Eating habits change from time to time. The development of research on food and its relationship with well-being, health and quality of life associated with the rapid dissemination of information from these studies is revolutionizing the food industry.
There are more people wanting to eat well, in order to reduce the risk of developing diseases that can shorten lifespan. Based on new consumer profiles, the food industry is looking for solutions to meet growing demand.
Following this trend, we list some foods that are in the spotlight and how the food industry has used technology to meet the needs and desires of a large part of consumers.
By 2030, the global plant-based food market is predicted to grow fivefold from its current value, reaching the $162 billion mark, according to a recent Bloomberg Intelligence report.
The challenge for this growing market, however, is to make plant-based foods taste as close as possible to those using ingredients of animal origin, in addition to maintaining the high protein content they have.
The solution to this comes from combining technology with natural resources. Novozymes, a leading Danish company in biosolutions and based in Paraná, operates in the development of biological solutions, such as enzymes and microorganisms, to make these foods more palatable.
“High levels of protein in plant-based foods can cause an unwanted increase in the viscosity of the product, in addition to high bitterness. The enzymes produced by the company are capable of transforming flavor profiles, increasing sweetness and masking residual flavors, typical of this raw material, in addition to providing nutritional benefits and food texture”, highlights Letícia Araújo, marketing manager of the Food business and Novozymes Beverages.
In dairy analogues, for example, with the use of enzymes, it is possible to get closer to milk in terms of viscosity and texture, in addition to increasing the sweet taste significantly, without added sugars or sweeteners.
Collagen is one of the most important proteins for the body. Its primary structure is formed from the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. The main sources of collagen extraction are bovine tissue, pork skin and marine sources (fish and other invertebrates). Hydrolyzed collagen helps improve skin, helps relieve joint pain, can prevent bone loss, acts on muscle mass and promotes heart health. Furthermore, it can be recommended for people facing health problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
“Hydrolyzed collagen has been an alternative protein source for the functional food industry. Several recently launched products have added collagen to their formulation due to the ingredient’s characteristics. One example is hydrolyzed fish collagen added to drinks such as orange juice, for example, showing improvements in nutritional and functional properties with higher protein content, bioavailability and low viscosity, in addition to high solubility in water”, highlights Letícia.
Hydrolyzed collagen is obtained through the denaturation of native collagen, a thermal process that involves the separation of the molecule’s structures, followed by hydrolysis through an enzymatic process that breaks the structures into smaller particles in the presence of water. Its functional properties (antioxidant capacity, microbial activity and bioavailability) are related to the composition and degree of hydrolysis.
Increase in vegetable consumption
According to ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), a global leader in human and animal nutrition, approximately 52% of consumers worldwide are adopting the flexitarian diet. Within this group, nearly two-thirds are prioritizing the consumption of plant-based foods, which is driving growing demand for expanded protein alternatives.
The flexitarian diet is a flexible approach in which most meals follow a vegetarian pattern, but occasionally allow the inclusion of foods of animal origin. It is a food option that has gained popularity among those who want to reduce their meat consumption, but without giving up the freedom to occasionally enjoy products of animal origin. The flexitarian diet is a way to make a gradual transition to vegetarianism or veganism.
Furthermore, the flexitarian diet is based on an increase in the consumption of foods of plant origin, such as fruits, grains and unprocessed foods, which suggests that it may bring health benefits, such as the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and various types of cancer.
Cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks
The alcohol-free beverage trend is gaining popularity and becoming more widely available. Known as ‘mocktails’, these alternatives offer a taste as delicious and indulgent as alcoholic beverages, but are not associated with the negative effects that often accompany alcohol consumption.
Non-alcoholic beers are also gaining ground in the market. According to data from Google Trends, searches for non-alcoholic beer broke a record worldwide in July this year. In the last five years, demand for the subject has increased by 80% globally and 60% in Brazil.
According to a study carried out by Euromonitor International for Sindicerv – National Union of the Beer Industry – the production of beers without alcohol or with a lower percentage of this substance in Brazil was 390 million liters last year. For 2023, the expectation is for a 24% increase in the volume produced.
Awareness of the impact of food production on the environment is growing. Consumers are increasingly looking for sustainably produced food, with an added focus on minimizing food waste and using locally sourced ingredients.
The Danish Novozymes also enters the bakery segment. The company develops enzymes that reduce bread waste in consumers’ families, as they delay the aging of the product, keeping the bread soft and moist for longer. Since its launch in 1990, the solutions have prevented around 80 billion loaves of bread from being discarded. If these loaves were stacked, you could go to the moon and back ten times.