How much longer can the American consumer afford high food prices? According to Innova Market Insights, the number two food and beverage trend for 2023 is Affordable Nutrition (2). When broken down, consumers are looking for two things: 1) foods with high nutritional value at the right price, and 2) innovative products that make essential nutrition accessible and affordable. Today's consumers may feel as if healthy eating is out of reach, so ingredient suppliers and manufacturers alike should work together to bring consumers the highest quality product at a price that is within budget.
Consumers and manufacturers are not blind to the rising cost of goods as both have lived through the roller coaster of purchasing ingredients for their homes and businesses. Affordability is defined as a good or service that is inexpensive or reasonably priced, and many food manufacturers feel as if obtaining and producing goods within this definition is out of reach. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the principal government agency for tracking labor economics and statistics, measures the average change in prices over time, otherwise known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI has increased 6.5% over the past twelve months and encapsulates all goods purchased by Americans. The CPI can also be further broken down into specific categories like markets or individual goods. Consumers and manufacturers alike have felt the brunt of the burden as the cost of all goods and services has been on a gradual increase since 2021 (1).
One of the largest increases in cost is the Cereal and Bakery category that saw a 16.1% increase from December 2021 to December 2022. The average cost of a loaf of bread a year ago was $1.53 and $2.09 for white and wheat bread respectively. Today the cost is $1.87 for white bread and $2.42 for wheat bread. The price of cookies has also increased ninety cents (3). The rise in finished goods cost can be attributed to the price of raw materials, supply chain issues, and the economic correction of a global pandemic.
A market correction is not forecasted in the immediate future, especially not in the food sector, as companies with the most shelf space have increased prices. This leaves more than 41 million Americans unable to purchase enough food for their household, let alone food that is nutrient dense (4). Ingredient suppliers and food manufacturing companies should look to collaborate on improving both affordability and nutrition for the American consumer in the 2023 innovation cycle.
Following a healthy diet becomes more difficult in the current economic climate, but creating nutritious food products is not out of reach. Nutrition is defined as the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth, and according to the CDC following the USDA Dietary Guidelines a healthy dietary patten is associated with beneficial outcomes for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer (5). Based on the table below, the American diet is lacking in many categories including total vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, seafood, and nut, seeds, and soy products (6).
Consumers aged 60+ are the most likely to adhere to nutrition guidelines while consumers ages 14-18 are the least likely (6). Under consumption in these key categories means that consumers are lacking in essential macro and micronutrients like fiber, healthy fats, B vitamins, Vitamin D, calcium, folate, along with many others. As food innovators, there are many tools that can be utilized to help American consumers achieve healthy dietary pattens by creating healthy options in all places where foods and beverages are purchased.
Creating new and exciting products that engage consumers interest and appetites is both fun and challenging. Gaps currently exist in the dietary pattern of American consumers, but as an industry, there are a plethora of tools available to improve upon or eliminate these disparities. The tried-and-true example of filling a gap in the American diet was enriching flour to replace iron and b vitamins that were removed during the milling process in the early 1900s, and then later adding folic acid in the 1990s to risk of neural tube defects in pregnant women.
Similar strategies can be utilized today across the processed food portfolio to both enhance nutrition and support lowering cost of goods. Manildra can provide wheat-based products that support enrichment of foods with key nutrients like fiber and protein with FiberGem® resistant wheat starch and GemPro® wheat proteins. Adding FiberGem to conventional formulas like bread, buns, and flour tortillas is an easy way to achieve dietary fiber claims and narrow nutrient gaps. Or adding wheat protein like GemPro Plus can help to provide additional protein to flatbreads while also improving dough rheology. Our portfolio of products can also support the optimization of whole grain consumption as whole grain breads tend to require additional support from products like Gem of the West vital wheat gluten, or GemPro HPG, to maintain volume and texture in baked bread. Manildra ingredients, like GemPro Nova, can also improve the affordability of goods by assisting with cost savings for animal-based proteins like eggs and dairy. Our GemPro proteins can provide both protein content and functional benefits that bakers derive from eggs and dairy at a lower cost.
Maintaining and reducing costs during inflationary periods provides the necessary savings to the end user of manufactured goods – the consumer. Consumers react to manufacturers who have their best interest in mind, especially during difficult times, so striving to create nutritious products at the most affordable price will bring them back. At Manildra, we strive to provide our customers with the best, most cost-effective products possible. Let us be your partner in creating affordably nutritious products. Contact us today!
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