R&D: THE NEW CHALLENGES FOR CLAS
CLAS Pesto, its products and new trends. Changing trends, which are also due to the more careful food choices of the consumer.
Andrea Tacchini, R&D Manager of CLAS, illustrates the new challenges.
> CLAS and its recipes, some information.
CLAS in a year develops approximately 300 new recipes, of which at least 10-15 are regularly in production.
> What is the consumer looking for these days?
The modern consumer is more and more careful about the recipe and reads the ingredients list declared on the label with greater attention.
The main aims in the development of a new product are functionality and naturalness, through the use of additive-free raw materials.
The German retail trade, for example, for a few months has no longer approved products with the addition of vegetable fibre, unless the fibre in the recipe is greater than 3%, which means that the recipe can be declared as “rich in fibre”. Vegetable fibre in pesto, on the other hand are added for their important capacity to absorb excess water: so it is possible to make economical recipes with fibre, following the client’s request.
A second, important example: from 2012 the English Ministry of Health, setting out guidelines to reduce the level of sodium in products, has initiated a consistent publicity campaign for this.
In the English pesto market, the average percentage has gone down from 3% to 1.7%. Gradual steps to habituate also the new tastes of the consumer. CLAS is doing its part, adapting its production to these ever more consistent demands. The target for 2017 is to bring the percentage of sodium down to 1.35%. New requests are being made also in Germany which has already been mentioned.
The primary demand of the modern consumer is: to eat healthily. Sodium in lesser and lesser quantities, and at the same time, products with less sugar content, to reduce the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease (as shown recently in England, with its campaign AOS – “Action on Sugar”).
Also to be drawn attention to lastly is the greater development of products which are “Free from…”: free from gluten or lactose, for example, conceived for those who have an intolerance but do not wish to give up tasty products and well-being.
> Italy and Europe: are there consumer differences?
The European consumer differs from his Italian counterpart by the type of products that he is looking for.
In particular, the European market is much more evolved and attentive to innovations, in terms of product and also especially of packaging. Plastic packaging (pet or polypropylene), or rather aluminium bags or better still microwaveable products, are already present on the shelves (at ambient temperature) in the retail trade and are known by the consumer. In Italy these innovative types of packaging are appreciated for fresh products or products which are pre-cooked and preserved on the cold line (0-4°C) especially for single consumers who are not keen on cooking. For pasteurized products, the Italian consumer is still centred on the traditional aspect of the productç: the glass jar is the most common form of packaging.
> Which trends can be observed in your area?
An important trend which can be seen in our food area is the significant growth of the number of vegetarians and vegans, for a total of 4.2 million people in 2014: +15% compared with 2013. 31% of vegetarians and vegans (almost a third) have made this choice out of respect for animals, 24% (a quarter) because it is good for your health, while 9% out of a sense of caring for the environment (source Eurispes 2014).
> Real new tendencies, therefore. CLAS how has it reacted?
CLAS has understood the importance of the market and has paid attention to the development of products which can satisfy the demands of the vegetarian population. In particular it is in the study of and the preparation phase of a range of vegan products that they are finding a substantial appreciation in the European and Italian market. In detail a Ragù di Tofu, a Soya Bolognese, a Seitan Amatriciana, a 100% Vegetable Sauce, apart from the Pesto Genovese and Pesto Rosso with Tofu already in production. Also a 100% vegan mayonnaise is being studied.
Another project announced at the start of the year as a possibility is the creation of a line of ethnic condiments in squeezy format. The ever increasing request by consumers for products to combine with typical dishes from other countries has sparked the idea for six new recipes such as: Salsa BBQ, Salsa Harissa, Salsa Kebab, Salsa pink pepper, Salsa with herbs and Salsa with Yogurt.
We think that we can present the complete range of ethnic products in the definitive packaging by the end of September.
In the pipeline also are the DIP line projects and the Jams.
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