With key topics including novel ingredients; salt and sugar reduction; and microorganism control; the event was hosted by food science and technology consultants Campden BRI at the NEC conference center during the Food & Drink Expo.
Among the speakers was Campden diet, health and nutrition specialist Fraser Courts, who gave a presentation on current diet and health issues with snack products.
In it, he considered how snacks can be developed for nutritional benefits including improving nutritional intake and aiding the metabolic state – and that they have come a long way from simply providing a ‘quick fix’ burst of energy with limited nutritive value.
“Despite historical connotations around high energy, high fat, high salt, and high sugar, snacking can be a force for good,” he said.
Attendees were told how the key purpose of a snack was to provide energy between mealtimes and that they needed to also be satiating to avoid consumers overeating.
“A more ‘filling’ (satiating) product lowers post-snack hunger, and theoretically total energy consumption,” he pointed out, adding that protein had been shown to delay the onset of hunger compared to fat in calorifically matched snacks.
Effect of structure of satiety
Courts also demonstrated how studies suggested the structure of a snack could affect satiety, giving an example that aerated drinks had been shown to reduce appetite for longer periods than non-aerated ones.
And he showed attendees there was a big opportunity for producers to fill gaps in consumer’s diets, with the National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealing that many consumers were failing to take in minimum recommended amounts of key micronutrients.
Why make healthy snacks?
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks after the seminar (see video above), Courts explained why snack manufacturers should be concerned about ensuring their products were nutritionally sound.
“The first is for competitive advantage,” he said. “This could be something that makes it stand out from the crowd, or a health halo that surrounds the product.”
“The second reason is corporate social responsibility. It is an opportunity for a business to show it understands the role of the food industry is nourishing the nation – and that they take that role seriously.”