Interviews & Profiles - Exclusive Interview

De Groot: We Focus On The Market Of ‘Healthier Indulgence’

January 2019

Interviews & Profiles - Exclusive Interview

De Groot: We Focus On The Market Of ‘Healthier Indulgence’

January 2019

foodHQ conducted an interview with Gea de Groot, Product Group Manager Food Ingredients at FrieslandCampina Kievit. The company is a global manufacturer of beverage and food ingredients, and it is trusted by the world’s best loved brands to provide superior ingredient solutions. 

foodHQ: FrieslandCampina Kievit is responding to the clean label revolution and has expanded its range of fat powders with two new additions. Can you tell us about the new range of fat powders?

Gea de Groot: FrieslandCampina Kievit has three fat powder portfolios: Vana®-Lata, -Crema and -Grasa, which provide different sensorial experiences and consumer benefits. The Vana®-Lata portfolio is the updated portfolio, consisting of approximately 17 ingredients and ingredient variants. All ingredients offer the ‘goodness of dairy’, both in the sensorial experience in the end-product, as well as in the consumer need for a clean label. The dairy-based ingredients can offer a comprehensive label, listing recognizable dairy products, depending on the local legislation and regulation.

The ingredients are in many bakery and savoury applications, e.g. in brioches, cakes, soups, and many more. We see an overall trend in food and beverage towards clean labelling. Our own Kievit online listening program shows that while this trend used to only be on the radar of food and beverage experts, it’s now crossed over into the consumer consciousness. Looking specifically at the bakery and savoury markets, we see a growth in butter and cream trends, with butter growing at a double-digit rate.

Based on the latest trends in the bakery and savoury markets, Kievit has updated the Vana®-Lata portfolio with two new ingredients:

  1. Lata BB 75B: a butter-based ingredient with excellent dough properties in combination with high protein and, based on local regulations, possibly even a butter declaration. This product is mainly used in the bakery segment, due to the intense butter taste, so we have developed an array of suggestions for bakery applications, e.g. a butter pecan chocolate cookie, brioche or hamburger bun.
  2. Lata CB 72B. This ingredient offers superior creaminess and whitening and, depending on local regulations, a possible cream declaration. It is slightly acid-stable. This product is mainly used in the savoury segment, due to the high whitening performance and its creamy taste. Soups, sauces and ready-to-eat meal kits are some of the applications.

For us, the focal point in the development of these products was to find an answer to the challenge: how can clean label products still provide the same performance despite removing functional ingredients? In reply to this need, we managed to develop these two ingredients which address the all-natural trend and have a shelf life of 9 to 12 months.

foodHQ: How it enables customers to adapt to global food trends?

De Groot: Modern consumers are increasingly vocal about their healthy and responsible lifestyles, resulting in more awareness about the food they consume and the way it is produced. Looking at food consumption 50 years back, compared to food consumption in 2018, it is clear that people are more conscious in choosing what they eat. Nowadays, they have plenty of choice. People can choose food that is sustainably produced, or they can avoid over-processed foods. What you eat and what choices you make are becoming more important. Clean label for example has become a lifestyle over the last year. Whether it’s healthy, natural or sustainably produced food what consumers seek for, a recognizable ‘clean label’ is a necessity for them to make well-informed choices. Consumers prefer natural, authentic ingredients on the packaging that they can recognize.

The new Kievit Vana®-Lata portfolio addresses this trend. The dairy base in most of the Lata ingredients can create recognizable labels, e.g. with a butter or cream declaration. While consumers actively scrutinize labels, they continue to look for foods that provide a unique and unparalleled indulgent experience. They are unwilling to compromise on taste and other indulgent aspects. On the contrary, people expect a larger sensorial experience nowadays. Food should, for example, also look good. We can see that people post their food and drinks on Instagram and other social media. Who would have thought 10 years ago that people would digitally share food images via a mobile device? Indulgence is also addressed within the Vana®-Lata portfolio: several products are butter-based or enriched and provide an intense rich butter taste with a full mouthfeel. Other products are cream-based or enriched, and provide a touch of freshness in the end-applications that consumers crave.

Kievit works together with its customers to provide consumers applications that address consumers’ desires. With recipes, or in meetings in our Innovation Labs around the world, we help our customers to identify relevant needs, e.g. with our own market, listening and consumer studies. We also provide support to application development. Our Research & Development and Technical experts develop concepts and recipes proactively or jointly with the customer. In the end, we want to provide an enriching experience for our customers, with our unique ingredients but also with our knowledge, expertise and insights. 

foodHQ: How you are helping manufacturers to open new and potentially farther markets?

De Groot: Kievit is always looking for opportunities to grow the business of our customers. We look at opportunities in the markets, from a consumer, application and innovation perspective. Sometimes we proactively translate opportunities into concepts and bring them to our customers. In other cases, we co-develop with our customers. But ultimately, it is always the success of our customers that counts.

In recent years, science has provided new insights into nutrition, concluding that dairy fats also enrich our daily food. This development caused a shift in appreciation of fat sources from influencers and critical consumers in favour of milk fat. For manufacturers to expand in new regions, the butter-based fat powders are a natural and logical solution.

We see a large growth potential in Asia, especially in bakery, pastry and decoration. With our customers and our Vana®-Lata portfolio, we would like to tap into that growth and offer consumers the products they long for. One of the barriers that kept some of our customers and prospects from the Asian bakery market was the shelf life. For a long time, short shelf life was holding manufacturers back from expansion in these promising areas. However, an extensive study from Kievit now makes it possible to expand butter bakery applications. We have conducted a multidisciplinary study focusing on the stability of butter-based fat powders, taking into consideration fat powder functionality, sensorial benefits, bakery applications and the climate conditions in regions where manufacturers have the possibility to grow. The results of this extensive study allowed FrieslandCampina Kievit to increase the shelf life of butter-based fat powders while maintaining superior sensorial functionality.

foodHQ: How do you describe your market understanding? 

De Groot: Market and consumer understanding are key in being a successful partner for our customers. Therefore, Kievit invests a lot in Food and Beverage market studies, trend studies, and consumers studies, like the study we conducted in 2018 in the beverages segment in the Philippines and our market studies. In addition, we have our own unique digital online conversation analyses.

With this research, we search and collect millions of online conversations in the coffee, tea, bakery, savory and desserts markets. For example, we look for conversations about consumer products, desired applications and trends. These conversations take place on online media such as news websites and blogs, but also on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. With this program, we have unique insights which can enrich our customers’ ideas and information. With all the information and data, we analyze the results and translate the learnings into concrete actions for both Kievit and our customers. Eventually, the actions can go as far as new product development and customer counselling.

foodHQ: How do you focus on the market?

We make sure that we have a profound market understanding and that we create unique insights that are complementary to our customers’ insights. We focus on the market of ‘healthier indulgence’ and aim to provide affordable luxury around the globe. This focus enables us to work efficiently and have a deep understanding of the segments we’re operating in. We translate our insights into ingredients that can help our customers to provide their consumers a better sensorial experience and address their needs about sustainability, clean labelling, and naturalness better. In innovation, we focus on different areas. Aside from clean labelling, indulgence-based foaming solutions are very important to us. For this we use our expertise and experience in sensory. We’ve built this up over decades and we will continue to focus on this capability.

foodHQ: Some countries are less mature when it comes to the clean label trend, how you will meet this challenge in term of demand?

De Groot: At FrieslandCampina Kievit, we give clean label a broader meaning. For consumers, food and drinks are part of their lifestyle. They make more conscious choices when it comes to food and beverages than half a century ago. It is important for consumers that they understand the labels and the packaging information in order to be able to make informed and well-educated choices.

This is what we see as clean label: providing understandable information about our ingredients that consumers can use to base their decisions on, to know whether it is a sustainable and healthy, or authentic and natural product that they want. We thus offer solutions in nutritional value, sustainable palm oil, other oils (palm-free), dairy-based or dairy-free ingredients and we make sure that our product range has been certified for halal and kosher, and fits in the latest legislation. Sustainability, specifically food waste and traceability, is becoming increasingly important. In countries that are less mature, we help our customers with applications, always responding to the most important consumer trends and demands in that market.

We consider the consumer needs first and see whether we can match those together with our customers. It does not make sense to develop products that nobody will buy. With their buying behaviour, consumers give us a clear indication of what they want and that is what we develop with our clients, within the scope of our own internal policies or governmental rules and regulation. This way, FrieslandCampina Kievit holds an unparalleled innovation track record with award-winning innovations and offers a broad future-proof portfolio compliant with the latest and upcoming regulation.