Cargill eyes long-term growth with solutions in multiple sectors

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

© Suchat longthara / GettyImages
© Suchat longthara / GettyImages

Related tags Cargill Sustainability Dha healthy aging

Cargill is optimistic about the long-term future as it aims to cater to an increasingly diverse consumer base with its specialized nutrition portfolio, Niels Boetje, president of health and nutrition, told NutraIngredients.

“Cargill has been active in the nutrition space for over 40 years through early life nutrition, and today, one in 10 babies consume products containing Cargill ingredients,” he noted during the recent Vitafoods tradeshow.

“Early life nutrition has given us the foundations, and we want to expand on it.”

Boetje explained that the early life nutrition sector is experiencing an evolution towards more sustainable options.

“People want improved sustainability, and we meet that with our algae-derived DHA as a sustainable alternative to fish-based DHA,” he noted. 

However, he explained there are some barriers to using algae, notably the market's fluctuating growth and the impact of Covid-19.

“We’re coming out of a period which also has caused opaque market numbers, but we've seen a huge boom in the in the start of Covid, the market has begun to plateau,” he noted. 

Yet despite recent market contractions, Boetje explained that algae's growth potential remains attractive for the long term. 

“People can tend to focus a lot on the nearby, on a new product, but the effect of change happens in one or two years, and typically we underestimate the impact something will have in the next decade,” he noted. 

“DHA is one of those elements we’ll see more and more, and not just in baby formula or active nutrition, but formulated into other products.”

Sports Nutrition 

Cargill also showcased its pea protein, designed to have high solubility, emulsifying, and binding capabilities, for sports nutrition products. 

The demographic for the sports nutrition consumer has expanded, Boetje explained, noting that sports nutrition has traditionally focused on muscle recovery but has evolved to cater to a broader active lifestyle.

“This shift means that formulators are beginning to include a wider range of ingredients beyond just specialized proteins, incorporating carbohydrates, fibers, and healthy oils,” he noted. “Our goal is to help customers create formulations that support an active lifestyle.” 

Targeting consumers​ 

Cargill needs to target both the supplements and the fortified food space, Boetje explained, as the two sectors target different sets of consumers. 

“Those who take supplements tend to have a higher understanding of specific health benefits and prefer targeted solutions, meanwhile, food products with integrated health benefits appeal to consumers seeking daily nutritional enhancements,” he noted. 

As Boetje explained, fortifying food can serve as an entryway for consumers to become more educated about health benefits and potentially lead them to use supplements.

“While many consumers are interested in health benefits and changing their behaviors, changing behaviors can be quite difficult,” he added.

Healthy ageing 

Consumers are increasingly interested in extending their lifespan and ensuring those added years are healthy, Boetje explained.

While immunity remains a concern, financial considerations due to inflation also play a significant role in consumer decision-making, Boetje explained, noting that this has overall emphasized a shift from immunity alone to a more comprehensive approach to health.

"As people age, health becomes a primary focus, and alongside the impact of digitalization which is allowing people to monitor and access health information easily through apps and the internet, this living well for longer trend will only continue to grow,” he noted. 

“These gradual changes in the healthy aging trend are accumulating year after year and will increasingly become mainstream - there are definite opportunities in serving a broader community.”

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