Reformulating products to make them healthier helps companies meet unrecognised customer need and keep pace with new market trends to create valuable business opportunities, according to a new report.
Commissioned by Nestlé Professional and produced by Footprint, the Recipe for Change report is an actionable, non-technical industry guide. It outlines how foodservice can help tackle the health crisis by using product renovation, reformulation and innovation to make products healthier. And, with a recent survey finding that 56% of casual diners would be more willing to go to a restaurant that offers healthy menu options, ensuring products are healthier helps keep customers happy and makes good business sense.
Based on in-depth industry research – including interviews with over 60 industry insiders – the report identified 12 essential ‘ingredients’ to successful reformulation. These include:
- Think health across markets. Don’t be constrained by whether certain demographics or sectors are perceived to be interested in health. Pitch healthier products created for one market to others to increase their reach and commercial opportunity.
- Embrace innovation. Keep flexible to embrace innovation and innovators – those who do not are likely to stagnate.
- Think food, not nutrients. Focus on food and context, and avoid obsessing over individual nutrients – it can narrow focus too much.
- Keep ahead of your customers. Use reformulation to keep ahead of your customer by meeting unrecognised need, and to keep pace with industry trends
Impact on obesity
A recent McKinsey report identified product reformulation as one of four key highly effective ways to have a cost effective impact on obesity. With 63% of the adult UK population overweight or obese, and life-style related diseases becoming the biggest threat to human health, there is an increasing focus on foodservice’s role in tackling this health crisis by making food healthier.
Many parts of the industry have been working hard to reformulate, and some players have made impressive strides. This ranges from Nestlé committing to slashing the sugar content of its confectionary brands by 10% by 2018, to contract caterer Compass cutting saturated fat by 70% by switching to FLORA Buttery in over 400 recipes.
But, with a recent survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) revealing that only one out of 28 food categories – bread rolls - is on track to meet Public Health England’s (PHE) 2017 salt reduction targets, it is clear that the pockets of good practice are not yet the industry norm.
“The scale of the health crisis demands that the industry as a whole needs to go a lot further and act faster,” said Amy Fetzer, head of research and analysis for Footprint and the report’s author.
“Those who have embraced reformulation, renovation and innovation to make products healthier have been on a steep learning curve. By pulling all that learning together to discover what works and what doesn’t, this report gives industry the keys to successful product reformulation.”
Read the full report here.