By Kavita Karnik, Global Head of Nutrition, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs:
Concerns about wellbeing and healthy eating are at the forefront of consumers’ minds more than ever before, with food producers responding by reformulating for healthier versions of foods and beverages such as with reducing calories, sugar, and fat and also to incorporating ingredients that deliver science-based benefits.
To support businesses navigating the world of nutrition science and food technology, at Tate & Lyle we have established a new digital Nutrition Centre that brings together tools for developing innovative and healthier food and beverages.
The Nutrition Centre is intended as a foundation for advancing credible nutrition science behind our ingredients, research partnerships, education and customer collaboration, run by my colleagues in the Global Nutrition Team.
The Nutrition Centre will feature articles about the latest topics of interest for the food and beverage industry – from keto diets to gut health to immunity – written by independent dietitians and researchers. It aims to be broadly accessible, with technical research papers available for those who want them, as well as easy-to-understand infographics and videos, to reach people at all levels of scientific literacy.
It is a dedicated space to showcase our science and thought leadership. For our customers, this is a window to the science behind our ingredients, whether they are interested in usage levels or tolerance, or looking for ingredients which can provide a particular health objective, such as blood glucose level management. It is not just about one ingredient, but how to combine ingredients, providing full solutions to problems.
We want to encourage new research collaborations with both companies and universities. The Centre highlights our existing research partnerships and findings, such as our work with APC Microbiome Ireland, at the University College Cork and Teagasc, where researchers have screened dietary fibres for their potential health benefits. We have also partnered with A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) in Singapore to explore how using soluble dietary fibre could reduce glycaemic response.
The outcomes of these research projects are published in high impact global journals for wider access to insights.
Public health benefits
Tate & Lyle’s understanding of ingredients and how they can be used in various applications – whether for calorie and sugar reduction, or as positive nutrients through fortification– can help meet not only customer expectations but also public health goals.
The Global Nutrition Team has, for example, partnered with data analytics company Crème Global to model how fibre reformulation could improve health in the UK. The study found potential population-wide health gains from adding fibre to several popular foods, including a 13% reduction in heart disease risk and an 8.6% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next ten years.
We are also proud to collaborate on education efforts, such as a course on fibres, jointly provided by Tate & Lyle and Nestlé. Other courses and presentations available via the Centre include one from the British Nutrition Foundation on low-calorie sweeteners, and another from the American Society for Nutrition on low-carbohydrate diets, both produced in partnership with Tate & Lyle.
The Covid effect
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every part of the food industry, and the development of the Nutrition Centre is no exception. Its opening was fast-tracked because of the pandemic.
We created the Nutrition Centre to support our customers’ increased demand for ingredient science and to help fill the gap the pandemic has left with reduced opportunities for in-person education and conference presentations.
The world has changed. We know there are far more ways to share information. We will continue to build on this tool, and it will only be more valuable going forward.
Eventually, we hope to return to in-person events and meetings alongside the virtual Nutrition Centre – particularly for networking purposes – but for now, please contact us online.