ARLINGTON, VA. — A tidal wave of health and nutrition trends is headed towards the baking industry – and you either sink or swim.

That’s the message that Julian Mellentin, founder of New Nutrition Business, preached at the Tortilla Industry Association’s webinar on Tuesday during the iba.CONNECTING EXPERTS trade fair. Although brands can feel like corks afloat in the ocean of consumer trends and preferences, Mellentin highlighted concepts that can help turn the tide in your favor: honest indulgence, better carbs and the power of fat.

New Nutrition Business provides strategic market insights into all things food, nutrition and health — focusing on trends with lasting impact. Although studies show that health and nutrition are at the forefront of some consumer’s minds, Mellentin shared one thing will always trump low-calorie and low-sugar labels: indulgence.


“Nutella, for example, is 56% sugar and contains palm oil, and we’re told that consumers reject sugar and reject palm oil,” Mellentin said. “Some of them do, but some of the are perfectly willing to accept those ingredients if it gives them the pleasure and indulgence they’re looking for.”

Simply put, if people want a cookie or a slice of cake, they want something that tastes like the real deal – even if it isn’t the healthiest. But the real sweet spot lies in bringing health-friendly indulgences to the table, which Nutella is also doing through small convenient snack packs. If you can create a product that is low in sugar or calories, tastes great and has the added bonus of convenience – that’s the perfect combination.

“Fragmentation will allow for expansion into several different health food categories, honest indulgence is a great strategy, and above all – taste and texture reign supreme.”


Another major factor in consumer health and nutrition trends is the fragmentation of health beliefs and behaviors. Thanks to the vast amount of information on the internet, many consumers believe different things. Just think about the changing views of fat, eggs, red wine and dairy over the last few decades. “Dr. Internet” leads different consumers to different conclusions – opening the door for many different health-focused products.

Some of the health-haloed trends that have taken the spotlight include the search for better carbohydrates. A New Nutrition study showed that 29% of consumers were trying to eat less carbs and are looking for more health-conscious bread and wrap items or replacements. Popular products include animal or plant protein-based wraps, including ketogenic cheese wraps, breads and tortillas with a certain amount of vegetables in them, or even “thinner” sources of carbs like Grupo Bimbo’s sandwich thins.


“Some people will believe fat is good and some people will believe it is the devil,” Mellentin said. “But fat brings taste, texture, and satiation. Health-aware and plant-based consumers, especially younger female consumers, are making that choice to consume fat.”

Mellentin’s parting words of advice for brands? Embrace these consumer trends, because they certainly aren’t going anywhere. Fragmentation will allow for expansion into several different health food categories, honest indulgence is a great strategy, and above all – taste and texture reign supreme.

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