Consumers trade dieting for healthy eating

Remember the psychologist’s stand that Lucy manned in the old Charlie Brown TV specials? When she realized she had a customer, the sign would flip over and suddenly the doctor was “In.”

What’s “In” for consumers is healthy eating while dieting is supposedly a thing of the past. The primary definition of the word “diet” simply refers to the common types of foods eaten by a particular person, group or even species, however many consumers key in to the secondary definition that talks about restricting certain foods. Rather than restrictions consumers today want to focus on the positives of eating right for a healthy lifestyle, according to a report from NPD Group entitled, “Eating Patterns in America.”

The report states the percent of adults looking at calories on food labels has declined, while the number of adults examining content for sugar, fat, sodium and other elements has risen. In addition, in search of purity, consumers want to avoid unnatural elements, like artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and the like.

This begins to sound once again, like a prescription for…eggs. In fact, the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans include eggs in each of the three healthy eating plans it recommends for consumers.

Healthy eating can include eggs for a wide variety of reasons including the fact that one egg contains varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus six grams of high-quality protein. This high-quality protein in eggs can help reduce hunger and facilitate weight loss as well as help with weight maintenance.

And formulators can tap into the more than 20 functional properties egg ingredients can supply to applications from main meals to snacks, baked goods and handheld sandwiches. Healthier eating means healthier ingredients like eggs are “in” and their inclusion on food labels can give formulators an “in” with consumers.

2016-03-28 15:33:08

No disguises

When my kids were little I tried to disguise certain foods at mealtime to try to get them to eat healthier. If you’re a parent, you know there is a certain age when children would be delighted to have cookies three times a day. For a while disguises worked, but then they started asking, “What’s really on my plate?”

Today’s consumer examines the dinner plate as well, or more specifically examines labels to find out what’s in their food before putting it on the plate. Thankfully their goal is to eat healthier, although an occasional cookie won’t go amiss.

And while the concept of “clean label” appeared on the horizon years ago, this is a trend with staying power that continues to refine and redefine the meaning of “clean.”

A recent article in Food Processing magazine quotes one expert as saying that for a growing population of consumers, these new clean label drivers are “must-haves, not nice-to-haves.” Definitions such as “natural” and “fresh” have been joined by “transparent,” “preservative-free” and in fact an entire list of free-from desires or demands. NPD Group predicts this movement will continue to grow in 2016. And this clean label movement is all-inclusive, extending to cookies equally as much as a main meal. For the consumer it doesn’t matter if they’re having a healthy breakfast or an indulgent snack, the ingredients within should be as familiar as those common to their kitchen cupboards or refrigerator.

A retrospective look at the last seven years of new product introduction on the Global New Products Database hosted by Mintel reveals that clean label claims are a hot item. Among the top ten claims for new food introductions in the U.S., the second on the list is for “No Additives/Preservatives,” with “All Natural” coming in fifth.

Formulators who choose to use egg ingredients for new or existing products will find that eggs fit easily into this consumer desire for clean label. Within the top ten claims for new product introductions containing eggs, for the same time period, “No Additives/Preservatives” and “All Natural” also appear in the top ten.

And while one article after another discusses the challenges formulators face when trying to clean up a label yet find the functionality required for proper flavor, form and texture. Once again, egg ingredients come to the rescue, as formulators can leverage the more than 20 functional properties eggs supply.

In addition to center-of-the-plate main meals, clean label rules apply to treats like cookies or cakes that bring a smile to anyone’s face, regardless of age. The nice thing to know is that when eggs are on the label, no disguises are necessary.

2016-03-14 13:57:25