Low FODMAP diets, increasingly spicy foods and super healthy ‘convenience’ ingredients are set for a surge in popularity in 2015 according to EHL Ingredients, a leading importer, blender and packer of food ingredients from around the world.
EHL predicts that manufacturers will look to cater to developing consumer tastes for hotter and spicier ingredients, as well as to health conscious consumers following free-from diets and looking for a diverse range of healthy ingredients to include in adventurous home cooking.
Tasneem Backhouse, sales director at EHL Ingredients, offers the following insights and predictions on the food ingredient sector for 2015.
Low FODMAP foods
A FODMAP is a dietary sugar that is poorly absorbed by the body and a low FODMAP diet involves restricting foods containing fermentable oligo-saccharides, di-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP).
Backhouse says: “FODMAP is fast becoming a new buzzword on the health and nutrition scene and the low FODMAP diet is aimed specifically at IBS sufferers, as it can help prevent the symptoms. The diet will also appeal to those who follow allergen-free diets and consumers looking to follow the next big food trend.
“We are seeing increases in sales of ingredients that can be used in gluten- and allergen-free foods, and we predict that this demand will grow in 2015 as low FODMAP diets increase in popularity. Foods suitable for those following this diet include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds and grains, and we are already seeing an increase in demand for foods we consider to be low FODMAP friendly. For example, we’ve seen demand for almonds and walnuts increase by 20 per cent over the past year, while demand for coconut has increased for 15 per cent.
“As consumers become more aware of FODMAPs, food manufacturers should look to introduce labeling which draws attention to foods suitable for those following this diet. We predict that bakery, snacks and breakfast foods are going to be among the first areas of growth for FODMAP friendly foods.”
EHL predicts that demand for increasingly spicy ingredients is set to grow in 2015, as market reports suggest that UK consumer tastes are rapidly changing to prefer spicy foods.
“32 per cent of British consumers who eat ethnic food now say they enjoy spicier foods more than they have done in previous years, and we have already witnessed an increase in demand from food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers looking to stock spicy ingredients and hotter chillies in line with developing consumer tastes.
“At EHL, we have witnessed a 40 per cent surge in enquiries for bhut jolokia (ghost chilli), scotch bonnet and habanero chillies, all particularly spicy varieties of chilli that are often used in dishes from South America, the Middle East, India and the Caribbean.”
“The growing popularity of spicy food ingredients can also be attributed to the positive media coverage it has received in 2014, highlighting the health benefits of capsaicin, a compound found in chilli peppers that gives them their heat. This compound has been proven to reduce the risk of bowel cancer, the third most common type of cancer in the UK.
“Consumers are experiencing and enjoying cuisines from around the world more and more, and it’s important for manufacturers to recognise this trend and develop dishes with an extra hot option.
“At the end of 2014, we introduced a new range of 20 herb and spice blends, rubs, marinades, coatings and seasonings to tap into the growing popularity of world cuisines, particularly from the Tex Mex, Asian, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and African regions. These blends are already performing well with Berber spice, Mexican adobo, Sharma kebab mix, Creole, West Indian jerk and Za’tar the most popular so far.”
Convenience for the adventurous home cook
“Home cooking and entertaining is becoming increasingly popular, and consumers are looking to create more impressive and complex recipes while remaining health conscious.
“The huge popularity of TV cookery programmes has boosted the status of home cooking, and as a result consumers are constantly looking to try something different and unique, seeking to incorporate the next big ‘superfood’ into their meals.
“Food manufacturers and retailers must remain aware of this developing trend to ensure they are meeting demand and making these niche products more readily available, increasing convenience for the consumer.
“Chia seeds and Goji berries are two such foods that have received a great deal of positive media attention. Goji berries have been scientifically proven to protect the liver and can be used in a wide variety of baked goods including breads, cakes, muffins and biscuits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre and can be added to a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes to increase the nutritional value. Both ingredients can be easily incorporated into dishes to enhance their complexity, sophistication, health credentials and overall appeal.
“At EHL, we have seen an in increase in demand for these ingredients and we expect this to increase further into 2015 as healthy eating is high on consumers’ agenda and is heavily promoted in the media.”
EHL’s ingredients are available via wholesalers, distributor and cash and carries across the UK. Its products are available in quantities from 1 to 25kgs and in poly pots of 250 and 500g.
Contact EHL Ingredients for details of your nearest supplier.
 The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014