Low fat is making a comeback. The demand for reduced, low-fat and no-fat products has ticked back up after several years of decline. When shopping for food, 21% of U.S. adults said that low fat was a top-three factor in their purchasing decisions in 2021, up from 16% in 2019. And more than one-third (36%) of Americans who try to eat healthy agree that low or no fat is an important factor. (Mintel)
When researchers dug deeper, the dairy food group eclipsed all sectors for reduced, low or no fat. In fact, 52% of consumers said they’re seeking out lower-fat dairy products. (IFIC)
Yes, reduced fat products are regaining their prominence as a contributing factor in consumers’ overall health.
There’s a caveat, however… Consumers won’t compromise quality. Unlike previous ingredient “solutions” on the market, Grande Custom Ingredients Group delivers consumer-preferred products that are both nutritious and delicious. Read on to learn more about the challenges of most reduced-fat formulations and how Grande Custom Ingredients products overcome them.
The Challenge: Functionality Without Fat
Even though sales of reduced, low or no-fat foods are on the upswing, consumer perceptions remain mixed. Reduced-fat foods like soups, sauces, dressings and other dairy-based products have generally failed to compete with their full-fat counterparts when it comes to flavor and texture.
That’s because fat plays a critical role in a food’s functionality. The cellular structure of fat creates the creamy mouthfeel and texture consumers crave. Fat is also a carrier for flavor, encapsulating and retaining flavor molecules to create a sensory experience. It is also a delivery mechanism for the release of nutrients.
The bottom line? Remove fat and you often remove flavor and functionality.
To combat reduced flavor and texture, formulators traditionally introduce difficult-to-pronounce ingredients while still never quite achieving the original product’s quality. Consumers won’t settle for the low-fat formulations of the past. Instead, they’re opting for clean-label products that offer true nutritional benefits and don’t just substitute one “bad” player for another.
Manufacturers will need to shift their focus toward the overall health claims of products while rivaling full-fat formulations for taste and texture. In addition to clean labels, corporate transparency, sustainable practices and ethical sourcing continue to gain momentum among consumers.
Innovative Solutions for Food Formulators
Returning to the days of using fresh dairy in formulations brings with it a host of issues, not the least of which is their high fat and calorie content. Notably, price volatility and unreliable supply chains can eat away at profits. More concerning is the ability to achieve consistent quality, flavor and texture that will appeal to consumers and result in repeat purchases.
Grande Custom Ingredients Group is a leader when it comes to enhancing texture in low-fat creamy and cheesy applications with their clean label ingredients, including:
- Grande Bravo® — consumer-preferred functional whey protein that partially replaces cream in soups, sauces, dips and other creamy applications
- Grande Gusto® — consumer-preferred reduced lactose whey that enhances texture and flavor in cheesy applications
These all-natural dairy ingredients are well-recognized and accepted among consumers as a healthy, low-fat ingredient, and their nutritional claims resonate with consumers’ continued desires to manage weight and maintain active lifestyles.
Manufacturers can promote lower fat and calorie products that align with consumer expectations of clean labels using Grande Custom Ingredient Group’s Grande Bravo and Grande Gusto. Their proprietary processes provide formulators with high-quality ingredients that enhance flavor profiles, texture, viscosity building and mouthfeel, and can be used in a wider range of applications.
Using all-natural whey protein products results in consistent pricing, and our dedicated dairy producers help eliminate supply chain issues.
To learn more about the unique properties of our vast assortment of functional whey protein ingredients and how they can improve your products, reach out.