By The FoodBowl chief executive Alexandra Allan




Among the dozen or so really hot trends in food and beverage innovation this year, health and wellbeing underpin them, whether its collagen products, no-sugar beverages, gut, brain or immune support or free-from products.

Fuelling our body with quality products is a global movement and immunity-boosting ingredients continue to play a significant part in the work our clients are doing. Some of our recent case studies highlight the extent of the innovation and the drive to utilise natural ingredients for their medicinal properties. A great example is the health tonic drink Vitonic or Good Herb Soda which takes the health benefits of cannabis and has created a drink to improve wellbeing. Both of these are published as case studies on our website.

Removing sugar is also a hot topic and our R&D teams and food technologists work hard to balance the desire to remove it alongside the functional role sugar plays in a formulation. Beyond adding sweetness, refined sugar influences how we perceive flavour and how those flavours are released; it also impacts texture and the sensory experience. Using a more natural sweetener, like stevia, inulin or erythritol in its place is a fine balancing act. But one we work hard to achieve when the client brief requires it.

As more people realise they can impact their own mental and physical health through nutrition, we will continue to see more people producing highly functional food. In this category you’ll already find an explosion of plant-based milks, and innovation abounds in the emerging proteins space. Be it development of products from plants, non-traditional animal sources (like insects) or through biotechnology where foods similar or identical to traditional animal meats are created and commercialised.

As a national network, we are working on many exciting and innovative products and processes which we hope will eventuate in even more functional, healthy and alternative food options.

If you are innovating in this space – chances are we have already done some work and we would enjoy the chance to add value to the work you are doing.

Contact a business development manager near you – visit our website to find one near you.  www.foodinnovationnetwork.co.nz

Alexandra Allan is the chief executive for The FoodBowl – an open access facility operated by NZ Food Innovation Auckland and part of the NZ Food Innovation Network. She has experience in managing client projects as well as oversight on plant operations previously as the Client Solutions Manager for The FoodBowl. Prior to that, Allan has held senior positions at Danone and Horley’s in product development.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.