What is healthy food about? A farm product grown without chemical feed, or “pure”, without impurities and additives in the composition. Maybe gluten-free or plant-based? Manufacturers create new images of new products, and everyone strives to get into the coveted niche of wholesome and healthy food. Who wants to eat harmful? Fewer people! But so far they themselves do not know what to look for on store shelves, and what kind of food can be safely called healthy.
Founder and CEO of the SimplyGreen brand
Once Tatyana Taurine, the founder and CEO of the SimplyGreen brand, prepared a healthy breakfast for herself and her family. Then she was still practicing as a nutritionist, she did not think about business on “healthy food”. A sports doctor of a famous Russian football club accidentally saw a box of chia pudding and oatmeal and immediately offered Tatyana a production contract – it sounds fantastic, but this is how the business began, which has already entered well-known retail chains and is actively looking for its consumer. Nowadays it is not only athletes who are concerned about healthy eating. Consumer consciousness is being rebuilt, and Tatiana dreams that everyone can afford chia pudding and quinoa. And what today – we will ask her about this especially for the readers of the FBJ.
– What is healthy food in your interpretation?
– First of all, this is a system and products that have a positive effect on health, replenish the resource, fill with energy and provide a full, harmonious human life. Everyone has their own set of products for the “ideal diet”: for some, the source of health and longevity is in a steak with blood, and for others – in a leaf of lettuce.
– How do you think, when there was an explosion of interest in this topic, how was it provoked?
– In Russia, we have seen an active interest in healthy eating for the last five years, in the world – for the last ten years. It seems to me that several factors at once provoked it. There are obvious reasons, among them global obesity. According to the WHO, in 2019, almost 800 million people on our planet were overweight. But there are also non-obvious reasons – the pace of our life has accelerated significantly. Technologies have appeared that allow us to get information faster, work at maximum speed, instantly analyze a large amount of information and make quick decisions. We are accustomed to doing everything quickly – and eating, too, on the run, whatever is horrible, just to satisfy hunger, without even realizing the benefit or harm we get at the moment of eating food. Thus, poor-quality nutrition, consisting of empty calories, chemical additives and trans fats, has become the main cause of serious illness. Doctors sounded the alarm, and the concept of “healthy eating” has become firmly entrenched in our everyday life.
– Which manufacturers can be fairly classified as players in the healthy food market, by what criteria do we make such a selection?
– Many are trying to “enter” the niche of healthy eating, because it is fashionable, and the composition of the product they produce, at best, remains useless for the health of the body, and at worst will harm it.
This number includes, for example, many vegan cheeses and sausages, which are full of harmful additives such as starch, colors, flavor enhancers and emulsifiers. A person thinks: since this is a vegetarian product, it means that it is healthier than ordinary sausage. But in fact, there is no benefit, rather the opposite! You will be surprised when you read the formulations of this product from most manufacturers. A supposedly healthy cereal bar snack often consists of sugar syrup, starch, and possibly some cereal.
Natural composition is the main criterion for a product that can belong to the category of healthy nutrition. However, in addition to chemical constituents, there are also killer foods that are often found in pseudo-healthy foods: refined white flour, refined sugar and trans fats. Even if the pies your grandmother made from flour, butter and sugar are the tastiest, they won’t be beneficial to your health, no matter how much you want them to! The foods that we can categorize as “healthy” are as whole as possible, natural in composition, and do not contain refined flour, sugar or trans fats.
– How would you segment the healthy food market in Russia?
– In recent years, the healthy food market in Russia has grown enormously. I think all healthy alternatives to unhealthy desserts, cakes and chocolate will evolve pretty quickly. Our population’s dependence on sugar is too high, but at the same time consumers are becoming more conscious and demanding of the quality and composition of products.
– Do not you think that everything is confused in the mind of the consumer: he does not know what a healthy diet really is, and this erodes concepts, values, benchmarks in search of the shelf, etc.?
– Unfortunately, this is so. This stems from marketing and lack of knowledge. My mom buys chocolate marked “Bitter” and she is sure that it is useful because the media are broadcasting this myth. Meanwhile, the bar she bought contains neither cocoa beans, nor cocoa butter, but only dark chocolate flavor, sugar and stabilizer. I repeat: read the compositions written in small print on the back of the package, and not the pretty phrases “low in sugar,” “fewer calories,” “healthy breakfast,” and so on.