The food industry has always been driven by the desire to reduce costs and sell as many units as it can as cheaply as possible. As a result, the modern diet of the average American is full to the brim with the processed, high markup foods typically found in the central aisles of the superstore.
But with the news trickling out that diet really is important as life and death, food manufacturers are having to make changes. No longer will consumers accept foods that contain trans-fats (at least those that are educated) and increasingly, people are also demanding a reduction in both salt and sugar, other problem ingredients.
Top of the list of demands at the moment is gluten free options. Thanks to books in the popular press like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, an increasing number of people are shirking gluten for fear that it has detrimental effects on their ability to maintain a healthy weight and learn. Though much of the science behind these claims is garbage, going gluten-free is something that around 10 percent of people are trying to do at any given time, meaning that manufacturers are having to respond. Over the last five years, the range of gluten free options has exploded, and now most stores have entire aisles dedicated to various wheat-free products says www.foodingredientsfirst.com.
Another growing concern among consumers is that quality and safety of the meat that they eat. Increasingly, people are realising the modern, factory-farmed meats are not a weight loss food. In fact, because of the way many of the animals are reared, they can actually be a cause for weight gain. The average chicken today is obese compared to the average chicken in the 1950s. And this obesity is literally being transmitted to humans as they eat the food.
But now the industry is changing. Slowly but surely it’s building the infrastructure to support new kinds of meat production based on less intensively-farmed varieties – varieties which don’t have the same level of fat and hormones. As www.gpp-co.com points out, there is a growing need in the sector for foods which sustain gamier meats, like deer. And thanks to trends, like the Paleo diet and the desire to eat pasture raised animals, this is likely to continue.
According to Michel Van Genugten, a marketing executive at a major food firm, one of the biggest problems in the western diet is oil. Whereas oil was promoted as a healthy alternative to meat-based fats, today the evidence is mounting that it might not be so good for you after all. In fact, according to a lot of new research, the consumption of oil is linked to dreaded diseases like cancer.
Scientists initially thought that oil was good for you because it was consumed by populations around the Mediterranean who didn’t seem to suffer from heart disease. But it later transpired that it was the veggies, not the oil, that conferred the benefits. Food manufacturers, therefore, are looking for ways to reduce the oil in their food.