27 February, 2023 |
On February 12-17, 2023, food factory executives from Australia, Germany, Korea, Peru, and a dozen other countries met for the 2023 Adventist Health Food Association (AHFA) Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. According to Adventist World, the theme was “Connect, Reflect, Thrive,” and the goal was to “provide performance reports, get updates on best practices, and reflect on experiences, challenges, and opportunities for the health food industry around the world.”
One of the conclusions that market researchers presented throughout the conference was the potential for growth of Adventist food companies, due to current health food trends. The head of retail solutions and innovation at IRI New Zealand, Debbie Simpson-Pudney, acknowledged the complexity of the current food industry due to the economy, yet also pointed out longer trends toward health remaining stable for higher-income consumers. “Health and wellness continue to be top of mind for consumers,” she said. “Menopause, sports recovery, plant-based food, and functional foods continue to grow in supermarkets.” (Plant-based foods have actually shown double-digit increases in more developed countries.)
Adventist World writes that there is increased popularity of “products that are said to promote gut health (organic multi-grain bread, for instance), fermented foods (such as sauerkraut and coleslaw), immunity boosters (natural juices and sugar-free cereals), and antioxidants (selected berries juices).”
Sustainability was another long-term positive trend prompting conversations on packaging, upcycling, and waterless products.
Church-managed food companies find themselves at an advantage, having promoted these trends for many years before they became popular. Now, the focus is mainly innovation and high-quality products:
“Adventist health food companies in New Zealand and elsewhere are jumping on this trend to increase sales and reach more people’s homes with options for better health…In South Korea, Samhyook Foods has steadily increased the production and sales of soy milk in the U.S., Chinese, and Japanese markets. In particular, Sahmyook soy milk is getting more recognition across Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, where it is number one in soy milk sales,’ a promotional video reported.”
Australia and New Zealand, have Sanitarium’s So Good soy milk. In Argentina, Alimentos Granix has entered the snack market with healthy alternatives. In Peru, Productos Unión is number one in sales of whole grains and flour bread options in the country. Finally, Mexico’s Alimentos Colpac has seen a steady increase in its sale of ground soy protein as an increasing percentage of the population seeks ways to tackle the record obesity and diabetes epidemic affecting that nation.
The impact goals are both physical and spiritual. Colpac CEO Luis Enrique Meza Escobar shares, “Our mission is not only to make healthy food but to share the message of Jesus Christ.”