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09/19/17

Canada’s new food guide is shifting away from meat and dairy. Do you have a plant-based strategy in place?

The Canadian government has just issued draft recommendations for Canada’s new Food Guide. Unlike the previous Canadian Food Guides, these recommendations were deliberately developed without consultation from industry but instead were based on almost 20,000 responses received from Canadian consumers.

The three main areas of differences with the recommendations for Canada’s new versus the current Food Guide are a) the focus on eating patterns instead of food categories and b) the emphasis placed on the importance of including a “high proportion of plant-based foods”1 and c) the impact that certain food choices have on our environment.

Under the “Guiding Principle 1” of the draft recommendations, the focus is on the importance of eating nutritious and wholesome foods such as vegetables along with fruit, whole grains and plant-based proteins.

The draft recommendation goes even further advising that the shift to plant-based foods will help Canadians eat less red meat. As well, the recommendation provides food suggestions that can help consumers with busy lifestyles. For example, the recommendation includes the suggestion for Canadians to choose items such as “fortified plant-based beverages” and “pre-packaged foods and beverages for convenience.”

Included in the draft recommendation is the suggestion to shift to foods that contain mostly unsaturated fats rather than mostly saturated fat. To consumers, this is encouragement to shift away from foods derived from animals such as cream, high fat cheeses and butter and meats containing high levels of saturated fats.

Under “Considerations”, the draft recommendations acknowledge the impact our food has on our environment. Again, emphasis is placed on a shift towards diets high in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods that are associated with “lessor environmental impact”.

Phase two of the draft recommendation provided all Canadians the opportunity to comment online of the proposed guide until July 28, 2017 with plans in place to publish the results in late 2017. In early 2018, part 1 of the new dietary guidance policy report for health professionals and policy makers will be released with part 2 consisting of healthy eating patterns and recommended amounts and types of foods scheduled to be released in early 2019.

What does this mean to manufacturers and product developers?

Given the large emphasis placed on plant-based proteins in Canada’s new Food Guide recommendations, now is the perfect time for any food and beverage company to create and implement a strategy in anticipation of addressing the growing demand for plant-based protein products expected within the marketplace

This is especially important given that consumers today, are not even waiting for government implementation of these guidelines. For example, 38% of consumers are claiming to eat meatless meal once a week or more. (Source: Innova Market Insights 2016 surveys). The percentage of consumers claiming to be vegan/vegetarian (once considered to be a very niche market) has jumped 600% in the last couple of years to represent 6%. The new food guidelines should continue to fuel this already growing trend toward plant-based food consumption.

With the long lead times associated with modifying existing product formulations and even greater lead times required when creating and launching new product innovations, it is important to start as early as possible. Given the complications associated with working with plant-based proteins, it is best to work with an ingredient supplier that has the experience and knowledge to guide a company effectively through the process on how to modify every day foods and beverages as well as how to create innovative product concepts from scratch using plant-based proteins.

The speed at which small, entrepreneurial companies are launching new products into the marketplace that address today’s consumers health needs, is another reason not to wait.

These are exciting time for Canadian consumers and there is no better time for food manufacturers to help consumers improve their eating habits today by providing a wide variety of convenient, plant-based protein food and beverage options.

Interested in receiving a plant-based protein trend presentation or application support for any product development opportunities? Please contact your Dealers sales consultant or 905 458 7766 or info@dealersingredients.com.

1Source: Pippus, Anna (2017, July 12, updated July 18) Progress! Canada’s new Food Guide will favor plant-based protein and eliminate dairy as a food group. HUFFPOST. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/progress-canadas-new-food-guide-will-favor-plant_us_5966eb4ce4b07b5e1d96ed5e


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