The state of the art of food ingredients’ naturalness evaluation: A review of proposed approaches and their relation with consumer trends

Dario Battacchi, Ruud Verkerk, Nicoletta Pellegrini, Vincenzo Fogliano, Bea Steenbekkers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Food naturalness has been the subject of several recent studies and is a key trend in the food industry. There is currently no comprehensive legal definition of food naturalness, which is a multi-faceted and complex principle composed of many aspects. Naturalness-influencing aspects constituting naturalness of food ingredients are similar to those already investigated for finished food products. Scope and approach: Two research questions are posed in this review: • To what extent are the naturalness criteria for food ingredients set by ISO technical specification 19,657 “Definitions and technical criteria for food ingredients to be considered as natural” in line with the latest trends in consumer studies, reviews and reports on the topic? • What aspects contributing to naturalness of food ingredients are the most present across food ingredients’ categories? The first question is answered through a review of governmental sources and scientific literature related to food naturalness and its evaluation. The second question is addressed through four case studies. Key findings and conclusions: ISO TS 19657 evaluates food ingredients' naturalness and only partially fulfils consumers’ requests. To build up a more comprehensive evaluation system, other aspects e.g. farming practices should be taken into consideration. The case studies presented in this review paper highlighted this need for a more extended basis for naturalness evaluation of food ingredients. A gap between technical and safety need for processing and consumer perception of processing in relation to naturalness emerged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-444
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Volume106
Early online date16 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Consumer studies
  • Framework
  • ISO TS 19657
  • Natural ingredients

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