Jim Zallie, Ingredion
Jim Zallie, executive vice-president of global specialties and president of Americas for Ingredion.

BOCA RATON, FLA. — When it comes to specialty ingredients and driving value, Ingredion, Inc. has taken the approach of looking through the lens of what’s on trend, said Jim Zallie, executive vice-president of global specialties and president of Americas.

In a Feb. 21 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, Mr. Zallie identified seven consumer trends that he said “really shape our innovation focus.”

The seven trends are: clean label, convenience, cost reduction and affordability, food protection, health and wellness, indulgence, and low/no calorie.

In his presentation, Mr. Zallie touched on a few of the trends in detail.

“So clean label is a very, very large growing trend here, globally right now, where consumers are looking for less chemical sounding names, simple or more familiar ingredients that they can understand,” he said. “From a standpoint of traceability, Ingredion supplies a range of non-GM identity preserved sweeteners and specialty starches for these applications, for example. Another (trend) would be health and wellness, where you’re talking about nutrition minus, where, say fats or salt would be removed. Or nutrition plus fortification, where fiber-based ingredients or protein fortification would be added, and that’s where we come in as well.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum is indulgence, Mr. Zallie said.

“Consumers want products obviously that taste good, and where we come in is, we can bring rich creamy textures,” he said.

While Ingredion is focusing all its innovation through the lens of the seven consumer trends, the company also has established five customer benefit platforms: clean and simple, health and nutrition, affordability, convenience and performance, and sensory experience.

“What I’d like you to take away and remember about Ingredion is that we believe that we understand texture, as well as a flavor company understands flavor and the consumer appeal a flavor brings to a product,” Mr. Zallie said. “And we’re taking it to the level of really understanding consumers and specific eating occasions and even their mood as far as what benefits — what they are attracted to from a standpoint of textural preference — and we’ve invested significantly in that capability.”