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Eating habits have changed for modern consumers.

Eating habits changed, skipping traditional meals has become a common eating habit of consumers worldwide. Already having a full plate with work, household, kids, fitness and other activities, many tend to invest less time in meal moments and the prepping that comes with it. Almost 1 in 2 consumers globally say they sometimes replace meals with a quick bite. This presents an opportunity for products that act as a hybrid solution between meals. From breakfast to the late evening, consumers are looking for easy ways to satisfy their appetite in a healthful way, as they go through a hectic day. With 6 in 10 European consumers now saying they take active steps to make their nutrition healthier, the need is high for snacks and substitute meals with good ingredients and nutritional value. BENEO can help upgrade products for each moment of the day with quality ingredients that offer great nutritional value.

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Consumers look for hybrid products between meals.

The number one reason for snacking, not surprisingly, is hunger. People want a quick and easy way to satisfy their hunger; either in between or instead of meals. This is where products as cereal bars and cookies with a healthier image are often used. Most consumers are aware of more healthful solutions and they let the ingredient list influence their snacking choices.

Apart from hunger, people use food to relax and unwind. Consumers have busy days, being pulled between obligations for professional and private lives. A lot of people tend to grab a bite as a way to relief stress and give themselves a well-deserved break. Carbs equal comfort, that is one of the big reasons consumers want to keep eating them. Half of European consumers say they have bought more comfort food than ever before. In doing this, they are very aware of the more healthy way of doing so. Even comfort food cravers wish they had healthier options in indulgent food and drinks.

Hunger

1. Hunger

Relax and unwind

2. Relax and unwind

Energy

3. Energy

Changes in lifestyle

4. Change of lifestyle

A third important reason of snacking: energy! Especially in the morning, afternoon and also before certain activities. Consumers say they look for products that give a boost to their energy levels. In energy terms, people in general benefit most from long-lasting energy without sugar highs and lows.

The changes in lifestyle since Covid have also changed eating habits for consumers around the globe. Almost half of consumers (46%) claim their snack intake has increased in this “new normal” when they compare to the previous years. Why? Mood food! Consumers seek comfort food in challenging times and are more tempted to grab food as comfort. These changed eating patterns are here to stay, as most consumers say they plan to continue eating smaller meals as opposed to the traditional meals, even after the pandemic ends.

Break or breakfast.

34% of consumers worldwide do not eat a proper breakfast every day

34% of consumers worldwide do not eat a proper breakfast every day

The morning is the time when people are looking for energy supply to start their day off right. This seems contradictory to people skipping breakfast more and more. In this case they grab a snack-on-the go as they get ready for their day, or they turn to a quick fix during work. People expect this substitute breakfast to offer nutritional value, as a healthy start sets the tone for the rest of the day. And it does not stop in the morning.

A lot of modern consumers simply do not take the time for a longer break during their busy day. The end result; snacking becomes a way of life. And when snacks replace meals, nutrition matters and healthful ingredients are key.

Grazing for fulfilment and energy.

50% of consumers globally believe eating several healthy snacks is as good as eating three meals

50% of consumers globally believe eating several healthy snacks is as good as eating three meals

When chosen carefully, small bites throughout the day can perfectly replace nutritional meals. Consumers look for products to fill themselves up, provide energy and add healthy nutritional components. Particularly in the morning to midday, people are looking for foods to give them a boost in energy. Half of Europeans tend to buy products offering a gentle energy boost, without the negative side effect of rising sugar levels.

Products with claims like “sugar reduced” or “slow release energy” make them more willing to buy that particular item. The low-glycaemic ingredients: Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose, Isomalt and Palatinose™ are your number one choices to make this possible.

Lunch, not a standard eating habit.

54% of UK adults in fulltime work take less than 30 minutes for their lunch

54% of UK adults in fulltime work take less than 30 minutes for their lunch

Whether it’s a lunchbox for school, work or eating at home, consumers worldwide look for easy but healthy lunch options. Breaks are often too short to cook entire meals so they search for quick solutions that provide health benefits. Lunchboxes are now prepared with food choices that allow for small bites throughout the day.

BENEO’s functional ingredients open doors to new products that respond to consumers’ new eating habits. Why not offer an instant soup with slow-released carbohydrates for that moment when people look for a savoury pick-me-up?

Guilt-free afternoon munching, is it possible?

74% of consumers in the Middle East and Africa believe health matters more than indulgence

74% of consumers in the Middle East and Africa believe health matters more than indulgence

Where people used to have a tradition of three meals a day, and a snack was seen as a treat, in new eating habits consumers are planning it in as a nutritious energy source. But eating in between meals is often still seen as an indulgence. Hunger arises, and consumers grab a quick bite to fulfil their needs easily. This might leave them with a guilty feeling afterwards. This clears the path for the food industry to offer a wide variety of healthier options. Indulgent afternoon treats (for on-the-go or at home) with functional ingredients!

One BENEO star ingredient in this case is Palatinose™ . Offering carbohydrate energy in a more balanced way, whilst stretching the power curve for the consumer, making it a must-have energy source. Other star ingredients are our prebiotic fibres from chicory root, which offer superb solutions in the healthier indulgent segment: go for less fat or sugar with Orafti® Inulin or Oligofructose.

Energy in a bottle.

Energy drinks often do not have the best of reputations, about 1 in 3 consumers avoid energy drinks because of the sugar rush, and 69% of consumers in Europe believe energy drinks contain too much sugar and artificial ingredients. But in an energy-seeking market, a lot of healthy solutions are on the rise. Palatinose™, a naturally sourced low-glycaemic carbohydrate, can help make these sports drinks more effective. It offers the same amount of energy as sucrose does, but travels through the body more slowly, releasing its carbohydrate energy.

The last mouth-full of the day.

45% of Europeans have cooked more since the pandemic outbreak

45% of Europeans have cooked more since the pandemic outbreak

Since going out for dinner is not on the plate for most consumers at the moment, this has led to more people upgrading their cooking skills at home.  Recipes replacing sugar with alternatives speak to consumers interest, 55% of home bakers in the UK say such swap recipes are appealing to them. BENEO’s portfolio of (clean label) rice starches can help fine-tune recipes for gluten-free baked goods with great texture. Give consumers an easy way to step up their game in the kitchen with ingredients that work.

But eating doesn’t stop at dinner, as people find themselves craving a last indulgence at the end of the day. Evening snacks can vary from yoghurt with fruit to luscious chocolate cookies. By adding functional fibres to indulgent products, these snacks can improve consumers’ digestive health and help with weight management.

A sweet moment in the day.

A great concern for consumers when grabbing a sweet nibble, is sugar intake. Replacing sugar, whilst making products a bit more healthy, without losing that sweet and cherished taste. It is very feasible with Isomalt. This sugar replacer offers the sweetness without the sugar. And with less sweet products, consumers’ sweet tooth gets a reboot, as they will crave less extreme sweetness as a result. This opens doors for sugar and chocolate confectionery. There is no need to sugar-coat ingredient lists anymore.

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