Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK JUNE 2018 Food & Beverage Trends 46 As coconut sugar continues to grow in popularity, manufacturers and distributors will likely face unique challenges in the form of sugar industry resistance. The research on sugar, at first glance, appears to be mixed. A 2016 literature re- view published in Annals of Internal Med- icine claims that dietary restrictions on sugar are based on low-quality evidence. 11 But digging deeper, the real story emerges: Scientists are speaking out on the dangers of excessive sugar intake, and the sugar in- dustry is pushing back with "science" of its own. In 2016, The New York Times report- ed on the above-mentioned literature re- view, which lambastes health experts who advise consumers to cut back on sugar. 12 The pro-sugar Annals review, which con- cludes that "guidelines on dietary sugar do not meet criteria for trustworthy recom- mendations and are based on low-quality evidence," declared the International Life Sciences Institute (ISLI) as its primary funding source. The New York Times re- porting found that ISLI receives funding from food and agrochemical corporations, including General Mills, Kraft Foods, Co- ca-Cola, Monsanto, and Hershey's—a clear conflict of interest. The New York Times' reporting also unveiled a variety of methodological and scientif c shortcomings in the review, and compares the paper to tobacco industry ef orts to inf u- ence scientif c literature on the health ef ects of smoking. Against this type of backdrop, companies in the coconut sugar niche could soon face a unique challenge: navigating the war be- tween scientists and Big Sugar without get- ting caught in the crossf re. Coconut Jerky: High-Protein, Meatless Jerky Coconut's appeal to the vegan market ex- tends beyond dairy alternatives. Now, the ingredient's unique oil and fat prof le has made it ideal for use in meat analogues. Kelly Shone, director of innovation for Bioriginal (Saskatoon, SK, Canada), says that the popularity of coconut oil has led to market saturation that forced coconut prod- uct manufacturers to innovate. T e result is surprising new products like Bioriginal's co- conut jerky. "We saw multiple supportive trends that helped us identify coconut jerky as some- thing that would appeal to multiple markets," Shone says. "Consumers are looking for more choices in their coconut products, which is why brands that have diverse lines will be the most successful." Bioriginal's coconut jerky—launched last year at the Natural Products Expo West trade show—also capitalizes on the glu- ten-free and high-protein verticals. Shone says that coconut's healthy oils and unique fatty acid prof le make it ideal for use in a jerky. However, he notes that market trends and supply chain issues present challenges that coconut product manufacturers will need to plan for in the future. "We have to make sure that we're ready for any issues that come up, whether that be a supply mat- ter due to tropical storms or common stor- age problems associated with coconuts." Shone says that Bioriginal plans for these challenges with a well-planned supply chain shaped by close and careful analysis of the latest market trends. Coconut Market Still Fertile Ground for Innovative New Brands NP Nutra's Gomes says that the coconut products industry is currently undergoing signif cant diversif cation, with industry players developing products to meet con- sumer demands for functional foods and beverages, dietary supplements, and even cosmetic products. She points to coconut's Coconut's unique oil and fat prof le has made it ideal for use in meat analogues. PHOTO FROM BIORIGINAL

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