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Getting reduction and reformulation right

3-5 December 2019 Paris, France

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Contents 1. What is driving the need for reduction and reformulation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. What are the main challenges facing manufacturers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3. Navigating European regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 4. Getting reduction and reformulation right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

4.1 The natural benefits of fermentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

4.2 Sweet alternatives to sugar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

4.3 Fibre as a method of sugar reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

4.4 Increasing plant protein content in products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4.5 The future of fat replacers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

5. Key takeaways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




Delivering on reformulation The food and drink industry is working hard to deliver products that meet consumer demand for healthier food choices. Products are being reformulated to optimise nutritional content while the sugar, fat and salt content of goods is consistently being reduced. At the same time, manufacturers know they must deliver products that maintain the taste that consumers have come to love and expect. This means using cuttingedge science and production processes, and staying abreast of the latest trends.

What is driving the need for reduction and reformulation? Growing consumer awareness about obesity and the importance of eating healthily is driving demand for reformulated products, explained Dr. Ewa Kania, a food and nutrition analyst in her presentation at the Health ingredients Europe Conference 2018. She noted that Europeans have a ‘live hard, work hard’ ethos; they want a healthy diet, but at same time they like to indulge. Underpinning all this is growing societal concern about the impact our diets are having on our health. Dr. Kania highlighted a recent WHO report that noted that one in three 11-year olds is either overweight or obese. According to her:

“In the UK alone, the cost of treating obesity and other related diseases was estimated to be £6.1bn in 2019.” Nonetheless, dietary habits are changing. Dr. Kania noted that 35% to 40% of European consumers claim to limit their sugar and saturated fat intake. She noted that:

“Consumers also want to limit carbohydrates and increase protein.” In France, a decline in average dietary salt intake of 0.4 g per person per day (160 mg sodium) in the adult population has been observed in parallel with reformulation and consumer awareness strategies, according to the Heart Foundation.1 The country’s targeted sugar levy has also led to reductions in the sugar content of products. According to Food Navigator, Sprite Original now has 70% less sugar.2 Furthermore, Western Europe currently accounts for 29% of total clean label ingredients market share, and this is dominated by France and Germany.3

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Governments are playing a role in shaping nutritional habits. Wholegrain unsalted nuts, pulses and wholegrains were added to France’s dietary guidance earlier this year, after a survey found that people were not eating the recommended amounts of lentils and pulses. The latest guidance recommends adults consume a small handful of unsalted nuts every day.4

Percentage of consuments, %

Do dietary habits change? 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 France

10 5




I am trying to limit my intake of refined sugar

I am trying to limit my intake of saturated fat

I am trying to limit my intake of bread, pasta, other carbohydrates

I am trying to incrtease my protien intake

Source: Euromonitor International, Lifestyles Survey (2017)

There is also a discernible consumer move towards plant-based ingredients. Raphael Moreau, a Senior Food Analyst at Euromonitor International spoke at the Food ingredients Europe Conference 2017 about how vegetarian options are becoming increasingly popular in Europe, especially within the Eurozone. According to him:

“It is clear that there is strong and steady growing interest in vegetarian options, and ‘flexitarianism,’ is probably having an even greater impact on the food industry.” Moreau discussed the growing meat substitutes market, which is especially strong in Germany and the UK. He noted that:

“Newer markets such as France and Italy are small but have more growth potential.”

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Meat substitutes are affordable; they have not increased in price over the past few years, while the cost of processed meat has gone up. Vegetarian population records are on steady rise in Europe: • Vegetarianism on the rise across Europe, including Eastern Europe • Stronger growth in the EuroZone, notably Germany and Italy

Vegetarian population 2011 - 2016 25,000

'000 people

20,000 15,000

2011-16 CAGR% EU: 5-7 EuroZone 5-7

10,000 5,000 ■Eurozone 0


2012 2013




■Other Europe

S ource: F uture meat alternatives beyond plant-based presentation, Euromonitor International, 2017

What are the main challenges facing manufacturers? During the Food ingredients Europe Conference 2017 NIZO expanded on the growing consumer demand for plant-based protein, pointing out that for manufacturers, reformulation is also about reducing the cost of the final product. Understanding the interactions of various ingredients is just one issue that food manufacturers need to take into account when reformulating products. They also have to consider quality and security of supply of new ingredients, labelling regulations and consumer acceptance. Fat for example is a multi-purpose ingredient, offering taste and texture, making it difficult to find a simple alternative to replace it. According to Dr. Clara Talens, a senior researcher at AZTI:

“What we have to do is to develop structures that mimic fat in the mouth. If the consumers, when eating a product, associate that is very similar to fat, they will choose this product.”5

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Rachel Gwinn, Product Development Scientist, Campden BRI, discussed some of the technical challenges of food innovation at the Food ingredients Europe Conference 2017, focusing in particular on sugar reduction. She noted that manufacturers are increasingly concerned about reducing the sugar content of products, in part due to government targets and sugar levies. The challenge, however, is that natural options are limited and that sugar remains the gold standard of sweeteners – and it is cheap compared with many sugar alternatives. In addition to these considerations she highlighted:

“Other ingredients have flavour profiles that may not be accepted by consumers in brands where the flavour profile of products is well established. Consumer perceptions of certain sweeteners are not great, and their applications are often limited by regulatory restrictions.” Leatherhead Food Research also explores various challenges to sugar reduction as sugar has many properties, not just sweetness. It can contribute to complex flavours, for example in chocolate, as well as textures and colour, and it acts as a preservative. If sugar is taken out, then manufacturers need to consider carefully what is put in to replace it. Removing sugar from biscuits for example has an impact on appearance, structure, crunchiness and size, not to mention flavour.

Examples of sugar replacement in biscuits



No sweetener

Standard sugar

Sugar free

Sugar free

(with sweetener

no sweetener


Source: Leatherhead Food Research

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Navigating European regulations Food manufacturers should be aware of legislation at both the EU and Member State level when reformulating products. While the 2014 Food Information for Consumers Regulation does not specify criteria for applying claims such as 'no additives', 'organic' or 'natural', it does aim to provide consumers with clearer information about the food and drink they purchase.6 Regulation No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims7 lays down the conditions for the use of nutrition and health claims on food packaging. Novel food regulation requirements cover ingredients not consumed within the EU to a significant degree before May 1997. Regulation (EC) 2015/2283 on Novel Foods8 came into force in January 2018, and centralises the authorisation procedure. Now, all novel food applications are directly submitted to the European Commission, whilst Member States are no longer involved in the approval process. Authorisation rules are stringent, and if conditions of use change or a new food process alters the composition of the ingredient, then novel food authorisation might have to be met. Nicoleta Pasecinic, Regulatory Affairs Associate, Pen & Tec said during her presentation at the Health ingredients Europe Conference 2018 that the Novel Foods regulation has had a positive impact. According to her:

“The time to market will be minimised with the new centralised procedure, and data protection is another positive thing. There has been an increase in applications.� For a perfect dossier, Pasecinic recommended following EFSA guidance, conducting thorough research and investing in quality data.

Novel food dossiers submitted in the last 5 years 33 X3 times increase



9 6






Source: Changes to the Novel Food Regulation, Nicoleta Pasecinic, Pen & Tec


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Getting reduction and reformulation right The natural benefits of fermentation At the Health Ingredients Europe Conference 2018, Herwig Bachmann, Group Leader of Fermentation at NIZO, discussed how fermentation can help manufacturers reduce and replace salt and sugar content. A clear benefit of using fermented plant-based proteins he said was that manufacturers can achieve clean labels while increasing the nutritional value of their products; certain strains can contain vitamins for example. An additional benefit is that the fermentation process is perceived by consumers as being natural. He explained:

“We know what flavour attributes comes with specific compounds. We are able to sequence bacterial strains that have different metabolic capacities, and we know exactly which enzymatic conversions they carry out. This enables us to know which strains to work with.” Bachmann discussed how fermentation can help manufacturers reduce the fat content of yoghurt. Replacing fat with fermented culture strains that produce exopolysaccharides can help to create a thicker, creamier yogurt. In sugar reduction researchers are investigating strains that can increase sweetness by removing lactose and leaving only glucose, though Bachmann pointed out that the amount of sugar reduction achieved is limited. Fermentation of plant-based proteins can also be used to mask off-flavours in place of adding sugar. A number of innovative companies are fermenting engineered yeast to make nature-identical ingredients. The process works by modifying yeast to have enzymes that create biochemical pathways toward desired ingredients. The engineered yeast is fed glucose and nutrients, which are then metabolised into a precise target compound. Although the yeast is genetically engineered, the resulting compound is not, as the yeast is completely removed and doesn’t end up in the finished ingredient. Animal-free milk from Perfect Day for example is made by fermenting yeast to produce milk proteins, which are then mixed with plant-based fats and nutrients to make lactose-free milk. Evolva’s fermentationderived stevia allows it to produce different, lower cost, and perhaps better-tasting sweet components in quantities that are not currently economically viable because of their lower concentration in the stevia leaf. The company has gained US and EU patents for its stevia, which Cargill has branded as EverSweet, introduced in the United States in 2018.9

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Sweet alternatives to sugar Rachel Gwinn, Campden BRI, also discussed natural ways of reducing sugar content, and identified a number of alternatives that are gaining popularity based on consumer publications such as blogs and online recipes. Extracts of the lucuma, a South American fruit, can be turned into a cream-coloured powder and are being suggested for use as a natural sugar replacer. The ingredient contains fibre, zinc and potassium, providing potential to boost the nutritional profile of a product. She advised that based on online searches, consumers appear to associate lucuma with coconut, creaminess, sweetness, protein and fibre. Lucuma fruit

The root of the yacon, a South American plant, can be turned into a syrup and added to a range of products. The syrup is reported to have similar characteristics to honey. She advised that:

“There is history of use yacon in the EU so this does not have to be registered as a novel food.� Another popular natural source is the Asian monk fruit, whose extract is reportedly 300 times sweeter than sugar. The fruit extract has been used in China as a low-calorie sweetener and in traditional Chinese medicine. However, sweeteners from monk fruit are still not approved in some major markets, including Europe and Japan.

Yacon root


Fibre as a method of sugar reduction Fibre can play an essential role in reducing sugar in foods and beverages, although the food and beverage industry is using fibre more for its sugar replacement capability than its enrichment properties.10 France-based Roquette is one ingredients company that has developed a partial sugar substitution with its Nutriose soluble fibre. Obtained from wheat or maize, the ingredient can be used in baked goods since it is soluble and has low viscosity. The richness of the fibre content combined with low levels of simple sugars means that manufacturers can reduce the amount of sugar they use. This makes it possible to achieve a full reduction of up to 30% of sugars while still creating a biscuit with an attractive taste, Roquette claims.11

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Better Juice – the winner of the Most Innovative Technology or Service Supporting F&B category of the Startup Innovation Challenge 2018 – has developed a new technology to reduce sugar in natural fruit juice. The process transforms sugars into dietary fibres and other nutrients without altering existing nutritional benefits. Eran Blachinsky, CEO of Better Juice explains:

“The bio-conversion treats only the sugar in the juice. The enzymatic activity is very specific. As a result, the sweetness is reduced but other characteristics like taste, flavours and smell are not changed.”12

Increasing plant protein content in products The European market for protein form plant-based products is forecast to grow by 7.1% between 2018 and 2023.13 Plant protein has moved beyond its traditional core sports nutrition market, because whole foods combined with added proteins are perceived as delivering both nutrition and naturalness. A growing number of manufacturers are therefore reformulating products to boost their protein content. NIZO examined this trend in protein bars, noting that products high in protein often contain little fat and little moisture. This can make them hard and brittle, and unappealing to consumers. Understanding the properties of the ingredients you are using will enable you to make bars with optimal texture.

The future of fat replacers The European fat replacers market is expected to register a market value of USD 682.12 million by 2023.14 To take advantage of this growing market, Dr. Clara Talens suggested that ingredients companies needed to focus more on understanding the relationship between structure and composition of fat substitutes. She explained that:

“The main issue is not going to be the fat substitute itself, but the process to obtain these fat substitutes, because right now they are very expensive.”15 Emulsions consisting of water-soluble ingredients are also appearing on the market. A recent European project called SOMATAI16 applied protein-polysaccharide combinations to create the same texture as oilcontaining emulsions. According to project partner NIZO:

“Finding the right food-grade emulsifiers will enable their application in foods.”17

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Key takeaways • Growing consumer awareness about obesity and the importance of eating healthily is driving demand for reformulated products • Governments are also shaping nutritional habits through dietary guidelines, reduction targets and sugar levies • To have market success, manufacturers need to understand the impact of reduction and reformulation on final product quality • Food manufacturers should be aware of legislation at both the EU and Member State level when reformulating products • Using fermented plant-based proteins can help manufacturers achieve clean labels and increase the nutritional value of their products • Natural extracts can be used to reduce and/or replace sugar across a range of products • Fibre can also play a role in reducing sugar in foods and beverages • Plant proteins will continue to play a key role in future product launches • Ingredients firms should focus on developing cost-effective processing technologies to take full advantage of market opportunities

The information provided here was compiled with due care and up to date to the best of our knowledge on publication.

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Sources 1








5 6

https://bites.figlobal.com/fat-reduction-challenges-clara-talens/ http://emea.ingredion.com/content/dam/ingredion/pdf-downloads/emea/87%20-%20The%20Clean%20 Label%20Guide%20to%20Europe%20from%20Ingredion.pdf








https://www.nutritioninsight.com/news/tate-lyle-partners-with-apc-microbiome-ireland-on-dietary-fiberresearch-collaboration.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=14+Mar+ %7C+Tate+++Lyle+partners+with+APC+Microbiome+Ireland+on+dietary+fiber+research+-+Biosearch+Life +launches+%E2%82%AC2+3m+microbiota+project+-+Green+tea+could+help+cut+obesity+-+Arjuna+s+In dian+gooseberry+extract+for+heart+health&utm_campaign=2019-03-14+NI+Daily















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Getting reduction and reformulation right  

Growing consumer awareness about obesity and the importance of eating healthily is driving demand for reformulated products. This report exp...

Getting reduction and reformulation right  

Growing consumer awareness about obesity and the importance of eating healthily is driving demand for reformulated products. This report exp...