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Purity, authenticity, sustainability among top food trends for 2012

Innova Market Insights has identified 10 key trends to impact the food and beverage market through 2012 and beyond. The top trends relate to purity, authenticity, and sustainability, as consumers continue to look for products with added value, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty.

“Pure” is the new natural: Natural products are becoming the rule rather than the exception in most Western markets, despite ongoing issues with a clear definition of what “natural” encompasses. One way around this has been marketing the “purity” of a product, with Innova Market Insights reporting a doubling in the number of products using the word “pure” between 2008 and 2009, with a further third added in 2010 and considerably more in 2011.

Green is a given: Corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies have taken on an increasingly important role. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions or packaging, or creating higher welfare or fairly traded lines. The “ingredientization” of commodities is also moving forward, with previously untapped waste materials used for their potential functional and health benefits.

Location, location, location: Interest in where their foods are coming from has never been higher among consumers. This is being driven by an interest in supporting local suppliers, a desire for ethnic-style lines, concerns over the quality and safety of imported products, or the demand for authenticity in terms of products from a particular country or region.

Premium stands out: Despite austerity measures topping the agenda yet again from mid-2011, a premium positioning provides many benefits. Consumers still have to eat and are likely to look increasingly to the extremes of discount or super-premium products, with centre-ground brands squeezed. A premium treat can be justified as an affordable indulgence during difficult economic times, particularly if it can also encompass a better-for-you element.

Seniors draw attention: Companies are starting to address the needs of an aging population, both in terms of packaging functionality and of general and specific health concerns. These descriptors are defining products: easy to open, easy to digest, easy to swallow, easy to read labels, lightweight packaging, reduced acid, for strong bones. Ingredients and packaging appeal to health and convenience. New EU regulations on labelling should also help seniors by improving the clarity and visibility of nutritional information. Various recent moves have been made in US front-of-pack labelling.

Forty is new twenty: There is increasing focus on successful aging, extending the middle years, wanting to stay fit, age well, to have an active, productive and rewarding life. All these issues are well addressed by media and of great value to this sector of consumers. There is interest in ingredients that will prevent dementia (ginko biloboa), enhance mental acuity, boost eyesight etc. Innova sees this as a big trend. Look out for growing interest in reserveratrol, with much attention on research that it positively influences the aging process.

Grounded in science: This takes on new prominence with the EFSA’s robust and stickler stance on health claims. Increasingly, there is opportunity for products that can use “scientifically-proven” claims, a label that offers much in trust to consumers. Several launches are already taking advantage of EFSA’s approval of vitamin C for immune health claim (accepted in October 2010).

Force a rethink: Governments everywhere are putting lots of pressure on food companies to address health issues such as obesity, salt reduction, trans fat, sugar etc. The number of products claiming no trans fat has skyrocketed. Even without the equivocal science, a great deal of work is being done in recipe reformulation, and the issues are much publicised and top of mind for consumers.

Unmeasurable niches: So many ways for small food companies offering niche products to survive – largely thanks to the opportunities granted by social media and alternative routes to market. Gluten-free products are one such example, albeit this trend has now moved more mainstream. It’s difficult currently to measure the size of this market. And it’s not only small companies who are operating in this arena, for instance, Nestle’s new luxury chocolate brand, Maison Cailler, personalised chocolates that are ordered on-line, and which will start operating in Switzerland in 2012.

Boom for protein: Protein is much in the news especially with growing interest in satiety and weight loss. While the global demand for animal protein continues apace (estimated 30% increase for chicken in next ten years), there is great scope for vegetable protein, and more meat-free alternatives.

Source: Innova Market Insights – view the support webinar here

Picture: Hoogesteger fresh pressed juices (Holland), a brand that reflects honest, unadulterated simplicity, uncompromising quality and taste.



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