Fortifying Food and Drink to Boost our Health and other Trends from Food Matters Live

Food Matters Live is a three day event showcasing emerging health and nutritional trends. With such a huge variety of seminars, panels and exhibitors it was hard to taste, experience and hear all of the delicacies on offer. Overall, as consumers, we are becoming more and more engaged with what we are eating and drinking and expect to know what is in our products, where they are from, and whether the products and packaging are sustainable. Health and wellness are ever-present and brands are reaching out to us with natural products in replace of artificial, and putting extra nutrients in our convenience foods.

What was apparent was that the trends are similar to last year, rising in popularity with the emergence of new brands as the customer interest increases. On-the-go products and snacks to create the most convenient way to consume essential nutrients took up a large part of the exhibition. There is an increasing concern for our ageing population and customers taking a preventative approach to health however still keen to ensure it is convenient with their lifestyle, time pressures and of course, taste.

Below we highlight some trends featured at the show which stood out for us.

ADDED NUTRIENTS

Fortification was celebrated and making a prominent impact this year were innovative ways of adding extra nutrients to our food, that could be probiotics, vitamins, protein or fibre. Recently we have been warned through the media that we are not getting enough fibre in our diet which can be the leading cause of illness. To help us overcome this issue brands have innovated with products that can help our health such as Troo- a honey alternative which has 65% added fibre which can be added to your food or drink.

FREE FROM & VEGAN

Veganism is increasing its presence on the food stage as a popular and healthy way to consume alongside the free-from offer, its prominence sealed by vegan kebabs from the brand Oumph, winning new product of the year at the show. The focus here is on green protein, an animal free protein which will provide the same benefits to our health as its meat equivalent. This particular brand is a Soya protein, great for vegans and for the environment.

In addition to being evident in the products on display, vegan proteins was also a hot topic for discussion during the seminars.   Dr Oliver C Witard shared his thoughts on the difference between animal and plant protein, commenting that Whey, Milk and Casein are still the leaders in creating muscle growth (in his particular study of myofibrillar synthesis) although noting that lentil and quinoa proteins still need more investigation.

GUT HEALTH

Look after your gut as it could be the root of many health issues is a key message. Fermented foods have been on the radar of health experts for a while and we can see the rise of Kombucha drinks and added Probiotics in food and drinks to increase our intake of live cultures and antioxidants necessary for gut health.  There was a dedicated Kombucha area to showcase the multiple products now including this as an ingredient.

SUSTAINABILITY

Brands are looking at the bigger picture, not only with their produce, but also in the production and packing of their products. Mintel see this trend as a 360 degree approach to consumption, understanding the journey from the farm through to your plate and finally the bin and/or recycling. Brands are becoming more transparent about where the food comes from and why it is more sustainable.

Building on the introduction of crickets at last years’ show, this year there was a range of different products on offer that included insects as a base ingredient. This was being promoted as a more sustainable and natural source of protein than previous offerings.

We heard an increase in the debates about the best materials to use in packaging. There were questions about whether recycling the package is always the best option or is it better to have compostable packaging? Although the latter provides a challenge for the consumer who doesn't have necessary access to composts and in the end how can our national infrastructure deal with this? There was also a message that sometimes plastic is in fact a good option.

PERSONALISED NUTRITION

Increased possibilities to use technology and diet to give us a individualised and tailored experience in the way we consume. With online tools tracking our intake and smart kitchens gathering data on our behaviour and purchasing patterns there is a move towards a more personalised way of understanding our own diet. We saw products and conversations surrounding specific nutritional supplements and diet plans, the trend for a customised diet for individual needs are on the increase. Brands would benefit from looking into this way of working, to achieve a more personal connection, using customers data to deliver this type of service.