Page 23 - Food & Drink Business Jan-Feb 2020
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“ Positioning a product as ‘permission to indulge’ has consistently proven to be one of the smartest strategies any company can adopt. Portion control, naturalness... these are all strategies that let people enjoy your product without guilt.”
– significantly increases your risk by taking you to a place where a product must have 20 or 25 ingredients to achieve acceptable taste and texture. And ingredient lists of that length, while acceptable to a very small number of people, are rejected by many others.
Fear of sugar – the ultimate ‘bad carb’ – is now mainstream. The surge in interest in keto diets has given sugar reduction an extra boost. Even people who are not strictly keto hear the diet’s message that sugar intake must be drastically cut.
Many cereals and granolas are discovering that they can gain sales by using inulin derived from chicory to offer consumers both a digestive wellness and a ‘natural’ low sugar message. The UK Troo Granola brand, for example, uses inulin syrup in its products because it serves both as a prebiotic fibre and a sweetener, giving a more appealing taste to consumers while keeping the sugar low.
In ‘healthy’ categories, such as yoghurt, sugar reduction is fast becoming a category standard, so what’s even more interesting is how it is being used by indulgent categories to create ‘permission to indulge’.
One of the ingredients that is often used to achieve this is date paste. For consumers, its sugar content is acceptable because it’s natural fruit sugar – which many people see as a heathier choice. Dates have become one of those natural ingredients that ‘can do no
wrong’ and you will find them at the core of healthier new product launches from Kellogg and many others.
Consumers seem open to a wider variety of sweeteners than they were a few years back, and product developers have more choices
emerging to help them.
The latest
example is
allulose, a
occurring sugar
that tastes about
70 per cent as sweet as sucrose. In nature, it is found in small quantities in foods like maple syrup, figs, molasses and raisins. It was recently approved for use in the US, Japan and Singapore. Apart from having only 10 per cent of the calories of sugar, it does not affect blood glucose levels or insulin release, making it suitable for diabetics and anyone managing their weight.
Its ‘plant-sourced’ and ‘not artificial’ image will help drive its use.
Everyone wants to make a lasting difference to
their business, get more volume, get better margins, renovate existing products or launch new ones. The best way to achieve that
is to go with benefits and ingredients that are ‘as natural as possible’ in the mind of the consumer, and easy for them to understand and embrace. And, if you can, give the consumer permission to indulge. ✷
ABOVE: Healthy products like yoghurt are being used as a ‘permission to indulge’ snack.
LEFT: Halo Top managed to turn low sugar, high protein ice cream into a $300 million brand.
BELOW: Chief bars were developed by “unashamed health freaks” frustrated by a lack of snack foods with no fillers, sugars or preservatives. Their business has grown 800 per cent in two years (See our September 2019 issue for their story).
Julian Mellentin is the founder of food consultancy New Nutrition Business. He advises on key trends in foods, beverages, nutrition and
health, specialising in naturally healthy food and formulated functional foods. | January-February 2020 | Food&Drink business | 23

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