Innova predicts 2016 top trends30 Nov 2015
The "clean eating" trend has inspired a back to basics approach in product development and is an overarching theme in Innova Market Insights' Top Ten Trends list for 2016, which also notes the rise of the flexitarian.
The "clean eating" trend has inspired a back to basics approach in product development and is an overarching theme in Innova Market Insights' Top Ten Trends list for 2016. New global products tracked with "organic" claim have risen from 6.3% in the first half of 2013 to 9.5% in the first half of 2015. A surge in "free from" launches and "flexitarian" options has also been reported."Clean and clear labeling and 'free from' foods have all gained traction and moved on to the next level during 2015," said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. "While other emerging trends for 2016 include the rise of the part-time vegetarian ('flexitarian') consumer, interest in a return to food processing the natural or old-fashioned way, the search for permissible indulgence and the re-establishment of links to 'real' food."Top Trends for 2016 are led by:
- 1. Organic Growth for Clear Label:"Clear label" established itself as a key trend in 2015, with greater transparency and the focus on simpler products with fewer artificial additives taking "clean label" to the next level. The biggest surge in NPD has been reported in organic products, indicating that this will be a key platform going forward in the short term, although the challenges involved may result in more beneficial platforms for clear label in the longer term.
- 2. Free From For All: Many consumers don't actually need products that are free from gluten, wheat and dairy, but are demanding them anyway, as they believe them to be healthier. Industry has little choice but to respond and the recent surge in mainstream gluten free products has been incredible. Other "free from" platforms are also gathering ace.
- 3. The "Flexitarian" Effect: The rise of part-time vegetarians, who have reduced their meat consumption because of health, sustainability and animal welfare concerns, is having a major impact on new product activity. This includes the technological development and promotion of better-tasting products more reminiscent of meat, as well as the use of alternative protein sources and more animal-friendly processes.
- 4. Processing the Natural Way:Established food processing practices that have been around for centuries are in the spotlight. They bring with them a natural and authentic image to counteract some of the negative perceptions of heavily processed foods. The health benefits of fermented foods are seeing increasing awareness among western consumers. Newer technologies such as HPP may also succeed if they are seen as a fresh alternative to use preservatives.
- 5. Green Light for Vegetables: Consumers know that they need to eat more greens, but shy away because of taste expectations. Children can be encouraged to eat more through hidden vegetable products, while the rise of fusion smoothies and high vegetable pastas, indicates that adults can also be encouraged to increase their intake.
- 6. Creating A ‘Real’ Link:The rise of the Millennial consumer as a key product development target group, like a story behind a brand. This has led to growing calls for a back to basics approach to re-establish links with ‘real’ food. ‘Real’ is about telling a story about where the product comes from and goes beyond certification alone. Consumers want to know that the product is local, sustainably sourced, or created by well treated and well-paid workers if it comes from a distant land. Staple foods from a specific region have a marketing advantage over generic staples.
- 7. Small Players, Big Ideas:Big companies used to have a few major competitors, now they have hundreds of small ones. Many of these small players only do one thing, but they do it well, which holds high appeal for discerning millennial consumers. Because they are less restricted in their development process, small companies are getting their ideas out much quicker and serving as inspiration for the big boys, who are resorting to copying them, or just buying them out altogether.
- 8. Beyond The Athlete:Major sports nutrition manufacturers have realised that they can only get so far in targeting the saturated niche of bodybuilders, elite athletes and fitness fanatics in western markets. The benefits of sports nutrition components such as protein and energy ingredients can be exploited by all demographic groups and manufacturers are therefore diversifying on the ‘healthy living’ platform for everyone. Previously specialist product portfolios are expanding into new categories, while some major manufacturers are launching products that in the past could have been seen as the athlete’s domain.
- 9. The Indulgence Alibi:For some categories such as desserts and chocolate, there will no valid argument to take up a health positioning. It can be confusing and detrimental to a brand steeped on a premium & indulgent platform. But health conscious consumers do want to justify consuming a product purely for pleasure and therefore look for an excuse. A classic ‘indulgence alibi’ can be the wholesome or natural quality of ingredients. The trend is also an opportunity to create smaller, but still highly indulgent treats.
- 10. Tastes For New Experiences:Well-travelled and highly adventurous consumers are expecting more authenticity and originality from food and beverages that they consume. They are looking for highly specific and authentic products from all corners of the globe. Their curious flavour palate is open to trying out new taste experiences, which can include combining apparently non-complementary flavours in a single bite or opening up to unusual textural ideas through layered flavours. Creative marketing and the development of 3D printing are just two platforms driving this innovative trend.
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