Trends in Food Manufacturing: Functional Nutrition, High Pressure Processing, and New Packaging

This year’s PACK EXPO Las Vegas featured several interesting presentations on its Innovation Stages. See highlights around functional nutrition, high pressure processing, and new packaging techniques from Bumble Bee on this Take Five video.


Quick hits:

  • Snack makers are getting into gut health, helping consumer snack smarter with the incorporation of probiotics, collagen, vitamins and more.
  • High pressure processing (HPP) is a good fit for “health shots” and plant-based foods.
  • Bumble Bee Seafood is moving away from shrink wrap for a more sustainable packaging system.

Related to this episode:

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Listen to the story here:

   Read the transcript below:

Aaron Hand: Welcome to Take Five with ProFood World. I'm Aaron Hand, Editor-in-Chief of ProFood World.

So last week our whole team was out at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. What an incredibly successful, fruitful show. It was so great to see everybody in person again, see the equipment running, learn about the latest technologies and innovations. We actually had more than 23,000 attendees looking at over 1,500 exhibitors, in something like 740,000 square feet of exhibit space. So I hope you were one of those that made it out there, but if not, we've got some great video segments for you here today.

So in today's session, I would like to focus on our innovation stages. So PMMI Media Group's Kim Overstreet was able to catch up with a couple of our presenters after their presentations. Let's take a listen in.

David Walsh: Now, consumers more than ever, especially through COVID-19, are looking for added benefits with their snacks. So more functional ingredients, things that will give them an added health benefit. So added vitamins, minerals, things like that. But one of the trends we see as emerging is the functional snacks around gut health and digestive health, which is where probiotics and prebiotics are coming from. A lot of consumers don't know too much about their gut health as of yet, but it's an emerging trend and one with big opportunity for the snack category, especially because it's an easy plugin for the snacks.

So things that will help their digestive system and contribute to their overall health, which they're more focused on now than ever before through COVID. So things like collagen and probiotics and things like protein bars and probiotic seasoning on chips and things like that. They really add that that function the consumers are looking for.

Kim Overstreet: Do you see those coming from emerging companies or the larger companies? Are they already on the market?

David Walsh: Yeah, a little bit of both. I would say for the snack category especially, there's so many emerging and entrepreneurial startup companies that are exploding onto the scene that are very quick to satisfy that need for consumers. But on the large company side, they're really putting a lot of investment into that space as well through things like incubators and acquisition and acquiring some of those startup companies, fostering their growth through investment and making sure that they grow. So it's kind of coming a little bit from both sides, your startup companies and on the big side as well.

David Walsh: And then on the startup side, they're really relying a lot on co-manufacturing, which is a huge trend in our space. So it might be some traditional snack companies that are changing their product portfolios and really working with those entrepreneurial startups to kind of expand the reach to consumers.

Austin Lowder: So I talked about a few applications that we've seen really explode in the past year or so, partially due to the pandemic, but also just because it was all trending that way, and in many cases, the pandemic kind of exacerbated that. So I talked about health shots or immune-based products that are geared towards consumers' perceptions of healthiness and maintaining healthiness, which are well-suited to HVP because they typically are fruit-based products, juices that the HVP has long been used for.

Austin Lowder: I also talked about emerging plant-based sectors and expansion of current plant-based sectors as well to be more clean label focused, getting rid of potentially undesirable ingredients like chemical preservatives, and HVP's a great alternative to removing those.

Aaron Hand: Another innovation stage presentation I'd like to share with you comes from Bumble Bee Seafood and RA Jones talking about the CPG's efforts in making their packaging system more sustainable. So Jim Chrzan, Vice President of Content for us, managed to catch up with them and talked to them a little bit about some highlights.

Jim Chrzan: So this presentation really dealt around quite a large change for Bumblebee. And you had said that your shrink wrapping equipment was aging out and you wanted to find a better solution for your customers, particularly sustainability was the issue.

Leslie Hushka: Yeah, we really wanted to tie this to our overall corporate goals and to really ensure that all of our packaging was readily recyclable by the consumer. So in replacing this equipment, we looked at a number of different options and really through our partnership with RA Jones have come up with a new paper board container for our multiplex.

Jim Chrzan: Really nice graphics too. Jeff, one of the things in working with PMMI and OEMs is everybody's talking about getting closer to the CPG sooner to collaborate better. And it sounds like you've been working on this for quite a while now.

Jeff Wintring: Yes. That's exactly right. We tried to do that with our CPGs. Our relationship with Bumblebee started in November of 2019, and we collaborated with them and created the solution. And then ultimately, they chose us and then we produced the machine for them. 

Jim Chrzan: How exciting. Now tell me, you're going to have a ribbon-cutting in your booth later. Is that...

Jeff Wintring: Yes, at three o'clock we have a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Jonathon Titterton of RA Jones and Coesia North America, and Jan Tharp, President CEO of Bumble Bee Foods will be at the ceremony.

Jim Chrzan: Very good. And as we move into the future now, is this going to be the blueprint for how you do things for changing out packaging? What do you see coming next, for instance?

Leslie Hushka: Absolutely. We want to make sure that all of our packaging, 100%, is readily recyclable by the consumer. This package and the work with RA Jones will get us to 98%, but we've still got a little bit more to do.

Jim Chrzan: That's incredible. Can you hold it up? In really is. And also one of the added benefits, it's not just laying on the shelf sideways, you can stack multiple products up.

Leslie Hushka: Absolutely. So it can go with this orientation or in this orientation.

Jim Chrzan Excellent.

Aaron Hand: Thank you for joining us today. All registered attendees can access these full videos along with several others at PackExpoXpress. We'll put the link down below for you to get there. 

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