An overview of food ingredient trends


The health and wellness trends in food industry nowadays have not been easily cashable by manufacturers. Particularly in the year 2013-14 food regulatory issues were worldwide discussed as a continuous debate by food scientists, law experts, clinicians and industry representatives in conferences and food journals. The specialty food ingredients and additives, whether natural or nature friendly or synthetic, in general are now likely to be examined for the health and nutrition claim making status. However the natural trend is likely to persist in food trade because consumers increasingly prefer to buy a ‘preservative free’ or ‘natural’ labeled food article.

As far as the issue of dietary supplement is concerned, the scientific clinical trail results are not in favour of vitamin supplementation. The US government recently decided not to advise multivitamins as routine supplementation. Theoretically proteins and minerals, in general, seem to maintain health and nutrition claim making status because those are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food constituents while vitamins are known as medicine. But the debate on ‘dietary supplement : food or drug?’ is going on. For example in 14th December 2013 article “Skip the Supplements” authored by Offitt and Erush of Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and published in New York Times, it was stated that vitamins, amino acids, minerals, herbs and other botanical have pharmacological effects and therefore are drugs. As a rebuttal to this article, Val John Anderson of Mineral Resource International (MRI) stated that drug legally doesn’t have anything to do with safety and there are natural products approved as drugs.

Almost irrespective of ‘food versus drug’ debate, hotel and restaurant industry focuses on valve addition or cost control and quality improvement. Since 2010, the Indian restaurants have been demanding more indigenous spices and flavours than earlier as an infusion of European styles with South-East Asian types including India’s traditional food patterns. Restaurants are focusing on fresh, natural ingredients that nowadays are known as organic products. While dried beans (mungo, lentils, chickpeas), cardamom, chili, peppers, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garam masala, ginger, mustard seed, onion, garlic and turmeric are globally demanded Indian food ingredients, there is a much lengthy list of indigenous products, organic in nature, for use into Indian dishes and cuisine. The cost effective production of organic crops (without applying synthetic fertilizers and insecticides and in place of it using animal dung, compost manure and natural insecticides like neem leaf juice) is really a challenging task for Indian farmers due to vast deforestation and follow-up of intensive farming.

source: fnb news


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