Artisanal trend fuels ingredient innovation13 Sep 2018
Craft and artisanal food and drink launches have seen a global CAGR of 28% over the past five years, according to Innova Market Insights, and suppliers are responding with investment in authentic, clean label ingredients.
Artisanal products suggest small-scale production, but large manufacturers increasingly are looking for ways to tap into consumer interest, either by acquiring craft producers, or by launching their own premium brands. Words like “handmade” and “hand-cooked” have become more widely used, and more companies are calling out the origin or the minimal processing of ingredients, conjuring an image of homely, authentic, wholesome food. The trend can be seen across product categories, from savoury and sweet snacks to breakfast cereals, beverages, ready meals and more.
The beverage sector has seen one of the most pronounced moves toward artisanal production, from premium spirits and craft beer to cold-brewed coffee and artisan tea brands. For example, the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has formed partnerships with several craft beer manufacturers over the past few years, and has even launched a business unit dedicated to dealing with premium craft acquisitions. Meanwhile, in the UK alone, the number of trademarks registered for spirits and liqueurs rose 41% last year, according to the law firm RPC, responding to consumer thirst for artisanal brands.
On the ingredients side, flavour houses have responded to shifting consumer tastes with a range of authentic flavour options, from the exotic to the traditional. However, the trend toward natural and plant-based products is most clearly reflected in two big deals in the flavour sector in 2018: IFF’s acquisition of Israeli firm Frutarom; and Givaudan’s agreement to take a 40.6% stake in French natural ingredients specialist Naturex.
The trend for artisanal ingredients extends to fats and oils too, where functionality is a key challenge. Consumers are attracted to fats associated with home use, such as butter and olive oil, but these come with heat stability and shelf life issues. Therefore, suppliers are looking for ways to give manufacturers – and consumers – the best of both worlds. For example, Bunge Loders Croklaan has introduced a plant-based, clean label liquid margarine intended for both industrial and artisanal bakers, based on virgin oils from wheat germ, corn and linseed. It says the margarine adds a natural golden colour and even structure to baked goods, without the need for additives.
Cocoa is another key commodity ingredient that has attracted interest from major players looking to tap into demand for artisanal products. Mintel has predicted that cold-pressed cocoa could be the next big thing in beverages worldwide after the success of cold-pressed coffee in the US, and it suggests cacao nibs could also see a surge in popularity. In Europe, the market researcher says there is significant interest in cocoa and chocolate products that retain more of the nutritional value of cocoa beans, meaning companies could boost the artisanal appeal of their products by highlighting cocoa content and provenance.
With this in mind, Cargill is among those investing in premium chocolate, having made a €12 million investment in a liquid chocolate production line at its Mouscron facility in Belgium in 2018. It says it aims to offer more quality Belgian chocolate to its global customers in the confectionery, bakery and ice cream industries.
As more manufacturers look to profit from the trend for artisanal and craft foods and drink, their success will depend on several factors – most importantly, the authenticity of their ingredients and processes. Ongoing innovation in clean label, naturally derived and minimally processed ingredients is helping to take artisanal products from niche markets into the mainstream.
Exploring the future of plant protein in Europe
25 Oct 2019
Plant protein is one of the biggest food industry trends, but futureproofing the supply of sustainable plant-based protein sources poses big challenges.Read more
Premium chocolate gets a sustainable innovation boost
25 Oct 2019
Unusual ingredients and eco-friendly approaches to NPD have boosted the premium chocolate sector, which continues to grow rapidly while innovation in other chocolate categories has slowed.Read more
Hybrid drinks add sparkle to a struggling beverage market
21 Oct 2019
Consumers love to try new beverages, and a recent trend aims to straddle categories with drinks like tea lattes, carbonated juices, and fruit smoothies with plant milk.Read more
Plant-based foods and drinks spur new ingredient development
21 Oct 2019
The growing popularity of plant-based foods and beverages has boosted innovation among ingredient suppliers to meet diverse manufacturer demands, from dairy-free cultures for flavour and food safety, to flavours and emulsifiers for improved taste and t...Read more
Fermentation targets more eco-friendly ingredients
14 Oct 2019
Plant extracts like natural sweeteners and antioxidants make up a tiny fraction of the plants from which they are derived, meaning a relatively large land and water footprint. Could producing these compounds via fermentation be more environmentally and...Read more
Climate change fuels ingredient innovation
14 Oct 2019
From cocoa that doesn’t grow beyond a certain altitude, to wheat crops threatened by drought, the world’s changing climate presents many serious concerns for the global food supply. Enterprising crop breeders and ingredient suppliers are working on pot...Read more
Exploring the enduring appeal of quinoa
7 Oct 2019
Quinoa has become increasingly popular for several years, as consumers have turned to ancient grains and pseudo-cereals for their strong nutritional credentials. What does the future hold for quinoa?Read more
Organic foods on the rise among young Europeans
7 Oct 2019
Young people are now among the biggest consumers of organic foods and beverages in Europe – and manufacturers may need to rethink their organic brands if they want to appeal to the next generation.Read more
Are plant-based alternatives healthier than meat?
23 Sep 2019
Diets high in red and processed meat have been linked to a range of health problems, leading many consumers to choose more plant-based alternatives. But are fake meat products like burgers, sausages and nuggets really a healthier option?Read more
Turning the spotlight on titanium dioxide
2 Sep 2019
Titanium dioxide has been the main white pigment used in the food industry for years, but consumer groups and regulators have raised questions about its acceptability. What options are available for manufacturers?Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation