Keto has taken New Zealand by storm. The Facebook group, Keto New Zealand, has 70,000+ members and with increasing numbers of supermarkets having Keto sections, there is significant demand for Keto-friendly foods. Keto is a way of eating that puts your body into ketosis where your body runs on fats rather than carbohydrates to improve health conditions, lose weight and feel more energetic. To achieve ketosis, people will eat high fats, moderate protein and under 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Many also minimise potentially inflammatory oils, ingredients such as added sugars, MSG and artificial sweeteners other than sugar alcohols.
There have been lots of successes as a Keto consumer this year. Keto foods have started becoming more mainstream and we are finally seeing some brands change a small number of ingredients to make the product keto friendly. Justine’s Protein Cookies is a fantastic example of this – by switching maltitol for erythritol, their customer base has exploded as their cookies are now keto friendly, diabetic friendly and no longer cause sore stomachs. There is a major opportunity to make many more keto products by switching out just one or two ingredients of low importance to create another fantastic keto option.
There are two massive pitfalls of keto products in New Zealand. Firstly, Maltodextrin and maltitol are avoided by customers due to it being used similarly to a carbohydrate once eaten but are in lots of products. Secondly, accurate information on the nutritional label for the carbohydrates is massively important – The carbohydrate line in New Zealand is already “net carbs” or available carbs. We are still seeing many products without the fibre removed from the total carbohydrates or having it removed from net carbohydrates (doing it twice).
The next couple of years is likely to be an exciting time for Keto consumers. We expect to see more brands understand that we want and need more keto friendly products and provide the ingredients and products that are sought after.
I run the Facebook group Keto New Zealand and have recently received a Kiwibank Local Hero award. I’m passionate about empowering people to have the ability to change their life to improve their future. You can learn more at http://go.ketonewzealand.com/hannahnoble