It’s been a year since Kerry Group acquired the Wellmune beta-glucan ingredient from Biothera Inc., just one of three acquisitions last year that added up to $735m in an effort to expand its taste and nutrition portfolio.
This year, the company has repositioned itself as the ‘Taste and Nutrition Company,’ and blending Kerry’s expertise in flavor development with its nutritional ingredient arm, the company is on a mission to crossover trending flavors into nutritional applications, which has been dominated by chocolate, vanilla, and citrus.
At the SupplySide West 2016 show, the company showcased an array of beverage prototypes in flavors ranging from berry beet and raspberry grape, enriched with the beta-glucan Wellmune ingredient, to bananas foster and vanilla chai.
‘Different proteins need different taste attributes’
When the company is looking at innovation, the strategy is to look at what is the next nutrientsource and how it can be flavored, director of global nutrition Satya Jonnalagadda told NutraIngredients-USA. “Different proteins need different taste attributes,” she said. “Especially seeing the growth of plant-based proteins—that is definitely an area we are focusing on in taste and protein technology.”
Flavors sampled weren’t all sweet—for protein-rich nutritional food, prototype chimichurri garbanzo soup and “mango fire” spicy bar were sampled out. The company hopes to spark manufacturers to produce more daring versions of popular nutritional food items like bars or shakes or effervescent tablets, in line with the packaged food and beverage industry at large.
“Whenever you see a study on consumers, you’ll see that taste is the number one driver,” said Jennifer Intagliata, VP of nutrition at Kerry. “If something is good for us, and we know its good but it doesn’t taste very good, we aren’t likely to purchase the product again.”