–by Julie Simonson, Schwan Food Company

Editor’s note: As part of the Food Industry Thought Leaders (see article page 8), AURI will feature a guest column in Ag Innovation News to provide updates or interesting information from the food industry.

Julie_Simonson_May-2015Meeting consumer demand for foods with familiar ingredients is one of the biggest trends in food today. A recent Harris Poll survey indicates that 70 percent of consumers look for foods and beverages with a short list of easily recognizable ingredients.

Many companies, all the way from entrepreneurs to large companies, respond to this consumer demand. Since 2014, more than two dozen companies have publicly committed to eliminating certain ingredients from their food products, including food manufacturers, retailers with private-label brands and restaurant chains. All of these businesses target ingredients such as artificial food dyes, high-fructose corn syrup and other “chemical-sounding” ingredients.

The Schwan Food Company made a commitment to eliminate unfamiliar ingredients and provide an experience consumers increasingly demand. As a leader within frozen foods, the goal is to offer quality foods with ingredients found in your own kitchen. As a result, Schwan eliminated partially hydrogenated oils and artificial food dyes from all food made by its manufacturing subsidiary. Over the next two years, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors will also be removed. This effort is increasingly essential to compete in the market place with ingredient-conscious consumers.

Today, the food industry is in the midst of a huge cultural shift in how consumers view and care about what is in their food, and the food industry MUST actively respond through new innovative efforts to meet this consumer trend.