Sustainable nutrition: Health and immunity will be very high on the agenda

Posted 4 May, 2020

Pen & Tec is a specialist consultancy with over 18 years’ experience advising companies on the regulatory requirements for the food and animal feed industry in Europe. Dr Hannah Lester, Scientific Director, Pen & Tec, shares her insight into the future of sustainable, healthy and nutritional food and ingredients and alternative protein sources.

Q: What has your business done to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis? 

A: These are difficult times for many businesses, and it has been very important to analyse, plan, and get on top of this issue to ensure business continuity. Fortunately, at Pen & Tec, we had already started a digital transformation of our business and our team was already used to teleworking.

During this time, we have implemented new customer relationship management software and found new ways of working smarter. At the core of our decision making has been the health & safety of our team, and we have tried to support everyone by establishing routines, setting up virtual meetings and coffee breaks, opening up communication channels and trying to make the most of the current situation.

As we are unable to travel to meet customers and network at events, we have had to adapt our approach. It has been crucial for us to stay in contact with our clients, our audience and deliver a valuable content, tips and advice that might be helpful for them. Also, this time is just the perfect time for learning, so we have launched a series of webinars that cover hot regulatory topics and industry trends, and we have launched a YouTube page featuring all our digital content. We plan on holding more virtual events in the future and an “ask the expert” programme, where companies can ask us regulatory questions live. We are also developing a series of short animated films that explain certain regulations and regulatory processes, which will be informative and useful for people to understand. We want to connect with our clients and to closely replicate the spirit of partnership to offer them something useful and informative.

Q: What do you see as being the most important trends when we come out of the other side?

A: Teleworking will become the norm and companies will need to adapt to be able to manage teams remotely. Travel and big events will be slow to start up again, so companies will be more reliant on virtual meetings, conferences and events so businesses will need to rethink how they network connect with customers and clients.

During this pandemic and coming out the other side, health and immunity will be very high on the agenda. Consumers are becoming more educated and concerned about the food they consume and their health, and also the effect that the food they eat has on animal welfare and the environment. Current thinking on the origin of COVID suggests a spill over of the virus from wild animals to humans. Thus, we think there will be a shift in eating habits (transition to vegan or plant-based diets) or shifting to another form of protein and eating more healthy food to contribute to well-being and immunity. New sustainable, healthy and nutritional food and ingredients will become one of the leading trends and have actually emerged as the winners during this outbreak as share prices have sustained good growth during this period. We also foresee that consumers will start buying more locally because of travel restrictions and disruptions to supply chains.

Q: What is really exciting you at the moment about your business?

A: The food industry is fast changing and dynamic. There are lot of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle trends appearing worldwide. People are more concerned about the food they consume, where it comes from, its ecological impact and its nutritional qualities. This is the time to bring to market new innovative ingredients!

More and more companies are developing innovative and sustainable alternative protein sources, as well as bringing novel foods with either novel ingredients or novel manufacturing processes to the markets where these foods have not consumed before. This is very exciting for Pen & Tec as we can help companies to bring these products to market and can build a bridge between the commercial strategy and regulations in the most efficient way.

Q: How are you involved with Food Matters Live in October?

A: We are delighted to be a sponsor of Food Matters Live in 2020. This is the third time we have participated in the event and we will be presenting the award for “Best New Ingredient of the Year”. We are proud to be able to be a part of this award that is introducing the most innovative companies and ingredients to the industry and World.

Food Matters Live will take place at London’s O2 InterContinental on the 13-14th October 2020.