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02/08/2022 – Trends In Trade / Environment / Plant-Based / ADM / Manufacturing

Personalised, plant-based and the planet – Consumer priorities and NPD

Following ADM’s appearance at leading F&B innovation expo IFT 2022 in Chicago, the food processing giant’s Vice President of Marketing, Brad Schwan, discusses current and emergent consumer priorities, alongside how manufacturers can create solutions that meet the market demands of today and tomorrow. 

Q. Sustainable sourcing and transparency is rising up the agenda for many consumers with regards to their purchasing priorities. How is ADM addressing that concern?

Brad Schwan: “A reported 73 per cent of global consumers say they feel more positively towards companies that are transparent about where their products are made, raised or grown1. This consumer behaviour has only accelerated in recent years, with 58 per cent of consumers stating they will be more attentive to locality claims because of Covid-192. Sustainability is at the foundation of our efforts, and we collaborate directly with farmers within our vertically integrated supply chains to provide quality ingredients, including plant proteins, flavours, colours, sweetening solutions, oils and more. For example, we’re showcasing our marbled blood orange vanilla Sablé Breton concept at IFT, which features our responsibly-sourced vanilla through our joint venture with a farmer co-operative in Madagascar.”

Q. Many consumers are also seeking out more personalised or targeted health solutions. How is ADM addressing individual consumer lifestyles and needs through its portfolio?

“Consumers want options that align with their individual life stages, lifestyles and wellness goals – with many increasingly aware of the fundamental role that the gut microbiome plays on individual aspects of health. In turn, microbiome-supporting solutions like prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics are highly sought after, and consumers want to see these solutions incorporated into formats that can easily fit into their everyday routines, such as yogurts, kombuchas and snack mixes, as well as ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages and gummies.

“Our comprehensive research efforts and expert scientists continually identify new microbial strains that can meet targeted aspects of well-being, including our BPL1™* (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145) that can help support factors associated with metabolic health3, as well as probiotic solutions to support other areas, such as digestion, athletic performance, immune function, skincare and more. Moreover, solutions like our spore-forming DE111®** (Bacillus subtilis) and heat-treated strain BPL1™ HT are opening doors for more enticing, innovative and personalised product development due to their ability to remain stable during harsh processing conditions***. A great example of this is our tomato masala biotic snack clusters, which were available to sample at the ADM booth during IFT. The snack mix features sweet and heat flavours, and is highlighted by our plant proteins, prebiotics and probiotics.

“We also leverage our portfolio of botanicals to build highly sought-after products tailored to meet different wellness needs, including for relaxation, cognitive support and digestion. For instance, we have concepted a refreshing strawberry yuzu carbonated soft drink with guarana and yerba mate extract that consumers may associate with cognitive function support. Additionally, our fruity, herbal carbonated soft drink containing mango flavours and chamomile extract is intended to be a relaxing option for consumers.”

Q. The ever-evolving plant-based segment continues to gain momentum, how is ADM innovating to capture consumer attention in this area of the market? 

“The plant-based market continues to expand, as consumers demand alternatives to traditional protein offerings. Global plant consumers – defined as vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians – are greatly motivated by plant-based products featuring health, nutritional and environmental attributes4. 

“We have a long legacy in plant protein solution development. For over 75 years, we’ve continually advanced our knowledge and offerings in this space with the latest technology, processing techniques and ingredients. Our ever-expanding portfolio today includes well over 30 diverse plant protein sources, including pea, soy, beans and pulses, as well as ancient grains, wheat, nuts and seeds. Additionally, our pantry of flavours, colours and complementary ingredients help brands produce alternative and plant-forward offerings with exceptional sensory experiences and enhanced nutrition. Concepts like our ‘Plant Power Nacho Cheese Chip’ highlight the breadth of our portfolio by combining seven wholesome plant protein ingredients to create a crunchy and crave-worthy snack packed with protein. Moreover, we’ve showcased plant-based crumbles alongside the chips concept, further demonstrating our innovative plant-based solutions to deliver convenient and tasty alternative options.”

Q. What other key current and emerging consumer trends can you identify in the market? And how is ADM responding to these?

“Consumers want nutrient-dense, delicious, whole foods to support their holistic well-being, which includes emotional wellness. At the same time, consumers also desire new and exciting flavours that take them on a culinary journey to different regions around the world. Finding the right balance between well-being and enjoyment is necessary for developing new products across both food and beverage categories.

“For example, consumers love hard seltzers and want new flavours, but given consumers’ desire to live a well-balanced lifestyle, interest in beverages with 5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) or less has gained momentum in recent years. Using our pantry of natural ingredients, our expert flavourists can create intriguing spins on traditional offerings from around the globe, such as a twist on a classic ranch water blended with fruity notes of watermelon and the crisp flavour of prickly pear. We leverage our vast ingredient portfolio to help our customers create functional whole food offerings that support holistic health, provide nutrition and reduce sugar, yet also burst with flavour.”

Footnotes and references 

*BPL1® is a trademark registered for Biopolis S.L. in the EU and other countries.

**DE111® is a trademark registered for Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes, Inc. in the US and other countries.

***Local regulations must be reviewed to confirm permissibility of ingredients for each food category.

1Nielsen, What’s In Our Food and On Our Mind

2FMCG Gurus, “How Has COVID-19 Changed Consumer Behavior”, March 2021

3Pedret, A; et al. (2019) Int J Obes (Lond). 43(9):1863‐1868 

4ADM Outside Voice℠, Global Plant Protein Consumer Discovery Report, August 2020

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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