November 2005 management briefing
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the role of nutrition and specific food components in a healthful lifestyle. Food manufacturers are responding to this growing trend by offering more choices – low-fat, low-calorie, low-sodium, high-protein, high-fibre – to fit a wide range of dietary needs, preferences and tastes. This briefing discusses the health benefits of fibre, the ‘forgotten nutrient’, its role in the food industry and the whole-grain trend. Ongoing research encourages the food industry to emphasise dietary fibre content in manufactured products. Last month, the EU announced its plans to fund a 5 year research project to develop new sources of nutritionally enhanced grain-based foods. This will explore grain-processing technologies to modify the texture of whole-grain bread, in an attempt to make whole-grain products more accepted among consumers. This report includes manufacturing and marketing challenges and corporate profiles of General Mills, Nestlé and Sara Lee.