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Trends and developments in the food industry in 2022

Getting the new year off to a healthy start is a resolution that many people have set themselves once again in 2022 – and a healthy diet is an essential part of that.

Most consumers expect more from food and beverages than just naturalness and a good taste: they want the right diet to have a positive effect on their long-term health and general well-being. Products that support certain vital functions or aspects of health, such as the immune system, gut health or energy levels, are in especially high demand. As a result of the pandemic, the food and beverage industry is seeing particular demand for innovations that support general well-being and boost mental health – after all, this is being put under particular strain in the current situation.

An optimum balance between appearance, scent, taste, sound and mouthfeel is crucial for the success of food and beverages. Products’ emotional significance is also becoming ever more important, with applications that trigger a positive mood especially popular.

Based on the latest findings of nutritional science, the Döhler team is developing the products of tomorrow – products that combine plant-based nutrition, naturalness and optimised nutritional profiles with unique multi-sensory experiences and meet the needs of environmentally and health-conscious consumers.

Döhler Natural SuperHEROES for healthier products

Döhler’s new portfolio of Natural SuperHEROES opens up new options for products with a healthy positioning that provide a range of health benefits – everything from heart health, mental fitness and gut health to the immune system and general well-being.

Healthy digestion is crucial to a person’s general well-being and plays a key role in preventing illness. Demand for functional foods that promote gut health is therefore increasing all the time.

With GutHealthHERO Prebiotic Baobab, Döhler uses a pure, selected fruit powder that has been scientifically tested for its prebiotic properties. GutHealthHERO Baobab promotes the selective growth of good gut bacteria, thus supporting gut health. The acid-stable product can be used in a wide range of food and beverage applications that offer added health value, such as smoothies, cereals and dietary supplements. The next GutHealthHERO, a product based on Jerusalem artichoke, is also ready to go.

Mobilising the body’s own defences and strengthening the immune system is more important than ever before. Döhler’s ImmuneHERO Acerola provides added value for almost any food and beverage application. Made from acerola, the fruit powder is available in standardised quality – and organic, too.

When used with the correct dosage, it enables claims to be used in line with the European Health Claims Regulation.

The sustainable phytoactive ingredients ginseng, moringa and guarana are considered especially beneficial to mental health. These meet consumers’ desire to get more active, both physically and mentally, after the long “slow-down mode” of the last few months.

Products that naturally deliver energy for body and mind and unlock new taste sensations are increasingly in demand. Döhler’s phytoactive ingredients from the EnergyHEROES and MentalHEROES range provide an ideal foundation for such products. The comprehensive product range consisting of botanical extracts, Fruit & Optifine™ powders and vitamin/mineral and energy premixes is tailored to the requirements of the application in question.

Less sweet – same full taste

A healthy lifestyle also involves reducing sugar in the diet. Be it snacks or carbonated soft drinks, reduced-sugar versions are in higher demand than ever. More than 46 countries all over the world have so far introduced sugar taxes, while 87 per cent of consumers are actively trying to reduce their sugar intake. But the reduced-sugar options still need to hold their own against traditional products in terms of taste and sensory properties.

As well as new lifestyle products – for example healthy soft drinks with a fermented base such as kombucha or water kefir – refreshing lemonades, light fruit splashes and many other exciting beverage concepts with little or no sugar are all in demand. Even alcoholic beverages with reduced sugar, such as hard seltzer, are popular among consumers.

Döhler’s MultiSweet® Classic is the ideal sweetening system for the trendy, low-calorie beverage and many other reduced-sugar products. By combining different high-intensity sweeteners with its own MultiSense® taste-balancing flavours, the company offers a large portfolio of sweetening solutions to match a wide range of different beverage applications.

Natural foods like fruit have a natural sweetness and are increasingly being used to sweeten products. Fruits and spices can be employed as sweeteners in snacks and bars, yoghurts, smoothies, baked goods and many other applications. Even vegetable ingredients can be used to reduce sugar – juices and purées made from courgette or cucumber contain less sugar than fruit-based equivalents while also creating innovative taste sensations.

Döhler’s MultiSweet Fruit® offers one way to use the natural sweetness of fruit. Produced without chemical additives throughout the production process, MultiSweet Fruit® has a sweetening intensity comparable to that of added sugar and offers the full, rounded taste of real sugar.

Non-alcoholic enjoyment

Refreshing indulgence with little or no alcohol: non-alcoholic options for beer and spirits are becoming more important all the time. While the global market for non-alcoholic and low-alcohol products is predicted to grow by 34 per cent by 2024, alcohol consumption fell by 10 per cent in 2020. Demand is growing for non-alcoholic alternatives with new taste profiles.

In order to give non-alcoholic versions a full, authentic taste, Döhler offers natural flavours ideal specifically for creating non-alcoholic spirits like gin and whisky. Distillates, extracts and clear emulsions made from herbs, spices and fruits all allow the creation of tasty products for a growing market.

Non-alcoholic beer-mix drinks are also growing in popularity.

The manufacturing process here means that the authentic beer taste and mouthfeel are often lost when producing non-alcoholic and 0.0% beers. Although flavours are able to close the gap to real alcoholic beers, this option means a clean label declaration is not possible. Döhler has developed an innovative extraction technology that enables a clean label declaration and 0.0% beer to be created with authentic taste for the first time. This option covers diverse consumer requirements at the same time.

Plant-based, highly nutritious and with authentic taste

More and more people are pursuing a modern and sustainable lifestyle. As part of this, many now largely or completely avoid animal products. The market for plant-based foods is predicted to grow by 11.9 per cent per year between 2020 and 2027.

Creamy and fresh – the perfect taste of milk! Many consumers who love every aspect of the traditional taste of milk are yet to be convinced by the taste and texture of plant-based alternatives.

If their popularity is to increase, the aftertaste needs to be reduced, the typical milk taste enhanced, and the rather watery mouthfeel improved. Döhler’s Clean label Plant-based Taste Modulation are based on innovative fermentation technologies and are the ideal solution to this challenge. Using oats, rice or chick peas as their starting materials, these novel products create totally new taste sensations and help to make a plant-based product taste exactly like milk, cheese or yoghurt.

The market for plant-based cheese alternatives is forecast to grow by eight per cent per year between 2019 and 2026 (Mintel 2021). Döhler has used its ferments to create the next generation of plant-based cheese, with a very similar appearance, mouthfeel and taste to familiar, traditional cheese and good melting properties. Plant-based proteins also give it a better consistency and enhanced nutritional value.

Products made from and with chick peas are also rich in protein, with a creamy consistency and a buttery, nutty taste. An innovation here is aquafaba – the water the chick peas are cooked in, which can be used to replace beaten egg whites. It enables the production of plant-based alternatives to ice cream and macarons. Döhler’s aquafaba is suitable for applications like plant-based mayonnaise, butter, delicious dessert alternatives, and baked goods such as sponge cake, and tasty meringues.

Combining alcohol-stable and dairy-free ingredients like coconut, almond and soya with traditional flavours such as chocolate and coffee, or exotic fruit flavours and juices, enables the production of creamy liqueurs and drinks. Alongside alcoholic plant-based beverage applications, their non-alcoholic equivalents are also becoming increasingly popular.

Enjoy with all the senses – an all-round taste sensation

The first product characteristic to be perceived is the colour – it creates expectations and influences the purchasing decision. Choosing the right colour is a way to manage the product positioning of food and beverages. White, for example, is associated with purity. In the past, the white pigment titanium dioxide was used to give foods a light, clear tone. However, it is no longer approved for use in many markets and products. Döhler has drawn on the enormous palette of natural colours to develop a natural white colour that provides whitening solutions for all kinds of boiled sweets, as well as pan coatings for confectionery – without any titanium dioxide. Döhler’s White Diamond can be absorbed by the body and has additional nutritional benefits.

Innovative taste experiences can be created by combining categories that were originally very separate. Extremely dynamic development in energy drinks in particular makes these beverages ideal for this cross-categorisation with other beverages, such as tea, coffee or juice. In the carbonated soft drinks category, demand is growing for refreshment with less sweetness using bitter, sour or tart notes.

Citrus in particular is one of the most popular flavours all over the world, generating high demand for its sweet yet sour, bitter yet ripe profile, especially in flavoured water beverages. Döhler’s portfolio of natural citrus flavours, oils, terpenes and compositional flavours allow the creation of fantastic beverages here.

Mouthfeel is also essential for unique indulgence, as an unmistakeable texture can be the argument that triggers a repeat purchase. What makes the perfect bite varies from product to product and needs to match the other product characteristics. There are thus numerous ways to complete the perfect multi-sensory experience – with unique crunch, a tender, creamy consistency, or perfect melting properties.

Döhler’s pectins based on apple or citrus are the ideal solution for outstanding results in the texture of jams and fruit fillings with high Brix values.

Apples and citrus fruits are naturally rich in pectin and cellulose fibres, which give the fruits their firmness and flexibility. This makes the solutions especially cost-efficient compared to alternatives on the market and allows use of the claim “Clean Label Texturiser”. Pectins are also soluble fibres and therefore have a positive effect on intestinal flora.

Demand for healthy snack options is also increasing, with multi-sensory taste variants extremely popular. Freeze-dried, crunchy fruit drops are especially popular and suitable for snacks, muesli mixes, confectionery and baked goods. They give products an intense fruity taste and add the colour typical of the fruits. As well as their crunchy texture, they impress with a pleasant mouthfeel and slow melting properties.

In order to provide the world’s growing population with healthy and sustainable nutrition, Döhler works with its customers to develop innovative product concepts that are actively shaping the future of the food industry.

We bring ideas to life. With natural raw materials and innovative technologies as our starting point, we always go one step further to create real added value for customers and consumers. This is how we pave the way for turning smart ideas into amazing products – for unique, multi-sensory experiences.


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