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Support from concept to commercialisation

The Food Supplement Nutrition (FSN) category has experienced huge growth and adaptation over the course of the previous decade and packaging specialists Tetra Pak are perfectly placed to help key stakeholders make the most of the growing consumer market looking for more FSN products.

Tetra Pak, a leading processing and packaging solutions company, has followed the FSN category closely and in that time has built up a strong product and solution offering for the industry.

“When we talk about FSN we are referring to meal replacements, special dietary products, and protein drinks,” said Lily Jones, marketing associate, Tetra Pak.

“It is from the mainstream product to a more unique product for a consumer who may have specific needs.”

Jones said a lot of factors had contributed to the growth and evolution of the FSN space and Tetra Pak’s market insights and expertise has helped the company to stay ahead of this trend, in turn developing solutions well suited to evolving market needs.

“We are starting to see that become hyper personalised and specific to a consumer’s needs, their demographic, and other key areas,” she said.

“This shows the impact of consumers being able to seek out the knowledge they need to best address their dietary needs and wants.”

And a better-informed consumer base means manufacturers are better placed if they address the consumer’s needs.

“We are starting to see consumers become more empowered by this and products are beginning to adapt as a result,” said Jones.

“I think that within five to ten years’ time we will start to see super personalised products that are tailored for those specific needs.”

Jones said the increasingly health-conscious consumer base has also had an impact on the growth of the healthy ready-to-drink sector.

“The protein space has been foreign to consumers until recently,” she said.

“It was mostly for the super engaged people in the segment and the base knowledge wasn’t as extensive as it is now.

“We have swung from not having that deep understanding to being able to use the internet to really fill in those gaps of knowledge.”

Jones said the norm in the past, for meal replacement drinks, would be to only develop a basic ingredient structure.

“We still see it now, most of the products on the shelves are meal replacement drinks with basic ingredient structures,” she said.

“Now we are starting to see ready-to-drink formats become more prominent and it helps reduce the barrier for many consumers. It makes it easier for the consumer.”

The rise of the plant-based sector has also impacted the FSN and meal-replacement beverage space in a very positive way, especially when it comes to alternative sources of protein.

“The impact of the plant-based sector has also resulted in some big changes, especially over the past five years,” said Jones.

“There has been significant growth in milks, but we are also seeing ingredients and a lot of the proteins within FSN being derived from plant-based sources.

“Pea protein is a main ingredient that has big growth, because it is the closest to replicating dairy.”

And the rise in fitness consciousness has had an equal impact.

“Fitness has become mainstream and there are so many branches coming out of that, especially around diets,” said Jones.

“You can choose from so many diets and plant-based is perceived as healthy and being able to find non-dairy replacements from those proteins has really grown as a result.

“New plant-based ingredients are introduced all the time, not just for milk replacements but also for FSN. It’s about being able to replicate the nutrition of dairy but in plant-based forms.”

As Jones echoed, ingredients are largely driven by benefits being sought by consumers, and the proof is in the sector’s growth, and consumer feedback.

“We are starting to see a lot of ready to drink products with collagen in them to promote skin health,” she added.

“And with COVID, people became a lot more aware of their mental health so ingredients like nootropics have become prevalent for brain health.”

Image: Tetra Pak

Upcycled ingredients have also proven a beneficial area for ingredients, especially as the industry and the wider population push for more efficient and environmentally friendly forms of production and output.

“In terms of sustainability, the use of upcycled ingredients has also become popular,” said Jones.

“Which is using by-products of other industries or products and putting them into a new product to increase the sustainability and efficiency benefits.

“With categories like FSN, they move very fast and it’s important to be on top of that, especially around packaging.

“Tetra Pak needs to stay on top of trends and needs around ingredients so we can process the new ingredients coming up.”

A great example of some of the packaging Tetra Pak has developed for the FSN space is its Tetra Prisma
Aseptic carton.

“The standard and hero pack, especially in the US where the FSN market is large, is the Tetra Prisma Aseptic with DreamCap,” said Jones.

“The key sizes for the FSN category are the 250ml, 330ml and 500ml. The DreamCap is designed to support on the go consumption, which has become a key trend in the transition away from the powder.

“For kids where a mother wants to pour it into another vessel is another area where a cap can really come
in handy.”

Tetra Pak’s innovative packaging solutions, such as the Tetra Prisma Aseptic with DreamCap, demonstrates the company’s packaging and
market expertise.

Jones said working closely with key stakeholders and customers, as well as consumers, provides invaluable insight for Tetra Pak. Insight that they put to good use.

“Our marketing services are there to support customers from concept to commercialisation. We really aim to use our market insight expertise about what is happening, which helps inform our customers. We can also help with recipe development in our product development centres, which is a key benefit for this category.

“We can also support customers to identify specific ingredients they may want in order to claim a certain benefit to a particular consumer.”

One such brand who has recently entered the Australian market with the support of Tetra Pak is OLOE. The OLOE Shake is a premium, plant-based functional beverage to provide daily support for energy, muscles, digestion and more.

“We had a concept to create the OLOE Shake functional beverage and understood that the levels of complexity involved with the nutritional profile, selection of organic ingredients and desired taste/texture profile would make this very challenging,” said Jones.

“The Food Science / Technical team at the Tetra Pak product development centre were incredible to work with and guided us through the entire process.

“Their extensive industry knowledge and willingness to closely collaborate at every stage from lab trials to the pilot production, ultimately helped us reach our goal of making the OLOE Shake dream, a commercial reality” says Harin Rajeswaran OLOE Co-Founder.

Image: Tetra Pak

To help produce the highest quality FSN products, the company has also developed the Tetra Pak Industrial Protein Mixer to boost efficiency with foamless liquid protein mixing.

This mixer, which is fully automated, helps to solve the problem of foaming when mixing any liquid food protein source, including high-viscous ingredients.

Powder ingredients are added to a feeding hopper and transported into the mixer by vacuum. Liquid ingredients enter the mixer gently via a tangential inlet and blend with the powder
under agitation.

The mixer combines a unique suite of technological features to eliminate expensive product losses caused by foaming while simultaneously raising product quality in protein food and beverage processing. All while reducing downstream equipment cleaning and maintenance.

All of this shows how Tetra Pak is constantly researching and developing new products and solutions which are a direct result of market and consumer forces in play.

To learn more about Tetra Pak’s offerings in the FSN category, visit www.tetrapak.com.au

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