Thought for Food Blog

Top Tips on Developing Healthier Products

Post from guest blogger, Jenny Arthur BA (Hons) MSc RNutr, Nutrition and Marketing Consultant

I started off writing this blog about healthier ingredients, which I had promised in my last blog. However, I have since decided I needed to offer some of my experience of developing healthier products, before I get onto ingredients. So the healthier ingredients blog is coming next… honestly!

Supermarket | IFIS Publishing

One of the key trends for 2014 is making healthy eating more main stream, consumers want simple, easy ways to improve their diets. Healthy eating is moving away from niche product ranges to being at the heart of new product development. With 60% of the population now overweight or obese, demand for healthier products and ingredients has never been so great.

The Institute of Grocery Distribution’s Shopper Vista research showed that health is one of the top 5 drivers for buying a product. The Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal Food Network, launched in March 2011 has developed a number of pledges for businesses to sign up to, to improve the nutritional profile of products. This is currently voluntary, but may not remain that way.

Where to start? – don’t try to do everything at once, for example reducing the salt, fat and sugar content, as this will really upset your customers and send them elsewhere!

Have a sneaky peak at what your competitors are doing – make sure you know what your competitors are doing to minimise the impact of changes you are thinking of making on your customers. You may find a competitive advantage you can highlight.

What is the major problem with your product, is it salt, fat, saturated fat or sugar? Set short, medium and long term goals for reducing levels of nutrients. Decide what the product’s major problem is and tackle that first. Always evaluate based on customer purchasing or customer research.

Make small changes to products over time, don’t rush to reformulate, customers palates are highly susceptible to major changes and they can get very grumpy!

Covert communication – Customers like products to taste the same and are a bit sceptical when they see ‘new improved flavour’! Most of the time it is better to tell customers after the event that you have changed the product, as proof is in the purchase! It is important to provide information based on the EU’s Food Information to Consumers Regulation and the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation giving guidance on how information on pack should be laid out and criteria that need to be met in order to make a nutrition or health claim.

More on healthier ingredients to follow…

Visit Jenny Arthur's website for information on nutrition and market trends, nutrition and health strategy, product and recipe development, and consumer communications.

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