Eco-responsibility, health and enjoyment the top trends as SIAL Paris returns

400,000 food products. 250,000 square metres. 265,000 attendees. 7,000 exhibitors from 119 countries. SIAL Paris made a triumphant return last month after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, and representatives from Australia’s macadamia industry were among the action as they promoted our product to international food manufacturers.

Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Jacqui Price was on the ground at the world’s largest food innovation exhibition and said there was a buzz in the air with many people connecting for the first time since Covid.

“It was exciting to have the opportunity to meet face to face, not only with the exhibitors but the 265,000 other people who travelled to attend the show – 80% of which came from outside of France – and it was inspiring to see the extent of innovative thinking taking place,” says Jacqui.

Health for people and planet

After four days immersed in all SIAL had to offer, Jacqui says sustainable products and practices emerged as an overarching theme of the 2022 exhibition.

“Products that deliver better health for the planet as well as people were very much the focus,” says Jacqui. “There was enormous interest in eco-responsibility and products that support eco-friendly behaviours, like addressing food waste, up-cycling and recycling. There is a real commitment in the manufacturing sector to embracing the challenge of circularity, particularly among newer brands.”

French start-up Circul-Egg showcased its range of dietary supplement ingredients made by grinding eggshells and eggshell membranes into powdered form. The company describes its mission as ‘designing new bio-sourced ingredients by giving industrial biowaste a second life,’ while Italian brand Packtin exhibited its circular flour range. The 100% vegetable flours are made from the peel of fruit and vegetables, produced via an innovative and circular cold-drying process.

Plant-based offerings were prolific, with exhibitors including Heura, a Spanish producer of Mediterranean inspired plant-based meat, Finnish brand Meeat with its ‘plant-based food created by meat-eaters for meat-eaters but without the meat,” and French company Kokiriki with a range of plant-based alternatives to beef, chicken, fish and cold cuts.

Health continued to feature heavily, with a particular focus on ingredients that add functional health benefits, such as Humble+ sparkling water enriched with marine collagen.

Rising to future challenges and changing consumer behaviour

General director SIAL, Nicolas Trentesaux, says agriculture and the agri-food industry both represent sectors of the future. “However, major changes are afoot in these growth industries and immense challenges lie ahead,” he says. “Achieving food security demands innovation, and this innovation must take the new paradigms into account – producing more while polluting less, exploring new supply sources, and moving towards greater transparency.”

And it appears consumers are in lockstep with these sentiments. According to the SIAL Insights 2022 Whitepaper, almost 1 in 3 people radically changed their behaviour with regards to eco responsibility over the past two years and 63% of people view their food choices as a ‘civic act that equates to choosing the world in which we wish to live.’ 67% of consumers have changed their behaviour towards a healthier diet and 48% are prioritising local food.

But if you think consumers will trade health or eco responsibility for taste and enjoyment, think again. Enjoyment is still the main innovation trend within the global food industry, accounting for more than 47% of all innovations, and enjoyment drives food purchasing decisions for 71% of people globally. People love to eat, and they’re seeking food that delivers the trifecta of enjoyment, health and ethical production. Recent economic pressures are coming into play as well, meaning successful brands must strike the right balance between quality and price to ensure consumers feel they’re receiving value for money.

The Whitepaper confirmed the shift away from meat consumption is continuing, with animal welfare and household budget concerns driving this trend. Almost a quarter of consumers have cut back their animal protein consumption or begun to adopt a flexitarian diet.

Australian grown macadamias make their mark

The Australian macadamia industry was proudly on show during the exhibition with several of our suppliers taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with a global trade audience face-to-face.

Claudia Lordao, Marquis Group Marketing Manager said SIAL 2022 was a positive experience for their business.

“It was an excellent opportunity to learn from customers and to educate them about macadamias, including that our delicious and healthy nuts are originally from Australia. I had potential customers who came to the Australian Pavilion looking for almonds, but after our presentation, they left interested in trying macadamias in their local markets,” she shares.

Steve Dubber from Macadamias Direct said macadamias were met with interest. “For us SIAL was a valuable exploratory project to understand potential for new product development with macadamias and key requirements for expanding use as an ingredient.”  

Andrew Waring, Manager Strategic Sourcing & Marketing at MWT Foods said he felt SIAL 2022 attracted astute buyers who are invested in the edible nut space. “We fielded a wide variety of questions about macadamias, from those unfamiliar with macadamias through to the most knowledgeable buyers. Those less familiar particularly loved the Australian story, the providence and holistic feel Australia presents versus other origins,” he says.

There was an abundance of new products featuring nuts at this year’s exhibition, particularly in the alt-dairy space, including cashew-based cheese and yoghurt alternatives, vegan mozzarella made from almonds and oats, and plant-based feta made from upcycled almonds.

Jacqui Price says examples of innovation with macadamias included Insta Bar Coconut Date Macadamia and ButtaNut Pecan Macadamia Butter. However the relative lack of macadamia inspired products highlights the untapped potential that still exists.

“It was so exciting to see the trends that emerged from SIAL because macadamias are such a great fit, particularly when it comes to health and enjoyment,” she says. “There are so many opportunities to use macadamias as a highly appealing ingredient that create a point of difference in a product. They’re well suited to plant-based milks and ice cream, as nut butter fillings in cereals, bakery and sports nutrition products, in the healthy snack bar space and de-fatted flours.”

Are you looking for a macadamia supplier?

If you’re curious how macadamias could feature in your product development plans talk to Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Jacqui Price or contact an Australian macadamia supplier. From consumer trends and technical information to flavour profiles and formulation opportunities, they can help you source the right macadamia product to elevate your next food or beverage product.

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