Hosted by Kerry Taste & Nutrition, the first industry-wide conference on the future of nutrition was held in February looking at how nutrition is changing the game in foodservice and inspiring innovation on menus.

Senior leaders from across the foodservice sector attended the event – at the Courthouse Hotel, Shoreditch where new proprietary pan European research, across seven markets was revealed by Kerry Taste & Nutrition.

The new research looked into consumer attitudes, needs, trends and behaviours towards nutrition when eating out of home. There was a specific focus on transparency of food sourcing, sugar reduction, the importance of maintaining signature taste profiles and how this impacts operators. In addition, new and emerging health trends and the importance of language when conveying healthy options to consumers were also examined.

Key themes were:

  • Consumers get real – people are increasingly looking for food and drink options that are more natural, more nutritious and more environmentally sustainable with 35% considering natural ingredients/flavours the most important nutritional claim at lunch and dinner. Respondents also said that there are demands for ‘cleaner’ cooking methods with steaming, poaching and baking preferred over frying.
  • Transparency needs – across all seven markets researched, 6 in 10 people would like to see more nutritional information such as calorie content, fat content and sugar content displayed on foodservice menus.
  • Hold the sugar– 43% of foodservice customers are interested in or following a reduced sugar trend, and increasingly searching for beverages with low sugar (57%) or no added sugar (53%) attributes. Interestingly, 41% see real fruit as a key beverage health attribute. This strongly suggests that real fruit as a sweetener is something operators could be making more of.
  • Finding balance – 81% of those seeking to change their diet believe foodservice operators have a responsibility to improve nutrition on their menus. The foodservice industry must respond to this overwhelming market demand. While nutrition is an emerging trend, taste still remains key as the most sought-after need. Many are seeking out smarter ways to indulge for example one in three (38%) look for natural claims when purchasing ice cream.
  • Mind matters – consumers are increasingly focusing on holistic wellbeing. This involves considering and nourishing all human elements – mind, body and spirit; 32% of people cite mental well-being as a key reason to change their diet.

Karl Buiks, vice president for foodservice, marketing & strategic lanning, Kerry Taste & Nutrition said: “People are eating out more frequently and demanding healthy options that don’t compromise on taste. The foodservice industry is also being challenged by public health bodies to address this demand with nutritional improvements to menus.

Our purpose at Kerry is to inspire food and nourish life and as a leading taste & nutrition companies, this is a major focus for us. The aim of this conference was to share insights in nutrition, consumer behaviour and future development of menus with the leading companies in the industry.”

Elaine Druhan, foodservice marketing manager at Kerry Taste & Nutrition, who unveiled the research at the event said: “Given the limited amount of research to date in this area specifically, we really wanted to help our customers understand this growing trend and in turn be able to evolve their businesses to meet consumers’ growing nutritional expectations.”

Keynote speeches and panelist discussions from organisations such as Crussh, Starbucks, McDonalds, Sodexo, Greggs, The WellSpoken Mark and the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) made compelling listening, with topics covering wide-ranging themes from the impact of legislation, through to language use and credibility, evolving cleaner labels, and macro-trends such as functional benefits, protein and plant-based.

 

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