From The Nutritionist


      Kate Williams, RDN
Nutrition Contributor:
Kate Williams, RDN

Industry Perspective on Three Food & Nutrition Trends




At the end of every year, our team at Campbell reflects on new and familiar food trends. We share what we learned from trade shows and trends presentations from the past year and consider what they mean for the future of the industry. Plant-based eating, food and beverages that support mental and emotional health and sustainable nutrition are three trends we saw repeatedly. How do food industry experts interpret these trends, apply them to their work and consider the implications on the future of food? I reached out to the team to learn how these popular trends impact their work and their predictions for the future.

Plant-based protein and meat alternatives

The plant-based food trend officially hit the mainstream market but shows up in unexpected ways. However, as Alexandria Hast, PhD, RDN, Campbell Senior Nutrition Manager, notes, “It’s not about becoming a vegetarian or vegan, it’s about getting more plants into the diet in flexible ways.” How consumers do this varies greatly. While some want minimally processed beans and legumes, others want a meat alternative that tastes and looks like meat but without the animal protein. What does this mean for the food industry? “This is an aspect of the trend we are evaluating across our portfolio. It comes down to who is the target consumer for that product and what does plant-based mean to them,” Hast explains.

How will the plant-based trend show up on shelves and away from home eating occasions? Consumers often experiment with food trends in the snacking and beverage space before investing in full meals, so expect to see new versions of plant-based foods in these categories first. We also see this trend popping up on non-commercial foodservice menus. “Plant-based options have even spread to some of the largest school systems in the country as participation in Meatless Monday is growing,” notes Anita Shaffer, RDN, Campbell Senior Nutrition Manager. This early introduction of plant-based foods may continue to shape how we see the trend evolve in the future. The food industry needs to be prepared with both plant-based product innovation and plant-based substitutions for existing products and recipes that provide convenient, nutritious ways to meet consumer needs.

Mental and emotional well-being through food

Consumers seek solutions in food and beverage to help them regulate stress, anxiety, alertness and sleep. Many consumers want functional ingredients in foods that work well with their body and mind. As Elise Deming, MS, RDN, Campbell Nutrition Scientist, notes, “Cultures around the world have used herbs, tonics, and natural remedies to complement their well-being and overall body function for thousands of years. Some traditional remedies like vapor rub or aloe are already accepted in mainstream markets. But now, we see the resurgence of traditional ingredients like holy basil and ashwagandha moving from over the counter treatments to functional ingredients in food and beverages.” Who wouldn’t eat a snack that may help you feel more focused, or a drink that may ease your stress before a big presentation? Research and product development in the food industry may have a renewed focus on food as medicine as the potential payoff could be huge.

Sustainable Nutrition

Many consumers shifted their definition of health by considering sustainability in their purchasing decisions. While not mainstream yet, consumer interest in food choices that are healthy for me and healthy for the planet increased. Dr. Daniel Sonke, Campbell’s Director of Sustainable Agriculture notes, “There is an overlap in some consumer trends we see and their potential positive impact on the environment.” For example, interest in gut heath and plant-based diets, will increase the demand for farms to grow beans, peas and lentil crops which helps build healthier soil. Dr. Sonke explains, “These plants can produce their own fertilizer under the right conditions, so they are good for the soil.” He predicts more advocates for the relationship between human health and soil health in the future.

This trend shows up in foodservice spaces, too. Even minor shifts towards plant-based eating in the foodservice space could have a meaningful impact on the food supply. Shaffer notes, “If an animal-based entrée were replaced with a plant-based entrée in as little as 0.1% of school lunches nationwide, that would reduce animal protein in the school lunch program by about 6 million pounds per year.” Over time this adds up.

Food and nutrition trends may remain steady for a few years at a time, but they evolve. The plant-based trend will be molded and more clearly defined in the future based on consumers’ wants and the food industry’s response. We will see what impact ancient ingredients will have on our mental and emotional health as product innovation expands and effects monitored. And finally, food choices based on the good for me, good for the environment mentality could put the health of our planet in a better direction.


Cheers,

Kate


Kate’s Bio

Kate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.