The greatest issue the food industry faces in 2007 is the continued innovation of healthy foods for the consumer, while educating the consumer so they have a choice. There is growing pressure on the food industry to provide more products that are healthy, while some critics would like to restrict the choices that are currently available in an attempt to identify "bad" food. This is a very slippery slope.
We continue to be flooded with studies and advice that contradicts what was "fact" years ago. A new study from Northern Ireland suggests higher sugar intake does not appear to impact insulin resistance when comparing the two groups within the study. The study further suggests lifestyle factors (such as weight) play a more critical role in Type 2 diabetes.
It is important to continue to educate the consumer and maintain the integrity of food science in our discussions. One attempt to do this is Hannaford Brothers "Guiding Stars" program. Early results are demonstrating that the consumer is making the choice towards healthier foods when given the tools and education to do so. This program rewards products that fit its definition of "Healthy", rather than demonizing foods that do not, allowing the consumer the make the choice.
At Barbara's Bakery/Weetabix, we specialize in providing natural and organic cereals and snacks. We take the challenge of such balancing seriously by basing our marketing efforts on up-to-the-minute research. We stress the importance of providing choice for consumers to let them effectively balance their diet with their lifestyle based on sound food science and innovative solutions.
Chuck Marble is the executive vice president, North America, for Weetabix Food Co.