Let’s talk trends. Is your product able to use current health food trends to expand its market share? Or perhaps you are looking to develop a product that will take advantage of current consumer desires?
In this instalment, we look at preservation as an ongoing food product trend.
Did you know…the global food preservatives market is forecast to grow to USD 4.0 billion by 2026? This is not just growth in synthetics but more natural preservatives and packaging alternatives that extend shelf life while preserving flavour, colour and texture (1).
This growth has been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption to supply chains and a change in consumer demand for more natural alternatives that consumers identify as better for the body and the environment (1).
What are some of the natural alternatives?
Probiotics and Prebiotics
You only need to look at the supermarket shelves to see that there has been an explosion in products containing probiotics and prebiotics (probiotics: live micro-organisms and prebiotics: the preferred ‘food’ of good gut bacteria) (2). Not only can prebiotics and probiotics be good for ‘gut health’ they also contribute to food preservation – a double benefit (3)!
Think pickled and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and miso which are high in prebiotic fibre, vitamins and minerals and use probiotic fermentation to impart flavour, texture and of course, preservation. These products have the added benefit of having a longer shelf life due to their fermented nature (when optimal fermentation is achieved) but also their salt content.
Did you know that rosemary and oregano have preservation power? Not only are they flavourful, but it also turns out they are quite effective at preventing rancidity as well! Honey and sage are also useful ingredients that reduce rancidity along with many other botanicals (3, 4).
For those in the Mediterranean, this is knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation but now the global scientific and commercial values of these botanical extracts are being realised.
Edible films and coatings
Food packaging is a major source of waste. In particular, soft plastic, used to protect and preserve a range of perishable items because it is cost-effective, is an environmental concern due to the lack of scaled-up recycling options available and very, very, slow degradation (5).
Edible films, made of biopolymers (such as starch and alginates, proteins and some fats (lipids)) can be used to wrap food while coatings are directly applied to foods to preserve them. While there may be some compromises on tensile strength of biofilms and mechanical ‘stick’ of coatings, most have comparable performance when looking at permeability and acting as effective antioxidants (5).
The main issues with edible films and coatings are cost, availability and regulatory approval. Many food waste products are now being trialled for their suitability for this purpose which would reduce costs and their contribution to waste streams. Banana peels, invasive prickly pears and prawn waste are all potential Australian sources for these new films and coatings (5).
These are only a selection of the new food preservation technologies out there! Ultrasound, high pressure processing, infrared, cold plasma treatment and UV along with many others, can also be effective and each has its advantages and disadvantages (e.g. effects on colour, taste and texture) (3).
What’s preservation got to do with labelling?
There is quite a lot we can learn from the preservation techniques used by past generations and consumer demand for products that are ‘good for you and good for the environment’ are continuing trends.
Highlighting the benefits of the natural preservation methods used for your products on labelling and advertising may attract consumer attention. This might be, for example, the health benefits the preservation adds to the product or the environmental credentials that boosts your product’s image in the eyes of target consumers.
Contact Michelle at Food Envy Labelling
If you need any specific guidance on Australian food labelling requirements or claims your product could make, please feel free to contact me. I am here to help.
- Markets and Markets Research Private Ltd. Food Preservatives Market by Type (Natural, Synthetic), Application (Meat & Poultry & Seafood, Bakery, Confectionery, Snacks, Dairy & Frozen Products, Beverages, Fats & Oils), Functions, and by Region – Global Trends and Forecast to 2026. 2021 [updated 2021 Sep; cited 2022 Feb 18]. Available at: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/food-preservatives-market-420.html.
- Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G. et al. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 11, 506–514 (2014); [cited 2022 Feb 18]. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2014.66.
- Marc, R. A.. Introductory Chapter: A Global Presentation on Trends in Food Processing. In: Marc, R. A., Díaz, A. V. , Izquierdo, G. D. P. , editors. Food Processing [Internet]. London: IntechOpen; 2020 [cited 2022 Feb 18]. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/71728.
- Veenstra JP, Johnson JJ. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) extract for food preservation and improvement in gastrointestinal health. Int J Nutr. 2019;3(4):43-52; [cited 2022 Feb 18]. doi: 10.14302/issn.2379-7835.ijn-19-2703. Epub 2019 Apr 9. PMID: 31080888; PMCID: PMC6508890.
- Díaz-Montes E, Castro-Muñoz R. Edible Films and Coatings as Food-Quality Preservers: An Overview. Foods. 2021 Jan 26;10(2):249. doi: 10.3390/foods10020249. PMID: 33530469; PMCID: PMC7912451.