In their 45th Annual R&D Survey, Food Processing asked manufacturers about what they’re focusing on in 2016. Here’s what they had to say.

R&D Focuses

  • “Really new” product development will continue to be most important for R&D efforts this year, followed by “cleaning up” current products.
  • Food safety will continue to have the most impact on R&D strategy, followed by preventive health and organic/natural.


For the current product clean-up, manufacturers plan to:

  • Remove added sugars (28%), sodium (21%), trans fat (15%), and saturated fat (11%).
  • Add fiber (15%), fruits and vegetables (22%), and vitamins (11%).
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains (15%).


GMO labeling

  • 41% of respondents are in favor of mandatory GMO labeling, whereas 11% are opposed.
  • 17% say we need a national policy right now, while 48% say they will go along with it if it becomes law.

GMO ingredients

  • 36% of respondents are mildly or strongly supportive of GMO ingredients.
  • 27% are mildly or strongly opposed.

Non-GMO certification

  • 35% of respondents have or are seeking non-GMO certification, up from 23% last year.

Clean Labels

When asked an open-ended question about what they’re doing to make cleaner labels, manufacturers said they are:

  • Focusing on health and authenticity
  • Using stevia and natural colors
  • Taking out artificial flavors and colors, as well as chemical-sounding ingredients
  • Taking out fillers, binders, coloring, and unnecessary chemical additives
  • Exploring ways to be shelf-stable without preservatives
  • “Identifying ingredients that are banned for our company”

2015 Dietary Guidelines

When asked how important the Dietary Guidelines are to their plans:

  • 53% of respondents said they are “reasonably important.”
  • 12% said they are “huge.”
  • 35% said they will have little or no effect.

For more details and additional findings, download the full report.


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