8 Trends Driving Health and Nutrition across the Food Industry

Good nutrition is key to a healthy life. As consumers place increasing importance on healthy and nutritious diets, global food brands, technology leaders, investors and start-ups have a crucial role to play in developing healthier, more functional foods without sacrificing taste, texture or enjoyment.

Ahead of Future Food-Tech on September 30-October 1, we spoke to 21 food-tech experts to learn more about their priorities to drive forward a healthier and more nutritious future for everyone.

Immunity

“We have seen a proliferation of product launches promising various health benefits with a particular focus on immunity in the past year. Consumers are looking beyond label claims and seeking out specific ingredients associated with these outcomes”, shares Monica Watrous, Managing Editor at Food Business News

“NutriLeads is a health ingredients innovator harnessing the health-giving power of natural plant compounds to help people strengthen their health through nutrition. We develop and commercialise 100% natural ingredients, that deliver clinically proven health benefits and are upcycled from agricultural by-products, like our proprietary ingredient BeniCaros™ that supports immune health,” explains Ruud Albers, Co-Founder and CSO at NutriLeads


Clean Label

“At ICL we strive to improve quality, scalability, nutrition, taste, structure, and cost of food ingredients. One of our focal pillars is ‘clean label’ by means of replacing chemical functional ingredients in the food industry with functional plant-based proteins. The driving force behind this pilar is precision biology that’s why last month ICL Planet invested in Protera Biosciences, an AI-driven start-up designing and developing new proteins to enable a wide range of natural and sustainable solutions,” explains Hadar Sutovsky, VP External Innovation & General Manager at ICL Planet

“Our QOA powder is less astringent and bitter. Thanks to this, we are working on reducing the sugar in our recipes. First experiments show that we can reduce the sugar content by up to 80% compared to conventional chocolate. In addition, we are using only natural, gluten-free ingredients as basis for our fermentation processes,” shares Maximilian Marquart, CEO and Co-Founder, QOA

 

Re-Imagining Protein

“Alternative protein is an opportunity to change global eating habits, for better health and a better planet. For plant-based to be part of daily lives, we design eating experiences, a plant-based cuisine, beyond mimicking. Design beyond mimicking enables variety and healthier profiles, which is what the consumers are looking for,” shares Sonia Huppert, Innovation Marketing Leader, Re-Imagine Protein, IFF

 “We are super excited about supporting new and existing companies in the food sector to produce alternative proteins that offer opportunities for novel foods and better food security. We offer fermentation capabilities from lab to demonstration scale with an industry orientated R&D approach and a focus on supporting food supply systems with lower environmental impact, less opportunity to spread disease and that can feed more people using fewer resources,” notes Andrea Parr, Business Development Manager, CPI

“We at Sophie’s BioNutrients believe that conventional proteins, be it animal or plant-based, are never going to be the silver bullets for personal health and nutrition security. Microorganism-based protein is really the ONLY solution. Our success with microalgae proves that it is the king of nutrition,” claims Eugene Wang, CEO and CO-Founder, Sophie’s BioNutrients

“We don’t believe that the concentrated animal agriculture system can sustainably supply protein. We need other ways to feed people for the sake of the planet. But people love meat — they love the taste and the affordability, and the nutritional value is very much there, especially with chicken. So, we’re leveraging technology to come up with solutions that are more sustainable while remaining nutritionally competitive. And of course, for people to buy these solutions over animal meat, and for us to fulfil our goal, they also must taste really, really good,” shares Jessica Schwabach, CEO at Sundial Foods

Food as Medicine

“One of Middleland Capital’s areas of focus is on science-driven approaches that use food as medicine to drive quantifiable health outcomes. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light the fragility of global food production and the importance of maintaining a proper, healthy diet to ward off disease. Food insecurity and increasing diet-related illness further illustrate how challenges across the sector are impacting global populations. Scientists, entrepreneurs and academics are making rapid progress in understanding the connection of our diet on genetics, gut health and mental health, and we are looking to back companies that utilise these cutting-edge approaches,” notes Severine Balick, Partner at Middleland Capital

“At KEEN Growth Capital, we provide an innovative suite of brands, Advanced Micronutrition, that unites companies committed to evidence-based food and supplement products to increase the use of food as medicine. This suite of brands provides life-enhancing nutrition for people in all life and health stages: from insurance reimbursed whole food kits to evidence-based nutrition solutions with positive outcomes,” notes Jonathan Smiga, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at KEEN Growth Capital


Personalisation

“Data is the key to personalisation and scale. Salus Optima works with global FMCG and consumer health companies to differentiate their products and enhance brand loyalty through data rich, personalised consumer experiences that address the unique health and wellness challenges of the consumer. By combining brand owners physical products, science and supply chain with our software platform and bespoke companion applications we’re able to provide consumers timely, accurate and holistic recommendations that work. Brand owners’ products form a component of this offering, making them truly relevant to the consumer, giving them an unrivalled personalised experience beyond point of sale. The end result is a happy consumer that leads to an increase in product uptake, repeat purchase, usage and profitability for brand owner, ” shares Rodrigo Vinicius de Jesus, CEO at Salus Optima

“At Happ, we believe that the future of food is personal. Every consumer is so different, and so are their specific nutritional needs. Consumers are moving away from swallowing pills and towards eating right and healthy to address health issues, with nutrition playing a vital role. Through our platform we can empower consumers to make better choices by personalising nutrition advice, taking into account their personal goals, data, beliefs, health status and motivations. At the same time also encouraging behavioural change towards healthy eating and living. We are active in the areas of pre-diabetes, gut health, childhood obesity, better for me specific needs – sports nutrition, women’s hormonal life stage needs, etc. We believe that with the right ecosystems and the right proposal we can help consumers find the right balance and eat what is good for them and for the planet,” details Divya Gautam, CEO at Happ

“Hyris always puts the user at the centre of andy solutions, as taking care of life begins with the capability to assess the risks to health in time. Hyris aims to put knowledge, through reliable technology, at the service of life, supporting different sectors and industries with immediately accessible, cloud-connected advanced genetic analysis solutions for human health and nutrition security,” details Stefano Lo Priore, Founder and CEO at Hyris

“As part of our COVID-19 response, Kroger Health focused on increasing access to dietitian services through free tele-nutrition. By reducing financial, geographic and transportation barriers associated with in-person care, our dietitians have been able to provide personalised and pragmatic nutrition care to consumers when they needed it most,” details Taylor Newman, Nutrition Program Development Developer at Kroger 


Consumer Demand

“We’re working to create a healthier, more sustainable global food system to allow everyone, everywhere to find and access the food that is right for them. We do this by ensuring our products are responsibly delicious, inspiring people to cook tasty, nutritious meals, increasing our plant-based offerings and incorporating more goodies such as vegetables, fibre, and micronutrients into our products. This is enabled by leading edge research into nutrition, health and wellness,” explains Julie Willems, Global Director Nutrition – Foods & Standards at Unilever

“At Rousselot we believe that is not only about living longer but also about the quality of life. We want people to live a happy, active and healthy life with good mobility and looking great as well, and this can be achieved through nutrition,” notes Sara de Pelsmaeker, Global Business Development Manager at Rousselot Health and Nutrition

“At Turing Labs, we are helping CPG companies respond to consumer demands for healthier and more nutritious products as fast as possible. Typically, we see most CPG companies spend an average of 12-18 months to develop a specific market-ready formulation based on the changes that need to be made, to make a product healthier and more nutritious. With Turing Labs, they can get these products re-formulated to meet the demands of the consumer in just a few weeks,” explains Ajith Govind, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Turing Labs

“Biocatalysts’ main priority when scaling solutions in personal health and nutrition security is the end customer and keeping application needs in mind. Biocatalysts partners with companies of all sizes from start-ups to FMCG companies to provide speciality enzymes for their applications, as well as the manufacture of proteins. The focus for each project is what is required from the finished product, this guides our discovery and development stages of each project ensuring a market need for each product,” shares Daren Bryce, Commercial Director at Biocatalysts

Strategic Partnerships

“We believe, as a food company, that we can collectively bring health through food. To speed up our journey towards the exploration and expansion of alternatives proteins, in the respect of our planet’s boundaries, we need strategic partnerships. This way we will address people’s needs and make our food system more resilient,” details Nigyar Makhmudova, Chief Growth Officer at Danone

“We have built a robust long-term research and innovation team aimed at meeting consumer needs that no one else in the category is serving. As we look to the future, Wells is focused on building strategic partnerships, sustainable ingredient options like superfoods and alternative proteins, along with new processing technologies critical to creating better-for-you treats that don’t sacrifice experience,” says Nick Suffredin, Head of Research and Development, Wells Enterprises

ESG Strategy

“To take a holistic approach when determining its impact, ECBF not only measures the sustainability of its investments according to ESG criteria, but also assess the contribution of its portfolio companies to the achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals. Responsible consumption and production (Goal #12) and bio-based solutions (ECBF focus) in the food and agricultural technology sector are all about nutritional security and wellbeing (Goal #3 and #2),” adds Vivek Dogra, Venture Partner at ECBF

At Future Food-Tech on September 30 – October 1, 700+ key industry players across the sector will unite online to drive forward scalable, sustainable solutions to transform the future of food.

The virtual platform goes live on September 14 – We hope you can join us!