Friday, June 14, 2024

Cargill delivers customized food solutions in line with evolving consumer trends

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Indian consumers prioritize health and wellness, and engaging sensory experiences these days. In response to this trend, the Cargill Innovation Center (CIC) in India is providing insights-led innovation to co-create food solutions, best suited for local tastes and preferences. CIC showcased some of the tailored food solutions and deep market insights into this unique consumer trends in India. 

Inaugurated in 2022, the CIC works with food manufacturers, both large and small, to innovate and enable new product development, across bakery, food service, dairy & beverage, specialized nutrition, snacks, and confectionery categories.

Cargill’s proprietary TrendTracker 2023 study on the Global Food and Beverage Industry highlights some of the trends that the company is working on with its customers. They are: 

  • Healthy for me: According to the study, consumers today are prioritizing health seeking healthier choices, and making deliberate decisions regarding their food and beverage choices. They focus on immune boosting, digestive wellness, gut health, and higher-fiber content that have grown significantly post-pandemic. Alternate sources of protein are being sought as consumers are looking to cover their daily protein requirements through natural plant-based sources. 

Consumers are opting for healthier ingredients, and prefer products with more natural ingredients. 82% of consumers in India read on-pack health claims while purchasing a product. Clean-label products resonate with consumers. Nine out of 10 consumers actively seek recognizable ingredients in the products they choose.

  • Experience it: Consumers are becoming more indulgent with their food choices and are looking to elevate sensorial experiences. They want to go beyond taste and engage all the senses like good texture, mouth-feel, crunchiness, creaminess, chewiness, and crispiness. They are also looking for a healthy twist to their snacks.

The Cargill study shows that 28% of Indians have increased consumption of indulgent snacks over the last 12 months, signaling a shift in snacking preferences, and 39% of consumers prefer their snacks to be ‘tasty but healthy,’ emphasizing a growing need for snacks that offer indulgence with health benefits.

Tailored solutions developed by the Cargill Innovation Center

Some of the tailored solutions developed by the Cargill Innovation Center in India are:

  • Protex DS, a vital wheat gluten substitute developed in India, is designed to enhance cost efficiency, reducing dependency on wheat. It is used as a key ingredient in baking.
  • Elite Choice, India’s flavored aerated cookie shortening, a trans-fat-free proprietary fat that transforms cookies to make them lighter, crispier, and tastier with a longer shelf life, ultimately elevating the customer and consumer experience.
  • Modified Lipid, developed at CIC, helps manage oil separation to enhance convenience and stability across various food products like peanut butter, fat spread, chocolate spread, RUTF (Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food), frozen flatbreads, and more. 
  • Classic Gold, a light bakery shortening, is used in making puffs and patties lighter and tastier. It ensures guilt-free indulgence.

In addition to this, CIC is adapting Cargill’s global innovations for the Indian market:

  • RadiPure and Protex E8001G arenatural, plant-based pea proteins that provide superior mouth-feel and a healthier alternative to protein, used by the Dairy and Beverage industry. 
  • Epicor is a post-biotic ingredient for gut health that supports the immune system. Catering to the emerging trend of post-biotic, Cargill Innovation Centre in India is building prototypes for the Dairy, Confectionery, and Bakery industry with applications like gummies, chocolates, and chocolate milkshakes focusing on the health and nutrition space in India.

Kunal YadavB2B Commercial LeaderCargill’s Food Solutions business in South Asia, said, “We adopt a customer-driven approach and provide R&D support to create end-to-end food solutions and offerings for our customers.’’Apart from being a center for food innovation, CIC empowered over 100 bakers mostly from small and medium enterprises, providing them with knowledge and necessary skills to thrive in a competitive market.

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