As healthy eating is an increasing concern, the public is showing more interest in the production of the food with which they nourish their bodies.
Customers want to know what ingredients go into their foods and expect to see this clearly shown on the label. Consumers are looking for foods with fewer added ingredients such as preservatives and artificial colours and sweeteners, and although a small minority may not consider an increase in cost, the majority of shoppers are looking for these improvements at a minimal price increase.
They are also interested in ‘free from’ foods such as those free from nitrates, artificial colours, MSG or gluten. Local ingredients of a more wholesome nature are also attractive, such as sea salt in place of iodized salt. Customers are further interested in whether the food they purchase originated from genetically modified organisms (GMO), and it is generally understood that the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ reflect quality.
Transparency Encourages Trust
It is important for food manufacturers to provide the transparency that consumers are demanding as this helps to build consumer trust which drives repeat purchases and in turn business success. Customers see food processors as responsible for conveying information in a transparent way. Such details lead to confidence that they have made an informed decision on their purchase.
Cutting Costs, Not Quality
There is a reason why additives are placed in foods. Sometimes it is to increase palatability (eg. salt and sugar), but customers who are educated to select healthy options will understand the removal of such ingredients. Other additives may be introduced to prolong shelf life and the removal of these can be more problematic and expensive to the food processors. Shelf life can be extended by the use of rigorously clean manufacturing equipment. For some small companies the cost of new machinery is prohibitively expensive, and alternatives such as used food machinery through Clarke Fussells can be the solution. Buying used food machinery can be an effective way of keeping costs down without reducing the quality of your end product.
Increased transparency is being demanded in the food industry, and food processors will need to look at the various available means of cutting costs so as not to unduly increase the price of products to their end consumers.