Banner Default Image

The Future of Ingredients

about 2 months ago by

​The food industry has taken many turns in the last decade, with people choosing to eat plant-based diets, the rise of the high-protein trend and increasing concerns about ultra-processed food being detrimental to health. But what does the future hold? Mintel recently released the report 'The Future of Ingredients' we highlighted the key points from the report below.

Where are we now?

  • Ageing populations, alongside rising concern over diet-related health issues, has created a need for consumers to adopt eating patterns that support their health in the longer term.

  • 47% of Canadian consumers agree an important benefit of good physical health is minimising the risk of long-term health issues, compared to 33% for short-term ones. Innovative solutions to food sustainability challenges are needed.

  • Recent years have seen significant investment in the alternative protein sector. Though hailed on sustainability grounds, alternative proteins have faced significant challenges to become mainstream, as many fail to meet expectations for attributes like taste and price.

  • 36% of German consumers who do not choose foods with sustainability claims agree it is because they prefer using the ones they are used to.

In the next two years

The government is pressuring the food industry to play a role in supporting consumer health, driving a need for healthier nutrition profiles. Consumers are being encouraged to use 'food as medicine' in a preventative approach to health, where diet-related health issues are a concern. Ultra-processing is driving a new era of 'clean' foods, where there will be a focus on:

  • Scrutinizing the link between ultra-processed foods and health

  • Educating consumers on the benefits of food processing

In five years and beyond...

Novel food production techniques hold the potential to improve the current ingredient landscape with more sustainable, cost-effective and nutritious options. However, producers must anticipate opposition to changes in food production from consumers, industries and governments. Preparing to address challenges related to the use of novel technologies, including genetic modification, regulatory hurdles and protecting food heritage.

​The report highlights the need to focus on sustainable ingredients that taste good, as the food industry is expected to maintain sustainability efforts in the face of climate change challenges. Here are several key insights discussed in the report about the future of food ingredients:

1. Microorganisms can help boost the healthfulness of processed foods. Probiotics and fermentation can improve nutrient absorption and digestibility of food products.

2. AI and precision technologies are enabling the development of "new" food ingredients, like non-animal whey proteins and cultivated meat. These technologies can create ingredients that are more sustainable and nutritious.

3. Cell-based technologies like precision fermentation and cell cultivation are poised to revolutionise the production of food ingredients, particularly for dairy, meat, and high-value oils and fats. However, more research is still needed to scale these technologies.

4. There is growing consumer demand for more sustainable and natural food ingredients. Producers are exploring alternatives to palm oil, cocoa, and other commodities that have sustainability challenges. Novel cell-based and biotech-derived ingredients may emerge as more sustainable options.

5. Food producers will need to navigate regulatory hurdles and consumer perceptions around new food technologies like genetic modification. Educating consumers and addressing concerns will be key to the adoption of these novel ingredients.

​In summary, the report highlights how advanced technologies are enabling the development of more nutritious, sustainable, and "cleaner" food ingredients, but successful commercialisation will require addressing both regulatory and consumer acceptance barriers.

Read the full report by Mintel here