Woman in a grocery store reading nutrition labelsWoman in a grocery store reading nutrition labels

Mindful and affordable nutrition: Reformulate or innovate?

The food and beverage industry constantly navigates an ever-changing array of external factors. Messaging related to reducing fat, salt, and sugar in dietary and food choices remains a prominent spectre at the feast.

Dovetailing into this health focus is increasing demand for “clean label,” requiring recognisable and more natural-sounding ingredients, often with advanced functionality to address the health and wellbeing concerns of the day.

Our NPD experts have recently supported reformulating projects to accelerate speed-to-market and introduce cost and process efficiencies.

Areas of focus include:

  • Energy efficiency with the use of enzymes
  • Fat reduction with texturising solutions
  • Emulsifier replacement with enzymes, starches and plant proteins
  • Egg replacement with vegetable proteins and starches
  • Flavour enhancement Natural Stevia flavour (NSF) and NSF masking solutions
  • Sunflower oil replacement with antioxidant systems

Read our case studies

Responsible reformulation for food and beverages

Lessons should be learned from the past. The catalyst for the food industry to reduce fat, salt, and sugar is unequivocal recognition by health professionals that greater consumption of these ingredients in previous decades has contributed to the increased rates of certain diseases, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disorders

High food inflation in the 1980s led to the introduction of vast budget ranges of food products. These initiatives were driven almost entirely by pricing but may have contributed to the subsequent dietary-related health crises. Manufacturers must be mindful and help ensure that reformulation for cost efficiency does not potentially – and disproportionately – damage the products’ nutritional profiles.

A key strategy employed when reformulating is to retain the same front-of-pack traffic-light rating on the new products. For example, vegetarian and vegan food products are designed to offer meat and dairy equivalence. Partial replacement of expensive meat and dairy ingredients with plant-derived alternatives may lower costs whilst maintaining nutrition, albeit using novel ingredient systems.

Explore our plant-based solutions 

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Food innovation opportunities

When consumers face choices as fundamental as heating or eating, there has never been a greater need for the food and drink manufacturing industry to innovate, especially amid global supply chain challenges.

Innovation opportunities for food chemists and formulators include:

  • Formulating for much lower energy consumption
  • Tailor natural preservation systems around newly-formulated products to help ensure a maximized shelf-life with waste minimized. These measures help reduce costs and contribute to food sustainability. Cost-sensitive consumers will welcome products that can be bought in larger quantities and stored and retain the desired freshness.
  • Real opportunities lie in baked goods that don’t stale as quickly by extending their usage after the purchase. Whilst there are often packaging solutions that can help with this, ingredient-led solutions – such as enzymes – can help slow staling processes, allowing longer in-home use

Explore our Ingredients + Solutions for Healthy Nutrition 

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Are rising production/ transportation costs and supply challenges disrupting your business?

Ongoing supply and price inflation challenges impact short- and long-term initiatives of businesses across Europe. 

Whether you’re reformulating, innovating, or focusing on immediate manufacturing needs, consider how to maximise the value of your project:

  • Reformulate for cost efficiency without damaging the unique profile of the products, while retaining the same front-of-pack traffic-light rating on the new products
  • Explore alternatives to ingredients that face supply chain challenges
  • Adapt to the new environment by developing products that require less energy/ less preparation time


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Innovating at the intersection of science, technology and consumer trends, Univar Solutions partners with customers and suppliers to create high-performing products and sustainable formulations.

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