I have worked in the Food Industry for more than 25 years and have personal values around health and nutrition. Three years ago when a family member was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, gut health was a key area of intervention. This meant we had to ‘rethink food’.
Thankfully my background helped when navigating our way through masses of information and research on inflammation, immunity, gut health and diets. Many common themes emerged and we defined a set of principles to follow for a gut healthy diet, with positive results.
This led to many dietary changes, prepare meals from scratch, experimenting with recipes and shopping for ‘clean’ healthy food by scrutinising labels.
Finding gut healthy products on the shelf was and is a real challenge. Many products include ingredients that promote gut health however the overall product doesn’t. Many labels are very technical, include long lists of ingredients, artificial additives and ‘unrecognisable’ ingredients. We looked for minimally processed foods however it isn’t always possible to tell this from a label.
Do your products help consumers to make an informed choice.
Understanding the relationship between diet, gut and health is essential for food manufacturers who want to provide ‘healthy calories’ to a growing world population is a real opportunities for the food industry.
What does your company stand for?
Have you specified your Food values? These are your company’s principles, beliefs and philosophies on food and the food supply chain. As a food manufacturer you impact peoples lives, peoples health and the planet. The choices you make about your products and packages are an integral part of your brand and what you stand for. Take the time to fully articulate a cohesive set of values that can increases the power of your brand.
Watch my short training video and learn more about the power of food values https://www.bia-biz.com/free-food-training-videos/
You will face many tough questions as you establish your food values.
Below are some areas to explore as you carry out this exercise.
- Does your company have a position on health?
- Are there any health concerns associated with your products or packages?
- Are your products gut healthy?
- Do you have a position on pesticides, GMO’s, allergens?
- Do you have a position on fortification of products with micronutrients?
- Are your products clean label?
- Are your products minimally processed?
- What is your position on honesty in labelling and advertising?
- Do you have a position on producing products for consumers who wish to eat according a set of rules or criteria
- Have you specified your position on Ingredients e.g.
- Are you knowledgeable on natural and artificial additives?
- Have you made an informed decision about the additives being used in your product portfolio?
- Do you allow the use of artificial ingredients/additives?
- Do you allow/use natural or artificial colours in your products?
- Do you allow the use of artificial flavor enhancers?
- Are you knowledgeable on the different types of sweeteners and their health implications?
- Have you made an informed decision about the sweeteners being used in your product portfolio?
- Do you have maximum sweetener limits for your products?
- Are you knowledgeable on the different types of fats/oils and their health implications.
- Have you made an informed decision about the fats/oils being used in your product portfolio?
- Do you heat the fats/oils in your manufacturing process? If yes do you factor for the smoke point of the oils/fats that you use?
- Are the fats/oils used in your products prone to oxidation?
- Do the fats/oils used in your products come from sustainable sources?
There are several things to consider when choosing good fats e.g. the type of fat (saturated/unsaturated), the fatty acid chain length, how it was processed, the omega 3:6 ratio & the smoke point.
- What type of salt do you use/allow in your products?
- Do you have a maximum salt limit for your products?
Have you specified your packaging interaction standards.
Have you specified your ethical standards?
Food ethics lie at the heart of food values. There are many ethical issues facing the food industry. To truly establish food values your company needs a position on social responsibility and ethical standards. Some areas to explore:
- Food safety i.e. are you certified to a globally recognized food safety standard?
- Fair trade
- Fair labour
- Animal welfare
- Environment & sustainability
- Sourcing e.g. local, regional or global
- Business practices
- Competitiveness and pricing
- Employee standards e.g. code of conduct, safety, diversity & inclusion
Download my free Food Values questionnaire to help you explore your value proposition and what you stand for. https://www.bia-biz.com/toolkits/#foodvalues
To learn more about gut health, inflammation, immunology, health & nutrition, nutrients, check out our ‘Nutrition’ page https://www.bia-biz.com/nutrition-health/