BENEO offers functional ingredients derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat. Here, Jens Böhm, Regional Sales Director Europe at BENEO, discusses key industry trends, and how COVID-19 has impacted the industry.
What has your business done to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis?
With the crisis ever evolving, we have experienced a higher demand overall. However, thanks to the continuous dialogue with our customers and internal flexibility, we have been able to innovate and adapt our approach to ensure orders are fulfilled. This shift has required much higher levels of communication with our customers to ensure that demand and supply are continually coordinated, and we are very thankful for the strong relationships we have with our customers that allow this to happen.
What do you see as being the most important trends when we come out of the other side?
From a consumer perspective, topics such as inner defence staying fit and healthy are all front of mind at present and therefore broader issues such as gut health and weight management are also of increased interest to them.
Ever since digestive health was dubbed a ‘mega-trend’ back in 2010*, there has been growing consumer understanding of the positive influence a healthy diet has on the gut microbiome and its beneficial effect on a person’s overall well-being.
As a science-driven provider of functional ingredients that promote health and well-being, we are glad to see that the voices of scientists worldwide are being heard in in the public arena, and this in the longer-term can only be of benefit to consumers and the food chain alike.
What is really exciting you at the moment about your business?
From the start, I have said to the team that in these challenging and disruptive times, we need to ‘stay close to our customers, partners. This is the time to make a difference!’. The team has really embraced this and, given the drastic change in circumstances, have reimagined our sales approach and found new ways to adapt to this challenge by taking advantage of the digital tools available.
Since then, several initiatives have been kicked off with the aim of staying connected to customers and partners through a continuous exchange of advice and training. Amongst other things, this has included workshops for R&D, regulatory and marketing teams to support them in their innovation developments so they can hit the ground running when lockdown measures are eased.
*Source: New Nutrition Business, Julian Mellentin
BENEO will be exhibiting at Food Matters Live 2020.