Dr Hazel MacTavish-West is a food product creator, entrepreneur and communicator with extensive experience in plant and food science, as well as a proven track record with new product development.

Thanks to funds from a Churchill Fellowship, Hazel was able to undertake her ‘odyssey’: 10 weeks investigating food and product development trends in Europe, meeting dozens of food manufacturers and industry experts, visiting over 25 supermarkets to review product lines and attending 15 trade fairs and conferences.

Hazel has now finished her final report capturing the huge amount of insights she gathered throughout her trip.

In this massive effort, she’s distilled her experiences into key lessons about how the Australian food industry can incorporate more vegetables and fruit into value-added, convenient and healthy foods.

Some of the biggest food trends that Hazel sees as offering opportunities for our sector include:

  • Plant-based alternatives to animal-derived products
  • Vegetable-based products with added seeds, grains and legumes
  • “Work-in-progress” vegetable products
  • Meal kits
  • Snack products
  • Cultured foods designed for gut health

In this report, Hazel analyses these trends using real-world product examples, interviews with experts about consumer preferences and motivations, and case studies of growers and food manufacturers who are enjoying retail success with new products that capitalise on these opportunities.

The full report provides a thorough analysis of the new product landscape in Europe, from production to packaging.

As well as discussing trends, each section features in-depth discussions of the science and logistics behind product development, including the machinery and preparation techniques required to turn product concepts into reality.

To learn more about Hazel’s tour and to read a digital copy of her final report, visit her scholar profile on the Churchill Trust website.

While Hazel’s tour was funded by the Churchill Trust in its own right, Hort Innovation also funds Churchill Fellowships for levy-payers using the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative, and co-investment from the Winston Churchill Memorial Foundation and contributions from the Australian Government.

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 7 August 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!