Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Guiding with science in the food business

In Australia, with increasing focus on health and wellbeing, the food we eat is central to the discourse in this area. Kellogg Senior Nutrition Manager ANZ Dr Gina Levy discusses with Retail World the role of nutritional science in the food industry, especially in supporting a healthy diet, and the trend towards high fibre foods and ingredients beneficial in gut health.

For food manufacturers, keeping up with the latest trends means constantly monitoring nutritional science, trend data and the regulatory landscape, among other areas, to provide robust and evidence-based input into strategy and food development. Interpreting this data takes specific skills, which is where nutrition scientists play a role in the diverse and ever-changing world of food manufacturing.

What exactly do nutrition scientists in food manufacturing do in their role?

Nutrition scientists are uniquely placed to help guide food businesses with their food and nutrition strategy. They provide the input to guide decision making, which may include helping the business understand the nutritional environment, looking at future consumer and food trends, and examining the health benefits of food for the consumer. This also involves understanding and interpreting the science for commercial teams as they develop new foods and innovate in the functional health space.

Nutrition scientists play a key role in guiding food manufacturers towards making food healthier, either through reformulation to remove ingredients consumers want less of or providing guidance on which ingredients to add for better nutrition or a possible health benefit. From there, being able to communicate that to the consumer in a responsible and a transparent way within the bounds of the food regulations is where they play a key role.

What do you love about working in the food industry?

Often nutrition science and/or dietetics graduates don’t realise the breadth of roles that they can fill within the food industry. There are so many opportunities to use the skills learned in nutrition science to help bring better food to the population. This is what I love about my role working at Kellogg as the lead for nutrition and regulatory affairs. I feel like the work I do every day has a greater purpose and can enrich the lives of others as they enjoy the foods we make and gain the benefits of the positive nutrition we bring to the table, especially the breakfast table.

I find my role offers me the best chance to influence strategy and have a seat at the table, guiding the company’s position on food and nutrition – whether it’s providing healthy and beneficial breakfast cereals or developing products that give people enjoyment in their everyday lives. That sense of purpose is why I enjoy every part of what I do.

Working with some of the best marketers and regulatory, food technology and product development professionals in the business drives me to be better at my work and inspires me with new ideas and perspectives. It’s truly rewarding at the end of the day.

Read the article in full in the July issue of Retail World.

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