Fiber, gut health, plant-based and healthy diets lead LATAM consumer demands, Roquette says

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Nastco
© Getty Images / Nastco

Related tags: Protein, plant-based

Aurelie Mauray, Area Market Manager for Americas GBU Food at Roquette, tells NutraIngredients-LATAM about what consumers are looking for in Latin America and how the plant producer plans to answer them moving into 2020.

1​. What are Roquette's current operations and activities in LATAM?

In addition to its US footprint, Roquette opened an office in Mexico in 2006 and is also active in Brazil.

Beyond our own footprint, we operate in LATAM through distribution agreements with strategic partners, such as Brenntag. Roquette has appointed Brenntag as the preferred distribution partner for its food product range in North Latin America.

2. What are the top trends you're seeing in the nutrition, ingredients and functional foods in LATAM markets today influencing these? 

Health Focus International reported in their 2018 Global Trend Study that reducing sugar, eating clean, and adding fiber have become the three main priorities in the Latin American consumers’ diet over the last year making up respectively 65%, 59% and 48% of shoppers’ response.

  • Fiber

In 2019, the Group conducted a fiber consumer survey ​on the general population, in four countries (US, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil). The study reveals that demand for food with some fiber content is becoming common in consumers’ behaviors. More than 65% percent of consumers are regularly looking at the fiber content of finished products.

This behavior appears to be even more prevalent in Brazil and Mexico than in North America, with more than 80 % of consumers looking for fiber. Interestingly, the main reasons mentioned by consumers are the overall health benefits of fiber consumption, in addition to advantages for digestion and regularity.

  • Gut health

Gut health is a well-established area of interest for consumers. The digestive remedies market grew in LATAM over 2013-2018, mainly driven by unhealthy eating habits coupled with stressful lifestyles.

  • Healthy diets

Beyond that, Latin American consumers actively want a healthier diet, and adding protein is commonly known to consumers as a way of adding ‘health’ to their diet. In parallel, plant-based eating is emerging in Latin America where plant-based claims on packaging rose from 0.1% in 2016 to 0.3% in 2018 of new food and beverage launches according to Innova market insights. This movement is not a plant versus animal trend but viewed as a lifestyle change. Most consumers would add more plants as a path to better health, rather than avoiding animal products.

  • Plant-based options

The major plant-based products emerging in Latin America are alternatives to traditionally animal-based products such as dairy-free and meat-free products.

According to Innova Market Insights global trends survey, in 2019, health is the first reason that leads Latin American consumers to buy meat or dairy alternatives, followed by novelty, bringing variety to the diet. In addition to long-term health promotion, or disease prevention, eating clean is another key driver for choosing plant-based foods.

The retail sales of meat alternatives in the US are worth around $800 million in 2018, making the US the largest single market for meat alternatives globally according to Foodmetrix database from Innova market insights. And interestingly, Brazil is an emerging market with a huge opportunity for growth. Textured plant proteins are of high interest to meet this growing demand.

3. What are Roquette's plans for 2020 and beyond in LATAM?

Peas © Getty Images dlerick
© Getty Images / dlerick

Last year, Roquette celebrated the 40th anniversary of its US-based presence. Since 1978, the Group has expanded its footprint in the country through the establishment of three sites, complemented with a presence in Mexico (Querétaro), Brazil (São Paulo) and Canada to serve the food, nutrition and health sectors.

The Americas is a promising market with an enormous potential for Roquette. The Group has strong ambitions to develop its business alongside its clients in the food, nutrition and health sectors. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently confirmed the dietary fiber status of one of its ingredients, Nutriose.

Plant-based proteins is another key focus for the Group, and as such, Roquette plans to fully leverage its existing pea proteins​ offering to help its customers address a booming demand from consumers increasingly looking for a healthier lifestyle. Its new production facility in Canada, under construction, will help more than double the Group’s supply capacity.

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