As many as 41% of Italian, 38% of Polish, 35% of German, 32% of French and 21% of Spanish consumers say they enjoy experimenting with ingredients, according to Mintel.
The research company presented four key ingredients, with the occasion of the new edition of Food Ingredients Europe (FiE), held in Frankfurt, between November 28-30.
These four key ingredients that can also be used in bakery products are expected to excel in 2018: green banana flour, hemp, blue algae and chaga mushroom, says Mintel.
Green Banana Flour
Gluten has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years, with the number of products featuring gluten-free claims booming. According to Mintel, 12% of bakery products launched in Europe in the year to September 2017 carried a gluten-free claim, up from just 6% of those launched in the year to September 2013. Taking advantage of this trend is green banana flour, whose use in food and drink products is starting to take-off according to Mintel GNPD.
Speaking at FiE 2017, Emma Schofield, global food science analyst at Mintel, said: “Green bananas are simply un-ripened yellow bananas, however, from a nutritional perspective, they are very different. Green banana flour is gluten-free and rich in resistant starch, as a result it is emerging as a fiber-rich, clean label, grain-free flour”.
Aspirations for healthier and “cleaner” lifestyles are motivating consumers to include more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains into their diets. More than one in four (28%) consumers in Germany say they are incorporating more protein into their diet compared to a year ago, while 23% say they are incorporating more vegetarian foods, such as soya burgers and vegetarian sausages, into their diet compared to a year ago.
“Hemp seeds have been ignored for a long time, but the ingredient is said to contain a complete set of amino acids and a similar total protein content to soybean, it also contains micronutrients such as vitamin E and omega acids. As a result, hemp is emerging as a clean label plant protein ingredient that could thrive in plant-based, free-from and high protein innovations,” Schofield adds.
While once the taste of food was the first priority when it came to innovation, the rise of social media has spurred a rise in innovations that look striking too. As a result, colors, particularly natural colors, are receiving greater attention.
“With the exception of a few examples such as blue cheese and blueberries, blue colors aren’t associated that positively with food and drink, however, bluer colored foods are beginning to emerge. The superfood spirulina provides color with health and can be used to provide a blue color in food and drink. Blue spirulina is making its way into cold-pressed juices, protein powders and even lattes,” Schofield says.
However, algae are now an opportunity for bakers who want to respond to the market demand for clean label, natural, non-animal sourced and allergen-free ingredients for their products, as you can read here: Algae Make New Free-from Baking Ingredients
According to Mintel research, consumer interest in ingredients with natural functionality is high and as a result, the chaga mushroom is receiving renewed interest.