Consumers are turning more towards clean-label products, according to Riccardo Agostini, export business manager at ingredients mix firm Chimab.
To demonstrate what it can offer to the market, the Italian company was active at Gulfood Manufacturing in Dubai last week.
“In meat we substitute the phosphates with other types of ingredients such as proteins and fibres, and we replace nitrates by using vegetables and other natural extracts to substitute anti-oxidants,” he told GlobalMeatNews.
“Nature has already given us all the answers to all the problems we have; we just need to study what the advantages are to use one plant or another plant, or another vegetable extract to go in one or another direction.”
‘Consumers are not ill-informed’
Agostini said that the demand for natural extracts was rising year after year. By anticipating this, Chimab was able to position itself well to meet customer requests. It isn’t just about replicating a taste, but the components that make up a meal, he said.
“Consumers are not ill-informed,” he admitted. “They know what they want and, once you try something new, then you want it. It’s not a question of ‘I went to Thailand and ate amazing food’ – you then want to taste the same at home, you want to eat the same.”
Having already established itself in Europe, Chimab is now pointing its focus towards the Middle East, where markets, although geographically close, are not necessarily consistent.
“Every country has different requirements because people have different tastes and wants to have different traditions,” said Agostini.
“If we compare well-developed countries, such as the Emirates, to closer not-such-developed countries, there is a huge difference. The Emirates is a market for rich people, salaries are higher and there is a lot more money. But if you go to a country like Iran or Turkey, then the situation is totally different. People don’t have such high salaries.”