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Today’s consumers are a finnicky bunch and trying to appease their demands can be a manufacturer’s most difficult balancing act. Some studies point to the desire consumers have for sweet treats that bring back happy childhood memories, while others underscore an overwhelming majority who want to limit sugary intake. Then there’s the success of terms like ‘all-natural’, ‘non-GMO’ and ‘artisan-style’, and even more surveys that confirms that customers would be happy to pay extra for an added indulgence.

With all these food factions forming, what’s a manufacturer to do?

“One short-term fad turned long-term trend is free from,”​ Eric Quirin, EMEA sales director for Chaucer Foods told BakeryandSnacks.

“It’s a path more and more companies are taking to meet the growing demand for healthy, safe and environmentally friendly food options.

“With the right ingredients, it’s also a way to incorporate delicious, sweet or savoury selections that can make people forget about what they might be missing out on and remember only a taste they’ll come back for time and time again.”

What does this mean?

“Imagine being someone who constantly has to scan labels to ensure the food you’re shopping for is free of one ingredient or another. Or being a parent with a child who could die from one overlooked ingredient.

“Free from products successfully dwindle down the stress of not knowing if this food or drink will cause an allergic reaction,” ​said Quirin, adding the World Allergy Organisation estimates that 2.5% of the global population suffers with a food allergy, but the spread of prevalence data is much wider, ranging up to almost 10%.