Amanda Brown reports on a workshop looking at how meals and snacks need to evolve

Thursday 11 Oct

“Today I had the pleasure of attending an insightful workshop by QMU run by Interface and Food and Drink Federation (Scotland) looking at how meals and snacks need to evolve to meet the needs of our ageing bodies and lifestyles.

IMG_0140I hadn’t really given a great deal of thought as to how my diet needs to change as I get older and today it was interesting to listen to researchers and businesses about opportunities they have identified in the market for products that will help maintain our health, which is particularly important when we think about the strain illness puts on the NHS.

There are now more people aged over 60  than under 18 in the UK, and with more of us living longer, there is a real opportunity to think about targeting this consumer group with products that could provide health benefits.

There was a focus was iodine – we in the UK we don’t consume enough iodine although it’s prevalent in milk and seafood . Interestingly, during the winter iodine levels are higher in milk due to the winter fodder. Protein is also an important part of our diet but most consumers can’t explain why it is important and most protein is consumed as part of the evening meal. This could offer new market opportunities around breakfast and lunch. As we age, we tend to eat less protein and the example given of including protein in a custard cream could be a great solution for the care home sector!

Innovation is a key part of what the food and drink industry does to continue its success, some of it is planned, some not. In the UK there are over 5,000 new products launched every year and it’s unusual if more than 25% of them are still around in their second year. So whilst innovation is key, it needs to be focused on what’s happening in the market, what consumers want and how they behave. We are seeing a growing number of young adults take an increasing interest in the products they buy and their lifestyles. This is very different to how I behaved in my mid 20s and, whilst this is creating exciting new market opportunities, we must remember that as they move into different life stages, their behaviour will change and will adjust to their life needs. Just as I now need to recognise that my diet needs to change as I get older too, to ensure I stay healthy and well.”