Meet the exhibitors: Cargill

Fi CONNECT Exhibitor showcase interview


Laurine Franchi, Market intelligence specialist, Cargill Food Ingredients

Which products is Cargill featuring at this year’s Fi CONNECT?

At Fi CONNECT 2020, we are highlighting how our teams combine their expertise to meet key consumer trends around healthy eating, conscious consumption and engaging all the senses. Our content features a joint presentation from our Cocoa & Chocolate and Edible Oils businesses on successfully bringing our CremoFLEX® and FlexFillings solutions together for bakery and confectionery manufacturers. It showcases how Cargill’s extensive knowledge offers a combined in-house capability to deliver the optimal ingredients for your specific filling applications..

The entire CremoFLEX® premium fat fillings line consists of label-friendly, healthy solutions, made with sustainably sourced non-hydrogenated oils. Our filling experts work with the CremoFLEX® line to design ideal customized recipes to answer your specific sensorial or functional requirements with the FlexFillings range. FlexFillings fuses our chocolate and oils & fats expertise to create an unlimited menu of fillings for applications ranging from confectionery to bakery and beyond.

What makes these ingredients innovative?

The CremoFLEX® range delivers the winning properties that you need for your next confectionery or bakery innovation, or indeed reformulation project. The entire portfolio consists of label-friendly and healthy solutions, that are made with non-hydrogenated oils and which are low in trans fats. All products in the CremoFLEX® range are made with sustainable palm oil with the exception of palm oil free CremoFLEX® E.

CremoFLEX® S has been created with the intention to match the ‘true indulgence’ trend. It allows for the release of intense flavor with a mouthful journey for our consumer. Its semi-hard texture and ‘intense’ melting profile release in the mouth with a targeted texture.

CremoFLEX® F is a true ‘All-Rounder.’ The aim is to allow for a multi-sensory experience for end consumers. This introduction is particularly important right now as it overcomes many of the technical challenges involved in creating highly complex and customized product launches.

CremoFLEX® L is ‘The Equalizer’ as it allows you to achieve a healthier option due to the lower saturated fat content. This helps to fulfil the health requirements that are becoming increasingly important for consumers. As well as being healthier, it delivers a gentle, soft and prolonged mouthfeel profile, that enables you to achieve the right solution with an easy process.

CremoFLEX® E is ‘The Enabler’ within the range. If you are looking to avoid the use of palm oil due to specific market demand, CremoFLEX® E is the right solution for you. This variety enables you to create label-friendly options when developing new products without palm oil.

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate experts can work with the CremoFLEX® line of specialty fats to design the ideal customized recipe to answer your specific sensorial or functional requirements. By using different blends of carefully selected fats, an optimal filling can be designed. At the same time, FlexFillings solutions deliver excellent bloom retarding effects across various applications and do not require tempering.

When looking at nutritional and health aspects, sugar almost certainly seems to be the new demon for reduction. Cargill’s biggest advantage is that we can leverage our expertise within the wider group. This is why on multiple occasions we’ve been able to successfully help our customers reduce the sugar content of their finished products.

What food and drink trends are you seeing in the market at the minute?

These are unprecedented times. But the key trends around health, conscious choices, convenience and indulgent experiences are not going away.

While food and beverage consumers may be less willing to make major purchases, they will still treat themselves with indulgent products. They will want lower calorie, healthier products with beneficial ingredients, including those to boost their immunity. While they may be eating out less often, they will be looking to enjoy something special at home. At the same time, increased calls for home delivery options has only served to simplify their life.

At Fi CONNECT I’ll be speaking about the key trends that we are observing in the bakery and confectionery categories in Europe. Using Cargill’s TrendTracker, which is our proprietary perspective on food and beverage trends, I will highlight how these trends are present in the bakery and confectionery categories. I’ll focus on three macro trends that are particularly important for these categories: ‘Healthy for Me’, ‘Conscious Consumption’ and ‘Experience It.’

Healthy for Me: Today’s consumers are taking a more proactive, personal, and holistic approach to health. They seek to achieve balance and feel empowered to make their own decisions about what is healthy and what’s not. If we look at product launches, we see an increase in the number of bakery and confectionery products with a clean label claim, led by organic products and products without additives and preservatives. Another trend we are seeing is the growing significance of healthier oils in bakery and confectionery products, as consumer concern around trans fats, hydrogenated oils and saturated fats increases.

Conscious Consumption: This trend relates to people wanting to make decisions with a clear conscience with the knowledge they are doing the right thing. They see their product choices as a reflection of who they are and what they value. As a result, one trend that you simply can’t miss when talking about confectionery and bakery is the growing concern around sustainability. Consumers also expect complete transparency about ingredients, including origin and production processes.

Experience It: Consumers are placing a high level of importance on experiences. From minor to high impact experiences they need to be impressed and delighted to maintain interest. As consumers continue to be exposed to new types of products, experiential expectations will continue to rise. When talking about indulgence, of course, taste remains a top priority. But while taste remains critical, it’s no longer the be-all and end-all as consumers increasingly demand food that excites all their senses, including texture.

How do Cargill’s ingredients help manufacturers meet these trends?

Cargill serves food and beverage manufacturers, foodservice companies and retailers with food ingredients and solutions across applications. We offer starches, sweeteners, texturizers, cocoa, chocolate and edible oils solutions, as well as technical support and new product inspiration. With more than 2,100 R&D experts, we increase our customers’ speed to market around the globe. It is the sheer breadth of our portfolio and technical expertise that allows us to evolve and adapt and be fully in line with today’s trends. Furthermore, with our proprietary TrendTracker market insights, we continuously monitor the market throughout the year and partner with well-known research agencies and data providers to ensure that we stay ahead of consumer trends to offer our customers the right solution.

In terms of our CremoFLEX®, these products deliver both in terms of offering healthier options, as well from a sustainability and traceability perspective. When it comes to offering true sensory experiences, solutions such as the FlexFillings range show that the future of product development within confectionery and bakery is only limited by our imagination when it comes to flavors and textures

How has Cargill adapted to some of the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 has been the biggest disruptor that European industries, including the food and beverage sector, has seen since the Second World War. The pandemic’s impact has been dramatic in retail, foodservice and the food and beverage manufacturing sector at large. For manufacturers, it’s affected production, trade, marketing and innovation capabilities, and forced a change in ways of working.

But the key consumer trends around health, conscious choices, indulgent experiences and convenience are not going away at a consumer level. For the food industry, it means that the focus on innovation will remain key as consumer perceptions and demand patterns shift.

This background is motivating Cargill’s teams at our European R&D Centre in Vilvoorde, Belgium to continue to work hard on inspiring our customers with new product development concepts while managing lab capacity and learning how to connect with customers and colleagues in a virtual way.

We know that customers are counting on us more than ever for our technical support and new product inspiration. This is why we’re so proud that innovation work has continued safely at our labs.

We’re closely monitoring the COVID situation and its impact on consumers which allows us to proactively offer solutions that respond to accelerated consumer behavior linked to the pandemic.

For example, the increased rise of plant-based eating is one of the impacts on today’s market. This is why our meat, bakery, convenience and dairy teams partnered to create Cargill’s 'One Team Vegan Pizza Bolognese.' It contains plant-based alternative toppings containing pea protein from the meat team, a vital wheat and plant-based protein base from the bakery team, a tomato sauce containing native functional starch from the convenience team, and last but not least, a vegan cheese containing a functional system from the dairy team. It’s an excellent example of how our customers can meet the needs of consumers looking for vegan, vegetarian and plant-based options. And it really shows how proactive we are in prototype development, while leveraging our broad expertise to support our customers across applications.

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