Kraft Food Ingredients, a division of the recently combined Kraft Heinz, is working on new clean label snacks, showcasing a range of healthier product concepts at Snaxpo, Bakery and Snacks reports. The merger has boosted development of clean label snacks, according to the company.
Kraft used dairy ingredients to cut hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils from cheddar-flavored potato chips, parmesan popcorn and cheeseburger-flavored puffs. The cheese ingredients come in a range of sodium levels. The company also is exploring natural and organic options.
- "Cheese products are growing in popularity. People are not going to stop eating cheese," said Julie Tiatia, head of marketing at Kraft Food Ingredients. "What they don't want is eating cheese full of ingredients they can't pronounce."
Food manufacturers have focused many of their reformulation efforts on snack products. As consumers move away from three meals a day toward more frequent snacking, the food industry has been under pressure to respond. Another focus is making their products healthier and more wholesome by removing a range of additives. Consumers increasingly are checking ingredient lists, scanning them for unfamiliar or unnatural-sounding items.
Snacks are a major target for sodium, sugar and fat reduction. Research suggests these efforts could save thousands of lives each year. One study found reformulation could reduce deaths from diet-related diseases by as much as 5.5%, with the greatest benefit for those on low incomes.
Several of the biggest names in food have targeted a specific category for reformulation. General Mills has focused on cutting artificial flavors and colors from its fruit-flavored snacks and cereals, while Nestlé has simplified the ingredients in more than 100 ice cream brands. Its changes include removing high fructose corn syrup, GMO ingredients, artificial flavors and colors, reducing sugar, and using milk from cows not treated with rBST.
As for Kraft Food Ingredients’ latest cheese-based snack concepts, the company said its intention was to follow the clean label trend. Although consumers may not see cheese as particularly healthy, they see it as a “permissible indulgence”, according to the company’s head of marketing. Consumers want to know what ingredients their cheese is made of. Kraft and other food manufacturers are smart to give consumers what they want.