Trends forecasters for the food industry 503.454.0698 info@culinarytides.com

The Wizard of Lightbulb Moments

The Wizard is constantly scanning industry news to maintain our trend forward stance. These “Lightbulb Moments” are quick insights on critical shifts in trends, research, and other happenings impacting food and beverage companies.

Plant-based diet risks worsening brain health nutrient deficiency

The shift towards more plant-based foods and reduced meat consumption among Europe’s consumers risks worsening an already low intake of choline, says Dr Emma Derbyshire of Nutritional Insight.  Choline is a critical nutrient needed for neurocognition, lipid metabolism, liver function and homocysteine regulation and important for memory, mood and muscle control.  The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli.  It is an ‘essential’ nutrient that cannot be produced by the body in amounts needed for human requirements.  Choline deficiency is linked to liver disease, offspring cognitive function and potential neurological disorders.  Egg consumers had almost twice the usual choline intake compared with non-consumers.  The survey also showed that protein, meat and seafood consumption were associated with increased choline intakes compared with non-consumers.  Another Canadian study has suggested that the main dietary sources of choline are eggs, dairy products and meat.

Source: foodnavigator.com

Lightbulb Moment: Sadly, choline is a nutrient most consumers have never heard of or don’t know what it does for the body.  This insight does bring up a health issue that deserves the backing of a longitudinal study.  Another reason not to promote any diet that eliminates entire food groups.  Vegetarianism of course can be done in a healthful way as long as key animal-based components are added back – like Vitamin B12 and choline.  Want to track plant-based trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Fiber-rich food appeals to health, diet and lifestyle needs

Roquette conducted an online survey with participants in Mexico, Brazil and the US. The health issues that most influence Mexican, Brazilian and US consumers’ diet choices are weight management, staying fit and active, and stress.  Of those asked, the biggest concerns for shoppers was sugar, followed by fat, and calories, then protein and cholesterol — fiber came in last.  When purchasing food and beverages, the least concerning nutritional component is fiber.  More than 50% of those asked know that fiber is important as part of their regular diet.  However, although nearly 50% of those surveyed believe they get enough fiber, more than 50% do not know the recommended daily intake for adults.  In terms of fiber source awareness, consumers asked, said oats, grain, fruits and vegetables were the top sources of fiber.  A total of 37% of those asked revealed they specifically purchase certain food and beverages because of their fiber content.  Breakfast and sports bars lead fiber-based buys, while dairy or dairy alternatives come second.  The snack bar segment continues to grow as consumers and brands alike focus on health.  Over 40% of those asked expressed they are looking for high amounts of fiber in bars and dairy/dairy alternatives, while more than 30% agreed when it comes to sweet and salty snacks, prepared/frozen meals, breakfast on the go options and meat alternatives.  The most impactful fiber statement to influence purchasing communicates that the item is ‘an excellent source of fiber’, i.e.  it contains more than 50% fiber.  A ‘good source of fiber’ follows, detailing the specific number of grams of fiber in the product is next, and lastly, including ‘with added fiber’ also appeals to consumers.  The inclusion of the word ‘fiber’ alone seems to resonate with consumers and instantly increase their chances of purchasing the food or beverage item.

Source: nutraingredients-latam.com

Lightbulb Moment: The problem with fiber is she has doesn’t have any great party dresses and she often plays the role of the best friend instead of the leading lady.  Her girlfriends are the ones that help propel her into the spotlight.  Want to track fiber trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Will low FODMAP be the new gluten-free?

Industry trend watchers have hinted that interest in following a Low FODMAP lifestyle could grow in popularity to rival the gluten free trend.  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is thought to affect approximately 20% of Brits and Americans, while only 1% of the populations suffers from celiac disease.  What is FODMAP? The lifestyle excludes foods that contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols – short-chain sugars or fibers – the body may have trouble digesting.  Essentially, it’s a diet free from wheat, dairy, lactose and everyday ingredients like pulses, onions, garlic and honey, among others.  It has been found to improve up to 86% of symptoms, which are similar to those caused by a gluten intolerance.

Source: bakeryandsnacks.com

Lightbulb Moment: In short, if consumers understand that this is another medically prescribed diet and not some weight loss miracle then no, it will not be the new gluten free.  If the FODMAP diet is set up as a health angel which will solve all your ails and make you lose weight then yes, buckle up for another diet that unjustly vilifies food groups.  Want to track FODMAP trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Omnivores fuel the growing demand for plant-based options

Based on data from Numerator’s InfoScout OmniPanel, 80% of US shoppers intend to replace some or all real meat with plant-based meat alternatives in the next year.  While only 36% say they will replace a “small portion” of animal-based meat with plant-based alternatives, 23% say they will replace a significant portion and 21% say they will replace all.  These rates are slightly higher than last year – when Numerator found half of meat eaters ate more alternatives and nearly 40% ate less real meat.  According to Numerator, about half of the people who tried plant-based products prefer animal-based meat, with 21% reporting that they strongly prefer it and 28% saying they only slightly prefer it.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, 29% said they either slightly or strongly preferred plant-based meat.  But this doesn’t mean most people are “dissatisfied” with plant-based alternatives to animal products.  Rather, 62% said they were very or extremely satisfied, 83% said they would recommend them to someone else and 81% said they would try other types of plant-based meat alternatives.  According to the data, 47% of shoppers consumed more plant-based dairy alternatives compared to last year, while 43% said they were consuming the same amount.

Source: smartbrief.com

Lightbulb Moment: The health halo around plant protein doesn’t hold for all products entering the space.  When consumers realize this there will be a shift in the playground.  Want to track plant protein trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

As plant-based alternative sales soar, brands & retailers must address challenges facing sector

Based on data from Numerator’s InfoScout OmniPanel, 80% of US shoppers intend to replace some or all real meat with plant-based meat alternatives in the next year.  While only 36% say they will replace a “small portion” of animal-based meat with plant-based alternatives, 23% say they will replace a significant portion and 21% say they will replace all.  These rates are slightly higher than last year – when Numerator found half of meat eaters ate more alternatives and nearly 40% ate less real meat.  According to Numerator, about half of the people who tried plant-based products prefer animal-based meat, with 21% reporting that they strongly prefer it and 28% saying they only slightly prefer it.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, 29% said they either slightly or strongly preferred plant-based meat.  But this doesn’t mean most people are “dissatisfied” with plant-based alternatives to animal products.  Rather, 62% said they were very or extremely satisfied, 83% said they would recommend them to someone else and 81% said they would try other types of plant-based meat alternatives.  According to the data, 47% of shoppers consumed more plant-based dairy alternatives compared to last year, while 43% said they were consuming the same amount.

Source: foodnavigator-usa.com

Lightbulb Moment: It is critical to understand that how a question is asked can shape the response.  If half the people who tried plant-based products actually prefer animal-based meat, then why would 62% say they are very or extremely satisfied with plant-based alternatives?  Time will tell if these same consumers eventually abandon their new plant-based path.  Want to track plant protein trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

UN climate change report ‘presents commercial opportunities for sustainable meat’

An IPCC report suggested a switch to more sustainable sources of both plant-based food and meat in the effort to keep global warming to below 2ºC as per the Paris Agreement. The UN report is not recommending to move away from meat consumption.  What they are actually recommending is to move towards the consumption of meat products from sustainable farming systems.  A new prescription is needed, sustainably managed livestock will need to play an essential role in the future sustainable food systems we need to replace the ones we’ve got at the moment.  But this message risks being lost on the food industry, which is under pressure to source cheaply and is therefore unable to source sustainably.  There has been a been a big shift to veganism and vegetarianism which isn’t necessarily part of the solution.  For instance, if you’re a mainly plant-based eater and your plant material is palm oil, or genetically modified soy or almond milk or avocados – all of those products are coming from unsustainable systems which often cause deforestation and which are carbon emitting and polluting.  We need to eat more vegetables that are grown as part of a proper crop rotation, and we need to buy meat that has come from truly sustainable systems.  Everyone, including the food industry, needs to become more sophisticated in our understanding about which foods we are currently eating are part of the problem and which are part of the solution – and the answer is not simple.

Source: foodnavigator-usa.com

Lightbulb Moment: The industry and consumers need to become more educated, less punitive when it comes to sustainability.  The blame game is getting old and is played by the ignorant.  This article is compelling and provocative. Want to learn how this impacts your business? Culinary Tides can help.

Men are almost four times as likely as women to have a poor grasp of how many calories they need to consume daily for their age and activity level

Overall, 37% of men and 17% of women were unable to correctly answer questions about how many calories they need daily, while 56% of men and 37% of women with less than a high school education didn’t know their daily calorie needs.  About 30% of white men and 56% of black and Hispanic men didn’t know the right range of calories for their weight and age.  Nor did 10% of white women, 33% of black women or 42% of Hispanic women.  With less than a high school education, 56% of men and 37% of women didn’t know their daily calorie needs, compared to 24% of men and 6% of women with college degrees.

Source: reuters.com

Lightbulb Moment: What I am wondering about is the reason behind the disparity between men and women.  I don’t believe it is an education or age issue.  I suspect it is the level of concern about calories and obesity that is behind the difference. Want to learn how this impacts your business? Culinary Tides can help.

Roughly half of children and adults who say they’re allergic to sesame don’t have a history of convincing symptoms

According to a report in JAMA Network Open, about 41% of people who did have a physician-diagnosed sesame allergy didn’t actually have convincing symptoms, and only 21% of children and 24% of adults in the study had symptoms.  Overall 53% of children in the study had a reported sesame allergy, but only 21% had a history of convincing symptoms.  And while 44% of adults had a reported a sesame allergy, only 24% had convincing symptoms.  Only 37% of children and adults with convincing sesame allergy symptoms reported use of epinephrine to treat a severe allergy attack.  Just 55.5% of the kids and 37.7% of the adults with convincing sesame allergy symptoms had a doctor diagnose them with sesame allergies.  At the same time, about 41% of people who did have a physician-diagnosed sesame allergy didn’t actually have convincing symptoms.  About 37% of people with a convincing sesame allergy reported having had at least one severe reaction to sesame.

Source: reuters.com

Lightbulb Moment: This speaks to the reality of consumers being misdiagnosed regarding allergies.  This can lead to unnecessary diet restrictions and unwarranted fears. Dealing with allergy fears in your business? Culinary Tides can help.

Intermittent fasting may decrease inflammation

A new study has concluded that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, a condition that can lead to various diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome.  That reduction, the study found, was due to a reduction in cells that cause inflammation, called “monocytes”, in the blood.  Researchers also said the monocytes that were in the blood were less inflammatory than they were in people and mice not on an intermittent fasting diet.  The quantity of inflammation-causing cells we typically have today may be more a product of this overeating than necessity. 

Source: healthline.com

Lightbulb Moment: Intermittent fasting is the only diet right now that relies on total eating time per day instead of vilifying entire food categories.  It is easy to follow and gets results. 

Keto diet claims vs reality: What the science says

The keto diet is often not the performance boosting mechanism it is claimed to be, according to Dr Mark Evans, postdoctoral researcher at University College Dublin.  The keto diet has been touted as a way to take of advantage of the body’s large fat stores to fuel exercise for longer and improve exercise performance, however, it’s important to consider how intense that exercise is going to be. For a person to follow a ketogenic diet they must get 80-85% of their calories from fat, consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and the remaining 15% of their calories from protein. If a person can reach a ‘ketogenic state’ then they will be able to take advantage of their fat stores and the argument is that they will have access to more energy. Based on the evidence so far, reaching a ketogenic status means you might not impair your performance at lower intensities of exercise but is likely to be detrimental to high intensity performance. Dr Evans believes a lot of the studies testing the use of ketone supplements on athletic performance have been confused with studies on people following a keto diet. His studies concentrated on raising ketone levels in the blood by supplementing the person with ketones which is very different to the person following a keto diet.  The person is still taking in a sufficient amount of carbs for high intensity performance but they are taking on supplements to elevate their level of ketones.

Source: nutraingredients.com

Lightbulb Moment: To truly be following a Keto diet, dieters’ risk cognitive function impairment due to the limited carbs allowed by the diet.  What researchers are finding is that it is not the keto diet that helps athletes, but the addition of ketones to their diet that helps performance. Trying to figure out how keto fits into your business? Culinary Tides can help.

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