EHL offers 2017 recipe for success

EHL offers 2017 recipe for success


EHL Ingredients is gearing up for a year of alternative ingredients and flavours in 2017, as demand for foods from exotic global regions become increasingly mainstream.

Additionally, flours such as chickpea, are set to become more prevalent in baked goods as a substitute to traditional wheat flours, tapping into the trend for free-from food products.

Consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly experimental with new dishes; research from Mintel shows that 60% of 16 to 34 year olds enjoy trying new cooking trends, ingredients and products.

Tasneem Backhouse, joint managing director at EHL Ingredients, offers the following insights and predictions for the food ingredient sector in 2017:

  • New food regions – consumers’ love for world flavours is continuing to grow, with the demand for international cuisine predicted to increase by 20.3% by 2017. The multicultural diversity of the UK population is bringing emerging cuisines to the high street, creating demand for retailers and food manufacturers to provide a wider variety of international foods. This has resulted in lesser known cuisines being brought into the spotlight. Tasneem says, “The taste preferences of UK consumers are always evolving and we’re seeing a greater demand for herb and spice blends from more unusual and exotic places around the world. For example, Asian cuisine remains a popular choice, but there are alternative regions with new flavour combinations coming to the fore, such as from Korea and Indonesia. The Caribbean is also receiving more attention from consumers, and is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines with influences from Africa, Amerindia, Europe, East India, Arab nations and China.”
  • Chickpeas rule the roost – the United Nations named 2016 the year of the pulse, highlighting the nutritional benefits of the food group and the need for food manufacturers to include pulses in their formulations and recipes. Mintel reports that sales of free-from foods have increased by 13% since 2015, as consumers are adopting diets such as gluten-free for the health benefits, not just medical reasons. For food manufacturers looking to tap into this market and re-build a healthy reputation for products such as bread, pulses are the ideal solution. Chickpea flour is a wheat flour substitute that has risen into the limelight this year and EHL predicts it will continue in 2017. Tasneem says, “Using alternative ingredients, such as chickpea flour, in breads can raise a product’s health credentials and enhance its appeal. We expect a lot more alternative flours to be incorporated into gluten-free products in the bakery sector and across wider food products.”
  • Spicing up soups and meal kits – soup’s healthy image has made it a mainstay in the British food market all year round, but there are opportunities to further its popularity. With spices regularly receiving positive media coverage, spicing up traditional soup recipes with ingredient blends can help to amplify the products’ appeal and create distinctive and delicious new flavours. Home cooking and entertaining is set to remain popular in 2017 with consumers looking to create impressive and complex dishes at home. A report from Mintel shows that there is a strong interest in ethnic spice kits that allow consumers to experiment with the scratch cooking trend and cook their favourite international dishes. Tasneem says, “We’ve seen an increase in spice blends for soup recipes with international twists and expect to see more food manufacturers expand their ranges and become more experimental with blends from across the globe.”

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