Food Product Development – Examining Health Impact
For centuries, people have enhanced the taste and longevity of various foods by adding flavorings and preservatives. In recent years, some of these added ingredients have attracted increased attention from consumers. People want to know what ingredients are used in the foods they eat, and how these ingredients may impact their health.
These questions have sparked research into healthy ingredients, which have also linked specific food ingredients to negative health effects. Excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and fat can increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. The American Institute for Cancer Research has tied cancer risk with the consumption of ultra-processed foods. Because of the emerging knowledge surrounding food ingredients, consumers are more conscious of the foods that make up their diet. According to a 2021 study conducted by the International Food Information Council, “nearly 2 in 3 people say that ingredients have at least a moderate influence on their food and beverage purchase.”
With the increase of ingredient-conscious consumers and emerging science related to food ingredients, manufacturers are looking for ways to be more transparent about added ingredients in the foods they sell. Manufacturers are met with the challenge of developing food products that support health but do not sacrifice flavor and are looking to ingredients with naturally occurring health benefits to meet consumer interests.
RTI Innovation Advisors Providing Ingredient Assessments
RTI Innovation Advisors are experts in providing insights for the food industry through scientific research and assessments. Our team has over 15 years of experience conducting projects in the constantly changing consumer goods and food sector. We balance the needs of our clients with solutions backed by science. When clients approach our team for food product development solutions, we consider the complex background of food ingredients, science, and consumers’ expectations.
Studying Immune-Healthy Ingredients from Plant-Based and Dairy Foods
Plant-based ingredients, good sources of both antioxidants and fiber, are often tied to health benefits when used in foods and beverages. However, alterations in product composition through the addition of other ingredients or through processing methods such as fermentation may lend to negative health side effects that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases over time. We help our clients understand when plant-based ingredients may provide a health benefit, and when these same ingredients should be avoided in food product development formulations.
In one example project, our team worked to explore the benefits of adding fermented fruits into non-alcoholic beverages. Drinking beverages containing fermented fruits could potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Based on our extensive research of scientific journals, consumer-facing publications, technical and scholarly journals, industry publications, and more, we were able to identify health-promoting compounds derived from fruits. Our findings helped our client make important formulation decisions and understand how to make health claims or substantiate new health claims in the future so their products would meet health-conscious consumer interests.
Uncovering Health Benefits of ‘Less Healthy’ Foods in Food Product Development
Innovation Advisors also researches the health benefits of foods that are not always considered healthy. Recently, plant-based alternatives to dairy products have become popular among health-conscious consumers. While plant-based foods are proven to be beneficial, meat and dairy products still offer advantages of their own. We linked compounds native to dairy products to benefits like calmness, energy levels, and digestive health based on documented scientific results. These findings proved beneficial for new product development within the dairy industry and allowed our clients to accurately market the health of their dairy products.