The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our professional and personal lives and placed a great deal of pressure on our healthcare systems. At the same time, the consequences of climate change are becoming ever-more apparent: heavy rains, huge fires, and drought. All these changes, directly or indirectly, are having an impact on resources. Shipping, energy and materials costs are also rising.
These crises have revealed our interdependence, the fragility of our health systems, rising costs of living and the impact we are having on our planet. Based on those observations, Roquette has been able to identify three consumer types.
Identifying consumer needs
The first is the health-conscious consumer. “They know the choice of their diet has a direct impact on their short and long-term health,” explains Iva François, Roquette Global Market Manager, Fibers and Formulated Solutions.
“That’s why they pay attention to what they eat, for them and their family. This trend was already here before 2020, but massively accelerated with the pandemic. Consumers are adopting increasingly proactive attitudes to their health, wellness, and nutrition, and are more educated on ingredients that boost their health and adjusting their diet. They are looking for health, wellness, and immunity boost.”
The second is the cost-conscious consumer.
“They want to pay attention to their expenses,” explains Eva Esparza, Roquette Head of Marketing Europe, Food Specialties. “When it comes to food, they are looking for the right balance between quality and price. They base their food choices on affordability, quality, and watchfulness.”
The third is the plant-loving consumer.
“They want to consume in a reasoned way and for their diet; this means eating balanced and varied but also consuming quality products, from sustainable sources,” says Sandrine Bouvier, Roquette Market Manager Europe, Plant Proteins. “Therefore, they are looking for plant-based alternatives. They trust in plant-based, sustainability and safety.”
Tapping plant-based trend
To help food formulators satisfy health-conscious, cost-conscious and plant lover consumers, Roquette aims to offer a wide range of plant-based food ingredients, meeting either specific nutritional needs or ideal functionalities for each market segment.
To address health-conscious consumers for example, Roquette offers NUTRIOSE®, a large range of soluble fibre (from non-GMO wheat or corn) either used for nutritional benefits like fiber enrichment and sugar reduction, up to sustain health benefits like digestive health, blood glucose management, sustained energy release, satiety, and weight management.
“All these benefits are supported with more than 18 years of scientific evidence and clinical studies; we have 23 clinical studies and 7 pre-clinical studies,” says Iva François.
“It’s a real challenge for food formulators to achieve a cost-optimized formulation while both keeping the same quality of the finished product and offering an additional benefit, like texture improvement, enhancement of the nutritional profile, or a cleaner process to be more respectful of the planet,” says Esparza. “At Roquette, we support formulators by offering functional ingredients with gelling, emulsifying or bulking properties.”
Plant-based ingredients allow manufacturers to reduce and/or replace expensive ingredients, increase the stability of the food products, enhancing the shelf life or preserving the quality of the end product during the production process.
“We offer specialty starches like CLEARGUM® CO 01, with emulsifying properties that can be used to replace egg in dressing formulations, and PREGEFLO® CR 3510 a pregelatinized starch with outstanding stability that brings a creamy texture to the dressing while keeping it more stable for longer and allowing to use less sunflower oil in the formulae,” says Eva Esparza.
Roquette has also developed a wide range of plant protein. Coming from wheat, fava bean, and yellow pea, the vast range of NUTRALYS® plant protein make it possible to formulate numerous delicious food products. In addition to its nutritional benefits, NUTRALYS® pea protein offers other health benefits for energy intake control and muscle mass maintenance.
“Our plant-based offer is growing to answer consumers’ expectations in terms of variety,” adds Bouvier. “This explains why Roquette is continuously innovating to develop the functionalities and characteristics necessary for these new applications.”
All food market segments are impacted by this huge plant-based trend.
“For instance, plant-based drinks are a well-installed market, even if still growing,” says Bouvier. “Other segments were more challenging for formulators. However, some solutions are now available, and some should come soon, allowing new launches of delicious plant-based cheeses or seafood.”
A comprehensive plant-based approach
Roquette believes that food manufacturers can secure a market-leading position by combining several plant-based ingredients to promote health, well-being and formulation optimization on multiple fronts.
“That’s our vision of a comprehensive plant-based approach,” says Bouvier. “Moreover, Roquette takes a holistic approach with our customers. Our customer technical service team works closely with them to understand their needs and all the ways in which the nutritional profile of their formulations can be improved, while maintaining indulgence. Roquette is not only a plant-based ingredients supplier, but also a creative partner to food creators willing to develop the products of tomorrow.”
“At Roquette, we expect this trend to stay,” adds Bouvier. “We are at the beginning of the story. The human population is growing worldwide; in some countries, the average living standard has increased allowing access to some food categories, like meat, which was not possible until now. Upfront resources are limited. Consumers are conscious that plant-based is not anymore an option but a must-have.”