Top 10 food and drink trends for 201206 December 2011
1. Health and wellness
While we’re engaging with food more than ever, our busy, chaotic lifestyles simply will not allow elaborate home-cooked meals during the working week. In addition, the development of new ‘ready meal’ concepts in the form of meal kits and premium offerings ensure that choice and quality of prepared meals are like never before.
4. Flavour solutions
Compensating for lower levels of salt, fat and/or sugar will continue to increase the need for more flavourful solutions. Combinations of herbs, spices and other strong flavours will provide a flavourful backdrop to many products – such as lemongrass, garlic and ginger or the use of seaweed as a salt enhancer.
5. 'Free from’ foods market
The crux of this market lies within the seemingly growing number of consumers who do not have a diagnosed food allergy but do believe their general health improves with the omission of certain foodstuffs from their diet for example avoiding wheat/gluten to combat bloating. Therein lies an opportunity for both mainstream manufacturers to highlight additional product benefits as well as allowing the traditional ‘free from’ brands to break the niche mould within which they’ve traditionally operated.
6. On-going demand for natural
While the hype around the natural trend has dampened slightly, the effects are on-going particularly as larger multinationals weigh up the cost/benefit of switching to natural components (e.g. food colours, flavours). However, the practicalities have set in and companies now need to consider issues such as the sustainability of supply as well as the longevity of consumer demand in their particular product area (e.g. those product categories with inherent natural associations are likely to remain in demand).
7. The budget conscious still seek affordable luxuries
Unrelenting pressure on household budgets will see retailers continue to flex their ‘value for money’ credentials, thus manufacturers will persist in their efforts to seek cost-effective solutions. Conversely, however, food is seen as an affordable luxury and therefore lucrative opportunities do exist, for example in the form of ‘staying in’ solutions (such as meal kits) and more premium offerings.
8. Quality linked to location
The demand towards locally-produced and -sourced fresh food including meat, vegetables, fruit, and cheese has not abated and will continue into 2012. Secondly, more exotic ingredients such as Madagascan vanilla will also benefit from an overt provenance message. The clear message is that location helps to give consumers a distinct impression of the product’s quality.
9. Over 55 and fitter than ever
Longer working lives and a strong interest in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is leading to the creation of more products which are tailored to the specific needs and wants of these consumers. Health benefits will be at the forefront of the market and this will be a key area of development for the functional ingredients market in particular (think glucosamine for joint health, and omega-3 products).
10. Softer claims
EFSA regulations have taken the shine off the functional health market and the cost/benefit trade-off of substantiated EFSA claims is unlikely to provide a strong competitive edge in most cases. Instead manufacturers will persist with seeking out a softer approach to deliver key messages to their consumers (within colour, imagery, and phraseology).
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