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22nd March 2021

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How is the Food Industry Innovating to Keep Consumers Healthy?

Author: Valeria Valkova
Role: Business Manager

Biocatalysts Ltd Future Food Tech 2021

Consumers demand healthy food!

Biocatalysts Inc attended the Future Food Tech Summit on the 11th – 12th March 2021 and for the first time hosted a roundtable, ‘Challenges in Fermentation Scale Up’, on the second day of the event. Biocatalysts has exhibited at the event for a number of years and has always found it to be a beneficial communication channel to keep up with the innovation trends in the food industry and to meet existing and new partners, this year was no different even when going digital!

The summit bought a different perspective to the already growing vegan food trend. Observations in the industry have found consumers are delving deep into their nutrition intake and what they consume on a daily basis. Not only in connection with how food affects their body but also how it affects their carbon footprint too. In the last year, consumers have had a lot more time on their hands to look up healthier recipes, like the famous banana bread at the start of lockdown, and to look more closely at the ingredients, labels and nutrition tables. This change in the consumers’ needs pushed innovation pipelines and many brands are now looking at vegan ingredients as either a portfolio of products or an entire vegan line.

The challenge for companies in looking to innovate in this space are two main issues: taste and nutrition. While the industry is catching up with demand, there is much to learn about how we can improve the flavours of proteins to taste better, how to modify the fat to taste as close as possible to meat or cheese. As well as, how to achieve better yields of the proteins when scaling up and why fermentation capacity is not enough. There are a number of industry leaders such as Unilever, Roquette, Kellogg’s, along with a growing number of start-ups who are heavily involved in developing these products.

The 2 main trends, ‘Plant Proteins’ and ‘Cell-based Meat’ expanded 3 new categories: speciality fats, fermented products and touching on modified carbohydrates. The event had many discussions associated with approaching those topics in a different way. My role at Biocatalysts is to work with companies to provide solutions to those questions; the majority of the time we succeed in providing a solution, but it would not be innovation if we didn’t face issues too. I was happy to have conversations with companies who are working to use unique proteins and or enzymes to develop sustainable nutritious products for the new health-conscious consumer.

Why, because we all understood in the past year in one way or another, what we eat matters!

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