Eco-responsible, innovative… these new products that will wake up the food shelves
Crisis requires, many companies are wondering about the future of their model. And sometimes even, on their survival. Unable to apply the price increases necessary to pass on the surge in its energy bill, the company Cofigeo, which markets canned William Saurin, Garbit or Raynal & Roquelaure, thus had to resolve to temporarily halt its production. It is difficult in this context to think about what consumers expect… “Companies have activated firefighter mode and are finding it difficult to project themselves into the future”, confirms Marion Mashhady, co-founder of To feed tomorrow, an agri-food consulting company .
To combat the anxiety-inducing nature of the period, her company has involved the community of brands it supports in a time capsule project. At the end of January, some sixty big names, including Fleury Michon, Lesieur, Candia, Carte Noire, Danone and Brossard, locked up their idea of food in ten years in a box.
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A way of wondering about the course to give to their innovations. “Faced with global warming and shortages, agrifood players will have to reinvent themselves and pivot,” insists Sylvain Zaffaroni, another co-founder of To feed tomorrow. Already, the marketing teams have set their sights on sustainable food, in particular thanks to more energy-efficient packaging and production methods, even by betting on ingredients saved from the trash! But not only. Here are five avenues they are working on.
Focus on nostalgia
They are betting on the awakening of mythical brands
The recipe is well known: the best jams are made in old pots. And this is particularly true in the food industry, where the icons of the past make gourmets salivate in the present. The revival in start-up mode of legendary brands, left fallow in the portfolios of large groups, is therefore a very popular game (Treets, Mousline, etc.). By next March, Wonders of the World chocolate will be back. Star of the 1990s having disappeared from the shelves since its discontinuation by Nestlé in 2007, the brand was bought by the SME Krokola. At the peak of fame, he was selling some 10 million of these iconic tablets. They were recognizable by their large squares stamped with silhouettes of savannah animals. According to a recent study, the brand would still have a 30% awareness rate.
“Our first target is adults who will find their Proust madeleine and many of whom will then want to share this regressive pleasure with their children”, explains Alexandre Kanar, co-founder of Krokola with Amélie Coulombe. In early January, the duo launched a crowdfunding campaign on Ulule, to pay for the first production and to mobilize fans. The new generation brand will be produced with Max Havelaar certified cocoa. Always in relief, its squares will represent both the wonders of the animal world and the plant world, and its packaging will consist of collectible cards created with the publisher Bioviva. A brand of yesterday, ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
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Aiming for space to prepare for degraded growing conditions on Earth
Already thinking of space tourists, wine and champagne brands are wondering about the evolution of their precious nectars in weightlessness. A few good bottles have even already embarked for the International Space Station, while the Pernod Ricard teams have developed a Stellar version of their Mumm Cordon rouge champagne, to be enjoyed by the privileged few who will go on a mission, or even travel, in space. .
What menu should be served to the astronauts who will stay on the lunar base? This is the very serious question that students, start-ups and top chefs are also working on. Like the partnership signed last November between the specialist in molecular cuisine, Thierry Marx, the Purpan Engineering School and the Market of National Interest, in Toulouse.
Their objective ? Develop production tools, plant varieties and recipes suitable for on-board food in space. Because the idea of small pills supposed to provide all the nutrients necessary for the body has fizzled. Too bad for the psychological balance of astronauts! However, seeing actor Matt Damon struggling to grow a few potatoes in the film “Alone on Mars” makes it clear that the thing is not obvious.
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Obliged to think about it for its race for the stars, the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) has set up an incubator dedicated to these questions, TechTheMoon, in which the start-up Orius is already developing a vegetable garden adapted to lunar conditions (gravity, temperature, light, available inputs…) and capable of growing different varieties of cabbage. Like others before them, these innovations created for the space sector must serve much more down-to-earth issues. Tomorrow, these technologies will make it possible to grow fruits and vegetables locally, regardless of the surrounding climatic conditions and in a quasi-autonomous manner.
These brands that choose to produce in circular mode
Cocoa shells left behind for chocolate making, apple pomace discarded in the preparation of cider, or unsold loaves of bread in bakeries are all waste that is no longer a question of wasting. . Seeing these man-made foods end up at the bottom of the food scale (animal food, methanizer, mulch, etc.) seems like a huge waste.
Rolling up their sleeves, a slew of entrepreneurs are trying to make better use of these products, using them as food-processing raw materials. Like Charlotte Desombre and Amandine Delafon, co-founders of Cocomiette beers, in which part of the malt is replaced by bread crumbs, or Colette Rapp and Adeline Girard, who make their Re-Belle jams from excluded fruits agricultural sorting…
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In Nancy, Marie Eppe created the In Extremis brand. Not only are its biscuits intended to be of better nutritional quality than their competitors, but part of the flour used for their manufacture is replaced by bread powder, the company of which has organized the collection, drying and grinding in its workshop. . In two years, In Extremis has saved 2.5 tons of unsold bread and hopes to double its production this year.
It remains to educate consumers. “Anti-waste has a connotation of a broken price, while the “upcycling” (recycling from above) approaches are expensive”, insists Marie Eppe, whose bread powder costs 4 euros per kilo, compared to only 1 euro for wheat flour.
Think new recipe
It’s the revolution in the world of chocolate
Medicine and aeronautics are not the only sectors where scientific research makes it possible to rethink the way of designing products. In the food industry too, the oldest manufacturing methods can be reviewed and improved significantly. It is not a question of reinventing the wire to cut the butter, but of taking a new path to produce an ingredient or a recipe that was believed to be immutable.
This is currently the case in the chocolate industry. At the end of last year, Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading chocolate manufacturer, revealed the fruit of ten years of research in its laboratories. An innovation that the giant simply considers “the second generation of chocolate”. By modifying all stages of production, from cultivation to roasting of cocoa beans, including fermentation, the manufacturer has managed to produce a purer chocolate, containing 60 to 80% more cocoa than the recipes. current and less bitter, which allows it to do without vanilla and soy lecithin.
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Its dark version therefore only contains two ingredients – cocoa and sugar – and three for the milk chocolate. A novelty that food manufacturers must now take ownership of and that they could integrate into their biscuit recipes or their confectionery within one to two years.
These giants who are taking a (big) step towards reducing packaging
After having been essential for food safety, plastic has become persona non grata on all shelves. It must be said that this revolution has led to excesses, in particular the development of “portionable” or the multiplication of over-packaging, often for reasons having nothing to do with food protection. Today, it is a total reset of the market which imposes itself on manufacturers in terms of packaging. Rethinking how products are stored, transported from factories to stores and then to private kitchens is not easy.
Already, overpackaging has, for many, begun to disappear. It remains to review the primary envelopes. Bottled waters are far from the only ones seeking new paths. Danone recently upgraded its iconic yogurt pot, abandoning polystyrene in favor of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), to finally make it recyclable.
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Paysan breton (Laïta cooperative) has launched butter in a cardboard pot, while Lay’s crisps (PepsiCo) have managed to retain the crispiness of their Paysanne or Old-fashioned recipes while switching to packaging made from vegetable matter. Even the little black goes green. The launch by Café Royal of a machine with compacted and compostable pods puts pressure on the sector, whose switch to capsules has revolutionized use at the same time as it has caused an explosion in the amount of waste (aluminum or plastic). In a few months, it is Nespresso (Nestlé) which must take the compostable path, with four references to start, out of the quarantine in its catalog. You don’t suddenly shift the center of gravity of a giant…
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