We started the year with a total match on the Trends content for 2021! In addition to the December video and the reminder post now in February, Ary Bucione, founder of NutriConnetion, is the guest of this month’s EntreMasters.
Check out the interview below.
Mastersense: Ary, tell us about your history with the health food and beverage market.
Ary Rosa Bucione: I am very attentive to health and well-being and I prioritize a lifestyle where the balance between diet and healthy habits are part of my daily life. Without any radicalism, I always look for solutions that bring a benefit to our health, but also provide pleasure to consume. And my first contact with functional foods was in 1994, more than 25 years ago, when Pfizer Laboratories, which operated a business unit with food ingredients, pioneered polydextrose, a very soluble fiber. And I was invited to create the project to introduce this ingredient in Brazil.
What are the biggest lessons learned during your work in this area?
ARB: Many. When I started my dedication to healthy foods and beverages, I realized that I needed to add new knowledge and started to turn my attention to nutrition, sports practice and consumer health. It was very motivating to know that I could help, with my products and knowledge, people through health recommendations. It was as if I, while developing my professional progress, was making a contribution to a healthier world.
In your opinion, what are the main challenges that the Brazilian industry faces to leverage the functional food market? And what is the role of food startups in this scenario?
ARB: The Brazilian food industry has an enormous challenge imposed by a country that needs to evolve in technology and add value. We are a leader in agribusiness, such as soybeans, which are the world’s largest exporter, but we still have a journey ahead in agribusiness. And this also applies to the functional market. In my opinion, the food and beverage industry can innovate with more products that meet consumer expectations. New experiences in flavor and texture must be complemented with products that add healthiness without losing the priority of good taste. More nutritious and tastier foods are and will continue to be alternatives to increase added value and differentiation. And start-ups, in this case the so-called food-tech, bring agility and versatility in the process of finding new products for the consumer, because they work with shorter, agile and more focused development cycles and apply the concepts of digitalization such as the internet of things translation of the English expression of IOT, internet of things, or machine learning, which is the information that arrives on the cell phone about what we are controlling. The 4.0 revolution. Not to mention the development of more objective communication with content that generates greater convergence in digital media.
How did the idea of founding NutriConnection come about?
ARB: Given the complexity of the Science of Nutrition, which involves numerous factors for its correct understanding and dissemination in view of the current needs of consumers, NutriConnection was created. We did a survey and felt that the market was looking for a consultancy with solutions aimed at the healthier segment, well differentiated and with information that allow decision making on new developments faster and with more results. In addition to being connected to consumer preferences and market movements, we always seek to identify what makes the difference without further complexities.
How can your work contribute to the evolution of the health food and beverage market?
ARB: We work with three main areas: market intelligence, scientific communication and consulting. Focused on these three elements, we offer 11 solutions that are prioritized with our special sector reports, content generation, training and specific consulting. We live in the world of functional ingredients and the aggregation of health benefits for the consumer when they are applied in food, beverages and supplements.
Tell us a little bit about how the 2021 Trend Report, released in November 2020, was built?
ARB: The year 2020 was the year that the world changed a lot, when the most certain became the uncertain. A virus without a life of its own has relentlessly affected everyone’s lives without exception. In this unprecedented reality, consumers started to seek more immunity to face this new situation and foods that provide more health became a priority. We started the 2021 Trends report by looking at the food industry as a segment of the corporate world, and this one serving the society that is made up of consumers. It also helped us a lot to invert the expression in English farm to fork, from farm to fork, and we decided to start with the consumer’s fork and find what can help the industry to work in what is now the new normal for us all. Many possible trends were detected and then we went on to identify the highest priority ones by highlighting the eight trends with the most convergence and the easiest adoption.
Which trends in the report are most strongly reflecting at this time?
ARB: As we’ve just started the year 2021, we’ve noticed that there’s a clear increase in attention to what the report describes as the Reinvention of Functional Foods and Proteins and plant-based growth. Then, looking at the other 6 trends in the report, we noticed a greater interest in aspects involving the Elderly group market and Home Cooking, the latter with the search for pre-prepared foods offered on supermarket shelves.
What tips would you give to those who want to undertake in the area of healthy food and beverages?
ARB: The answer is immediate. Share, resist and believe. Sharing is the essential principle of open innovation and allowing the participation of suppliers and consultants will help to make more assertive decisions. Resistance is achieved with actions linked to the strengths of the business and that allow for better and easier control. And last but not least believe that everything will pass.
I thank Mastersense for this opportunity in which I share a little of my history and the creation of NutriConnection. I hope that everyone involved in the health food and beverage market finds in these lines, inspiration, redoubled strength and a sense of balance for a year of 2021 with more energy and healthiness to overcome all challenges.