology also required the professionalization of productive agents of agricultural activities. The restructuring of productive agents provided the scenario for scale agriculture.

 

Demanding consumers and economic growth

Developing countries such as China, India and Brazil have been through a period of economic growth in recent years as a response to the global crisis of 2008.

 

This fast development has also changed the profile of the consumer, who now prefers more elaborate and protein foods. As a result, it is essential that the food industry is aware of the trends and challenges of this new global scenario, keeping a competitive edge within the industry.

 

Investments in research, product and process development and innovation may be necessary to meet the demands of consumers with more access to information and are therefore more demanding on the quality of products, services, etc.

 

In the information age consumers are more attentive to the products they consume and their nutritional properties. Healthy eating is a global trend and a balanced lifestyle brings benefits to people’s daily lives, directly affecting their life expectancy.

Consumers are also more aware of nutritional and production characteristics, demonstrating preference for food products that present clear labels showing its protein values, for example.

 

Trends in food production

As mentioned earlier, urban development is related to trends in the food industry. In several countries consumers are placing value culinary art and gastronomic experiences, influencing the sector of industrialized products.

 

To maintain the sensory characteristics lost during formulation the industry should use flavor enhancers. Most of the products in the market have a decreased amount of ingredients like sugar, sodium and total fats, such as saturated and trans. However, the absence of these inputs may negatively impact the aromatic perception of the food. The introduction of functional ingredients also alters sensoriality, making necessary the use of aromas, dyes and body agents.

 

Because they add technological properties to some applications, there has been a growing interest in modified starches. Due to their versatility, they are to maintain their growth trend, being mainly used as texture agents. So as to go against chemically made modifications, the industry has sought physical processes such as temperature to alter native starches.

 

The main type of consumer profile that fits this trend is the aficionados for new products and experiences but are also increasingly concerned about health and fitness, demanding products that are not only tasty but also healthy.

 

Health comes first

Health and well-being must be considered when observing trends as they are connected to the aging of the population, to the scientific discoveries that link some diseases to diet besides, of course, the search for a healthier life.

 

Some examples are the reduction and elimination of ingredients like salt, sugar, total saturated and trans fats and the use of health-promoting inputs. Vitamins E, C, B6, B12 and folate, for example, alleviate symptoms of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as promote the longevity of those who suffer from such diseases. The use of omega 3 is also a trend, since its properties can minimize the death of neurons during epileptic seizures.

 

In order to provide care for cardiovascular problems the industry should offer products containing bioactive peptides (PBS), isolated from enzymatic hydrolysis of protein sources like milk, meats and soybeans, and which play an important role in health, such as inhibiting the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), related to the maintenance of blood pressure.

 

Practicality and convenience appear as a trend linked to the urban rhythm of life and changes in traditional family structures.

 

Ethics, safety and awareness

This ethical trend implies the use of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ingredients and additives. Enzymes stand out in this case because they are natural, specific, have wide diversity and act at relatively low temperatures.

 

It is an area that is still under development, but enzymes are to replace some ingredients and thanks to biotechnology they should evolve for further use in the food industry.

 

In 2018, trends in food formulation are to follow these pathways, but new ideas and possibilities may emerge through new discoveries and the adoption of new technologies, methods, and practices by the industry.

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