Food products are changing, and food brands have decided that they will never be same again. All the classic food recipes are embracing healthier versions. The companies are making moves to provide healthier versions of their old recipes. For example, Kraft announced last year that it will eliminate all the artificial preservatives and dyes from its iconic mac and cheese.
2015 saw some major revolution in food brands in the name of healthy food. The companies moving in this direction include big names like Kraft, General Mills, and Campbell Soup Co. The big food revolution will increase in 2016. “I think the new products are more than a passing fad. I think we’re several years into it and I’m not seeing this ever totally going away,” says John Ruff. John used to work at Kraft and was a former president of the Institute of Food Technologists.
John Ruff says change is not groundbreaking
In spite of all the major changes, Ruff does not find this groundbreaking. He has been working since 1968, and his career began in the U.K. Since then, Ruff has been a part of developing products that were deemed healthy by consumers. There were similar pieces of nutritional advice earlier that included eating more fruits and vegetables, less red meat, and less sodium. The diet fads also haven’t changed much. According to Ruff, the change is due to the advent of blogging and social media. It has become easier for consumers to voice their concerns and inspire a critical mass of others.
For instance, General Mills was sued last year for its new Cheerios Protein line. As per the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, there was only a small increase in protein content when compared to original marketing. Though the product’s sugar content saw a 17-times increase. Their action was considered as misguiding and misleading, and consumers raised a strong opinion against it.
“The industry has lost control of the discussion. It’s not new for people to have concerns about chemicals in food, for example just look at Rachel Carson, ‘Silent Spring,’ in 1962. But I can’t see the end to this in the foreseeable future,” Ruff said, adding that he’s urged food brands to push back against misconceptions concerning their ingredients.
Food brands understand that healthy food is now a necessity
Americans have an urgent need to eat healthy, and they need help with the rising obesity rate in the country. The nation has been dealing with the problem of obesity, and the debate still continues. Ruff continues, “I believe the industry as a whole has pandered to whatever consumers think is healthy. I think the problem is that we’re actually going to create a generation now that is eating less healthily than their parents, contrary to what everyone seems to suggest. Most of these changes aren’t making the product less healthy, but it’s certainly not making them healthier.”
John Ruff continues, “I’m not smart enough to be able to tell you what the food industry will look like in 10-15 years time, but I think it will be very different from today and the one I grew up with. I’m not sure the companies I spent my time with will still be around. I think it will be a very different world.”