Agri-Food Trade Service
Content Manager's Blog
This Web site was created 15 years ago as a source of market information and export support activities for Canadian companies. As the web evolves and our interaction with clients intensifies we've decided to take a more active approach in keeping you informed with what we've published recently and to give a sneak peak at what you can look forward to in the coming months in the hopes of giving you a reason to come back and get more involved with our projects.
SIAL Canada - Staying on Top of the Innovation Curve: Technologies that Address Today's Trends
Steve Dillingham, Strategro Consulting
Together, Rune Nilssen and Steve Dillingham delivered an intriguing presentation this afternoon that focused on technology and trends shaping today's agri-food marketplace, while exploring how outside assistance can help small and medium sized enterprises (SME's) achieve in-house innovation.
They identified overarching food trends typical in today's marketplace; which included superior taste, functional benefits, and portion size. There is also a need to reduce "bad" (sodium, HFCS, fat) and increase "good" (natural, new flavours, health benefits), easier to use/open packaging and "greener" options are also popular among consumers. Rune and Steve then touched upon specific food categories and broke the trends down even further. They are as follows:
- Use of whole grains continues to rise, gluten-free, "natural" a driver of new innovations.
- Savoury snacks and omega-3 health benefits growing.
- Big companies starting to lead the way.
- Functionality ("pick-me-ups, "relax-me", or "make me feel better").
- Still trending towards more natural options (ingredients, sweeteners, flavours, non-GMO).
- More use of "super" or exotic fruits (and vegetables).
Soups and Sides
- "Healthier" products and "good for you" keeping category innovative
- Reduction of sodium is a major goal.
- "Bold" and "zesty" flavour introductions, paralleling consumer's migration to more ethnic and exotic flavour preferences.
- Organic and natural options, with innovative packaging for quick and easy usage is also becoming more popular.
Functional Food – becoming more functional
- Fortification with vitamins and minerals.
- Fibre and omega-3 now common.
- Antioxidant-rich foods proving popular.
- Health claims are used where and when possible.
- Use of more non-traditional ingredients increasing.
- Allergen-aware product positioning on the rise.
Convenience Meals and Processed Meat
- Product innovations tend to lean in favour of "bolder" flavours, simple ingredients, and overall purity.
- Market is seeing an overall reduction in product claims for reduced-fat/calorie, or trans-fat; however these claims are still the most noted market claims currently.
- Consumers are willing to pay slightly more for "organic" convenience meals.
- Consumers favour meals with "high fibre/whole grain" versions.
- Products boasting "new and improved" or "reformulated" product claims on packaging average slightly higher prices.
- "Better-for-you" meats gaining popularity.
- Consumers are seeking products with less-processed and fewer ingredients, even if it's not much healthier.
Rune and Steve then pointed to many great examples of these trends occurring in the marketplace. For an example, a new variety of Wheat Thins will come in a paperboard carton designed to convert into a serving "bowl". Another very interesting example was an Ontario pork producer that was granted Premier's Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence for their new pork product. This company worked with animal health and nutrition supplier Grand Valley Fortifiers to introduce fortified ingredients to their hogs, naturally through feed. The end result was the first and only pork in North America with the health claim "Supports the normal physical development of the brain, eyes and nerves." Their pork product is nutritionally enriched with DHA/EPA omega-3 and organic selenium.
The presenters concluded with a concrete innovation rule, which is simply - you don't have to have the resources in-house, or a project development budget like "the big guys". Use your ingredient and/or flavour house suppliers, packaging vendors, research networks, and food development centres as your access to innovation and a means to keep your products relevant in today's marketplace. Rune and Steve suggested companies such as WILD, the Prince Edward Island Food Technology Centre, Canada's Smartest Kitchen, Guleph Food Technology Centre, Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network, and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre.
If you have any further questions regarding the information shared during this presentation, please contact:
Strategro International, LLC
659 Eagle Rock Ave, #27
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
Until next time,
Project Officer, ATS
Kayo // 1-July-11
"Glad I've finally found something I agree with!"
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