Author: Lu-Ann Williams
TOP 10 TRENDS 2015
Ten trends likely to impact the food industry in 2015 and beyond. Clear labeling, fashionable home cooking, novel proteins and marketing to a new generation ‘the Millennials’.
Innova Market Insights identified ten top trends for 2015 from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drink launch activity worldwide. Health works as a running theme throughout all of the top 10 trends, particularly in relation to ‘clear label’ and ‘real’ fruit and vegetables.
1 From clean to clear label
Consumers want to know where ingredients come from and understand what is in the products they eat. Clear communication and transparent labelling will be key to upholding and regaining consumer confidence. Clean label such as ‘natural’, are trending since a few years. However, with growing concerns over the lack of a definition for ‘natural’, there is a need for more clarity and specific details, and thus clear labelling in addition to clean labelling. Consumers, retailers, industry and regulators are all driving more transparency in labelling. Clean/clear label is now completely mainstream and represents a fundamental shift in the industry.
2 Convenience for foodies
Cooking from scratch is emerging as a cheaper alternative to dining out. Continued interest in home cooking has been driven by cooking shows on TV and by blogging foodies. It is seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as healthy and cost-effective. It has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers. Foodies will look for more premium, mix and match solutions. Also the variety of ethnic dishes available in meal kit formats is expected to grow.
Clean/clear label is now completely mainstream and represents a fundamental shift in the industry.
3 Marketing to Millennials
The so-called Millennial generation, generally aged between 15 and 35, now accounts for about one-third of the global population and is socially engaged and handy with computers. They are well informed, want to try something different and are generally less brand loyal than older consumers. They want to connect with products and brands and know the story behind them. Differentiation for Millennials is about returning to things with meaning, which can relate to origin claims or brands that donate to charity. Millennials allow food manufacturers to work with them, interacting via social media. This can create innovation that caters to their desires
4 Snack rise to the occasion
Quick healthy foods are tending to replace traditional meal occasions, due to increasingly demanding consumer lifestyles. More snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different times of day. Nutrition, convenience and portability are key, as these snacks need to fill, satisfy and keep you going through the day and need to be able to travel with the consumer. Nutritional needs for such snacks differ according to the specific moments of consumption and are related to time of the day.
5 Good fats, good carbs
With concerns over obesity, there is a growing interest in unsaturated and natural fats and oils, such as Omega 3 fatty acid. Good fats are back in favor, and so are foods such as nuts and butter, which are naturally high in fat. Butter is returning as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. In the same way, naturally occurring sugar is being favored at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Sugar is the new demon. Further growth is expected for sugar free product development, with new naturally sweet ingredients such as coconut oil. The latest trend is the claim for low in simple carbs, such as fructose. ‘Fructose friendly’ is said to function in a similar fashion to ‘gluten free.’
6 More in store for protein
The protein boom has been prevalent for years. Protein is moving from the niches to the mainstream with the mass appeal of such claims as ‘satiety’ and ‘everyday energy.’ Europe has seen an increase of 38% of total launches tracked with a protein claim, with cereals and dairy as key product categories. From the supply side, sources of protein are booming, with dairy proteins still growing strong. Pea protein is showing great potential for the future and insect protein is the latest hype.
7 New routes for fruits
More product launches are being tracked with real fruit and vegetables, as consumers perceive a product to be healthier when it contains a real fruit or vegetable ingredient. Fruit and vegetable inclusions can contribute to the ‘permissible indulgence’ character of a product. From an ingredient perspective, fruits and vegetable extracts can function as coloring foodstuffs and in that role meet the increased demand for natural colors and flavors.
8 A fresh look at frozen
In order to compete with the healthy appeal of fresh aisles and the convenience of canned foods, established frozen foods such as vegetables and seafood, are focusing on freshness in their marketing, stressing the superior nutritional content in frozen food. Brand extensions include wider varieties of vegetables and fruits. At the same time, the frozen segment is witnessing new product launch activity in new categories such as soups, fruits, drinks, finger foods, sauces, pastries and herbs.
9 Private label powers on
Private label brands are here to stay and are even growing in terms of category offerings. Private label is now even being found in categories where brand equity and loyalty among consumers is the highest, for example chocolate and personal care. This indicates that private label quality is not only improving, but the perception of it is also increasing. Discounters are no longer solely seen as budget stores by consumers, but are gaining acceptance and are considered to have good quality products.
10 Rich, chewy and crunchy
Texture is an important driver for taste perception for food and beverages and is the focus of many of today’s food innovations. Brands are creatively combining textures, for example crispy inclusions, soft centers and extra crispy toppings. Texture claims are more prominently on front-of-pack. Brands are also creative in describing texture or including a texture claim in a product name.