Healthy ingredients: more than a trend
Health has become one of the main engines of development of the food and catering industry and more and more consumers are demanding healthy and natural products.
According to Mintel’s Global Food and Beverage Trends Report for 2017, consumers are changing their perceptions. The media, climate change or easy access to information have a decisive influence on the habits of consumers, who are increasingly aware of their relationship with food and their importance for their health.
This not only applies to the home; restaurants have also seen how in recent years these demands have been increasing. Although there are already many who offer healthy ingredients, in the coming years more and more customers will want to know the specific benefits of each product or ingredient. The healthy trend is here to stay.
What consumers want
This new consumer profile and its demands directly affect restaurants. According to several reports, customers are increasingly demanding more transparency and traceability on what they eat: the ingredients of each dish, their origin, production and processing. Thanks to technology, they are increasingly well-informed and want to know more about what they eat.
Consumers are also showing a growing concern about food waste and the circular economy, and they consider sustainability and minimal environmental impact key aspects when choosing a product over another.
In addition, innovation is another factor that users take into account. In fact, according to the Spanish Shopper Experience Observatory (OSE), 80% of consumers believe that a product is innovative if it is more sustainable because of its manufacture, production or packaging.
On the other hand, the influence of diet on health and physique means that new consumers are looking for healthy products made with natural formulas and recognizable ingredients that help them look after their diets.
The potential of healthy foods
Healthy ingredients are key for this whole process, as customers are demanding them more and more. Products with these nutritional profiles share a series of characteristics:
- Reduced fat content
- Free of chemical additives and preservatives
- No artificial ingredients
- Minimally processed
- Healthier fats
But using these ingredients has little relevance if food service and catering professionals are not able to let their customers know about it. Menus are an essential tool to draw attention to healthy ingredients and thus meet the growing demand for information. In addition to clearly identifying healthy ingredients and their characteristics, it is also recommended to offer alternatives for allergies or food intolerances, to include low-fat and low-calorie options or to have vegan options.
Challenges for the professional chef
The future of hospitality and catering rests on how well we respond to all these new demands. The credibility and trust that customers place on the professional chefs forces them to look for high-quality, sustainable and innovative suppliers and ingredients for their dishes.
Quescrem is a specialist cheese maker working with 100% natural ingredients for the kitchen and bakery, with the organoleptic profile and functional characteristics that independent food establishments need.