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Nutrition trends 2010

Immunity supporting foods

Swine flu fears have fuelled a demand for immunity boosting products in many countries, and it is likely we could see ingredients like various antioxidants, beta-glucans and botanicals such as elderberry marketed on this premise in 2010.

Even though companies cannot talk about the flu virus when talking about their ingredients or products, the current global fear over the swine flu pandemic will boost interest in all ingredients and products touting immune-support properties. But if you are into good old fashioned nutrition then just eat onions,  garlic and shitake mushrooms for their immunity supporting benefits.

Natural sweeteners – stevia, agave, maple syrup

Stevia from South America is a zero calorie natural sweetener not yet licensed in the UK but on trial in France. It can currently be used for medicinal use in the UK. European wide approval is on the horizon.

Stevia tastes up to 300 times sweeter than sugar without providing calories and as an alternative to sugar it could help with weight management. We will also see an increasing demand for other alternative sweeteners extracted from sources such as apple, agave and maple syrup. These natural, healthier sweeteners will become much more mainstream as sugar alternatives.

Food simplicity – “back to basics”

The downturn is making people nostalgic for simpler times, and simpler foods. In 2010 we will see more food simplicity driven by the demand for natural and clean-label foods.

Consumers are reaching out for cleaner foods free from chemicals and unnatural ingredients. They want to know what’s in their food and they want cleaner food labels:  no artificial food colorings (some of which have been linked to hyperactivity in children), no chemical additives (such as MSG) and no chemical preservatives (such as BHA).  If they can’t pronounce it, consumers won’t want it.

Eco nutrition and conscious nutrition

As we approach 2010 another big trend to watch out for is `eco nutrition’. Health conscious consumers will continue to grow in numbers but will increasingly question the link between food, diet and the environment and combine their passion for food and nutrition with conscious consumerism. They will not only regularly seek out nutritious food as part of their daily buying behaviours, but these products mustn’t exploit the environment or the communities from which they came.  

For example a consumer may be searching for high a quality organic dark chocolate because of the touted health benefits, however their purchasing decision will also be influenced by how and where the cocoa in the chocolate was sourced i.e. its provenance, how the workers were treated, whether those farming communities benefited if at all and how much C02 was produced.  The food industry will continue to step up in this respect by using more responsibly sourced ingredients from communities which are treated responsibly and by reducing carbon emissions etc. We will see conscious consumerism for healthy, sustainable food products becoming an increasingly mainstream behaviour.

Ancient grains – modern market rediscoveries make a comeback

We will see more ancient grains like amaranth, buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, chia, and rye in 2010. Whole grains have received so much attention in the nutrition world for their heart-healthy benefits and this popularity is opening up doors to lesser known ancient grains which have been around for much longer but people forgot them.

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The use of less processed ancient grains addresses the concern that today’s foods are over processed and consumers do want fresh, natural unprocessed foods. Ancient grains also provide a great alternative to the growing numbers of consumers who are wheat intolerant.

  • Amaranth –  has a malty taste and can be popped like corn. The pre-Colombian Indians believed it had supernatural powers. Its certainly very nutritious.
  • Chia – high in protein and fibre, the Aztecs called it “running food” and used it for nourishment on long trecks .  Mila, the best of chia will be launched into the UK in 2010          
  • Buckwheat –  an excellent alternative to rice or porridge, and its flour has a mild flavour good for buckwheat pancakes
  • Spelt – a nutty flavour and dates back before even wheat. It can be used in many of the same ways as wheat, it has a broader spectrum of nutrients and it is a great substitute
  • Rye – a rich flavour and a favourite for making bread. Rich in manganese, fibre, selenium, tryptophan, phosphorus, magnesium and protein
  • Quinoa – a Peruvian grain once considered the “gold of the Incas” because its high protein content which gave warriors stamina

Healthy indulgence – raw chocolate

Raw chocolate is one of the world’s fastest growing health foods and provides a concentrated source of antioxidants. We will see more raw chocolate products hitting the shelves in 2010 as consumers indulge themselves with cheap, healthy treats they can afford in order to keep their spirits high. Raw chocolate is a health food and a great alternative to cheap, mass produced, low cocoa content chocolate. It’s full of magnesium which is nature’s tranquiliser. 

Local butchers make a comeback

The re-emergence of the local butcher will be another major trend in 2010 for the high street as well as within supermarkets.  This is because shoppers are more conscious about where their meat comes from and are choosier about selecting the best, healthiest, leanest cuts and have it ground on demand.  The popularity of the local butcher is also fuelled by our desire to supporting local enterprises vs. supermarket giants.

Dora Walsh

Head Nutritionist

www.nutriheal.net

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