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Unpicking no’s 6-10 of Innova’s Top Ten 2017 trends

While “transparency” is the new rule of the game continuing to take clean labels to the next level, craft products or those mentioning “handmade” or “crafted” continues to be a massive trend – here’s picking up on the top trends ranked at numbers six-ten on Innova Market Insights’ 2017 list. (You can read about the first five here).

6. Plain Sophistication: As a stark contrast to the mid-eighties when food was deliberately described as “imported” like Scottish salmon and French champagne, the trend has come full circle with “grown locally,” also jumping out on labels. 

As Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, puts it: “This whole idea of what is sophisticated and premium to eat has really gone all the way back to the farm.”

Consumers are willing to pay that little bit more for an indulgent products offering momentary escapism and premium quality. This is especially the case for a burgeoning middle class in developing markets.

There is a return to the original basics of a brand to highlight origin through classic branding and packaging. Well-known brands are offering something else to their portfolio on the premium end of the scale.

High quality products with an authentic and sophisticated look are being created by large scale companies.

The number of new products using the word “craft” or “crafted” increased by 248 percent from 2011 to 2015, with alcoholic beverages, confectionery and bakery as the leading market categories.

Initially it was beer that drove this trend but now there are many more manufacturers look for opportunities in this space. 

A case in point is Hellmann’s mayonnaise which has traditionally been “made” with a couple of simple ingredients, but now its label reads “carefully crafted” which resonates with the simplicity of ingredients consumers are looking for as well as denoting that it comes from a good place. 

For the first time Heineken launched a variant of its flagship beer called H41 Heineken Lager Explorations made with wild yeast found in Patagonia and the 41 refers to the latitude where it’s found – this ticks so many boxes and responds to several trends because it’s from nature, it’s transparent, it’s craft and special. 

7. Encapsulating Moments: Different moments require different foods. Consumers ask themselves ‘do I need an on-the-go yogurt for a busy weekday morning or an extensive family spread for a relaxed Sunday morning brunch?

Targeting specific moments is becoming a powerful weapon for marketers, especially in categories like snacking. There is a lot to learn from the sports nutrition space, where targeting the moment goes beyond marketing itself.

These types of products are optimised to the moment before, during or after exercise; for maximum efficacy.
Manufacturers are increasingly targeting specific consumption occasions. There has been a 125 percent rise in new products featuring the word “office” as a claim/feature (2015 vs 2014). Use of the word “school” is up 24 percent over the same period. 

There is a lot of segmentation and positioning of foods based on the different moments or time of day that a food can be eaten, including a huge interest in snacking and on-the-go and now words and phrases like “in the car” or “on the road” can be measured as well.

8. Beyond Pester Power: Kids have become influencers in a big way. While “pester power” was behind typically less healthy shopping 10 to 15 years ago, kids are now often setting the family dinner agenda themselves.

Cooking programs even exist that specifically target kids because today’s youngest generation is open to new things and influencing what their parents eat at the same time. The days of neophobia are over and their role goes far beyond pester power.

Food & beverages launches targeting kids increased by 18 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, and in dairy, children’s launches grew by 33 percent when comparing these years.

It used to be the case that food and beverages with a cartoon on them, deliberately placed at eye level for kids and tapping into the brands and franchises that children love was enough to encourage them to desire such products and therefore pester their parents to buy them.

“Kids have moved on a lot more since then,” adds Williams. “We are seeing a big increase in kids specific targeting. Kids are interested in more than the just the cartoons – and they like to cook.

“Japanese restaurants are full of kids. Who would have thought 10-15 years ago that kids would eat sushi, kids love to try new things, eat with chopsticks and so on.

“Kids are influenced by so many different things nowadays. In Europe a lot of kids are interested in everything Japanese, so what else could you do with that?”

US company Revolution Foods provides home-cooked “nutritious,” “fresh” and “tasty” food for school lunches and are now beginning to launch products in retail but they are not the boring traditional school lunches; they are exciting and flavourful meals.

“This one (trend) has a lot more space to go,” adds Williams. 

9. Fuzzy Borders: The most innovative products are being observed at the crossroads of different categories. Boundaries are blurring as innovators continue to capitalise the potential of hybrid innovation and fusion.

Completely new product groups and categories arise, to tempt the palate of the adventurous consumer. At the same time, other trends are inspiring a rethink of retail positioning as a whole, where the rise of flexitarian diets has led the meat department to effectively evolve into the protein department.

Popped claims and popcorn are moving beyond the popcorn category. The number has quadrupled in snacks (excl popcorn) when comparing 2015 and 2011 launch numbers.

“We have seen more and more products that are ticking more than one box.”

A couple of examples are Califia Farm’s launch of dairy-free cold brew coffee with salted caramel and made with almond milk. It’s indulgent, a morning snack, or maybe even eaten with cereal.

While Innocent Smoothie Plus is packed with energising ingredients like guarana and kirsebær – so is it a smoothie or energy drink? This hybrid product could be consumed in the morning instead of coffee or as a “pick-me-up” afternoon snack.

Other examples include McDonald’s in Italy launching the Nutella sandwich and Starbucks introducing a nitrogen-infused version of cold-brewed coffee. 

10. Seeds of Change: Increasing consumer interest in previously exotic seeds like chia and quinoa has fueled the application of seeds in general. Seeds bring a natural source of flavour, texture and health, including a high protein content and consumers are looking to benefit.

Lesser used seeds such as hemp are making NPD inroads, while chia itself is popping up in unexpected categories such as soft drinks.

Chia seeds are finding their way into the food industry. There were more than seven times as many products tracked containing chia as an ingredient in 2015 compared to 2011. Gluten free, omega 3, fibre and high protein claims are common on these products.

Seeds are also used as a source of flavour, texture and for their nutritional value (protein especially). Pumpkin seeds have been popular in Germany and Austria for a long time and now Activia has added them to yogurt giving a totally different type of product and experience.

“If you start paying attention to seeds and grains, you start seeing them everywhere. It’s a big trend because it also crosses so many categories and we see it in so many different regions of the world.”

There are a lot of small companies and entrepreneurs entering the market and being very active…a lot of these small companies have a huge voice but not necessarily a huge share of category but still they’re changing the way consumers think about their food.

Top ten trends for 2017: 
01. Clean Supreme
02. Disruptive Green
03. Sweeter Balance
04. Kitchen Symphony
05. Body in Tune
06. Plain Sophistication
07. Encapsulating Moments
08. Beyond Pester Power
09. Fuzzy Borders
10. Seeds of Change

An Innova webinar on its 2017 trends can be viewed here!

Related reading:

‘Clean Supreme’ leads Innova’s Top Trends for 2017