Ultra-Processed Foods, Sustainable Packaging, and Fermentation

Food & Drink 2024: Learnings from the London NPD conferenceFood & Drink Conference 2024

Recently, Richard Heath and Gemma Mitchell attended the Food & Drink, Trends & Innovations NPD conference in London. They had an enriching and informative experience, enjoying insightful presentations and networking with potential clients in the Food & Drink industry.

Here are their top three takeaways from the event:

1. Hyper-processed vs health

Ultra Processed Foods (UPF) emerged as a hot topic, sparking heated debates. Key questions included the precise definition of UPF, whether all UPFs are inherently bad, and if plant-based UPFs are healthier alternatives to meat-based products.

The book “Ultra Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Stuff That Isn’t Food…and Why Can’t We Stop?” by Chris van Tulleken was highlighted as a significant contributor to this ongoing discussion. It’s worth a read if you are interested in the topic (I will be buying it for sure!).

2. Balancing sustainability with commerciality

This is a sticking point. Many clients are grappling with the challenge of making packaging more sustainable without sacrificing product quality or shelf life.

Abel & Cole was showcased as a leader in this area, with their innovative re-usable plastic milk cartons that can be cleaned and re-filled up to 40 times. Their model of collecting and refilling cartons could potentially be adopted by supermarkets in the future. This successful initiative showcases their commitment to go the extra mile to help consumers re-use product packaging. You can read more about it here.

3. Fermentation is on the rise

Fermentation is gaining popularity, particularly in non/low-alcohol drinks and seafood. This method is celebrated for retaining flavour, being low in sugar and calories, plant-based, and offering gut health and other functional benefits, making it a healthy alternative to alcoholic beverages.

Navigating a Hyper-Optimised Industry

The industry is so hard to navigate, and it’s also hyper-optimised. Here at Blue Yonder Research, we will always focus on what we can do best to help…

  • Revealing what people actually need and want in detail

  • Creating innovative tools to help new brands convince retail there is room for one more

  • Providing first-class facilities and agile methods to test fast and get to market

Thank you to everyone we met and listened to at the event; we gained valuable insights and learned so much.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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