The Evolution of Natural in European Food and Drink Innovation17 Sep 2013
Consumers are more wary about what they eat than ever before. It is clear, though, that the media coverage of the ‘evils’ of artificial additives has passed its peak. The mushrooming consumer demand for overtly ‘natural’ products seen in the last decade has thus started to subside. In 2007, 43% of UK consumers were prepared […]
Consumers are more wary about what they eat than ever before. It is clear, though, that the media coverage of the ‘evils’ of artificial additives has passed its peak. The mushrooming consumer demand for overtly ‘natural’ products seen in the last decade has thus started to subside. In 2007, 43% of UK consumers were prepared to pay a premium for foods without additives, and brand owners duly responded with a host of premium food innovation promoting the use of natural ingredients.
Through a combination of economic recession, the vagueness of what constitutes a natural mass-produced food, and consumer fatigue around the issue, by 2012 only 30% of consumers were prepared to pay a premium for such products. ‘Natural’ is thus no longer such a bankable route to premiumisation, with consumers coming to expect a greater degree of ‘naturalness’ as standard.
The use of natural colours in new food and drink launches, for example, is now widespread in Europe. Around eight in 10 food and drink launches using colours in recent years have used natural colours, largely accelerated by regulation introduced in 2010 that required warning labels to be used on products that contain the so-called Southampton Six colours.
In Europe, natural claims, including no additive/preservative claims, are being seen on 29% of launches so far in 2013, a figure which has consistently risen in recent years (being 25% in 2009). Special diet claims, though – such as free from gluten/lactose, as well as vegetarian – have been in faster growth, seen on 19% of launches so far in 2013, up from 13% in 2009.
The focus is thus switching from just additive/preservative-free claims to include other more specific ingredients that are high on the consumer’s radar and where avoidance has more of a value-add appeal.
Another shift in the natural foods arena has been the focus on simplicity and purity in food. Many brands have sought to promote the fact that they use only a limited number of ingredients and are thus not heavily-processed, complex products that are removed from nature.
Between 2010 and 2012, food and non-alcoholic drink launches in Europe that mentioned the word pure (or pur) on pack grew by over a quarter (26%) and look set for further growth in 2013. Such products are providing consumers with a very effective mental shortcut to a natural positioning, avoiding them having to read and understand ingredients lists.
Increasingly tied up with how consumers view naturalness is the ‘back story’ of any one product. Where the product has come from, how ethically it has been sourced or produced and safety assurances are also firmly in the mix in gaining consumer trust. Given that information around such elements of the supply chain is now readily made available by more producers and is more accessible by interested consumers, this back story will become more important to highlight. The opportunity to provide such information via on-pack QR codes in particular is being exploited by a number of major brand owners.
Gen Z consumers are thirsty for variety in beverages
31 May 2022
As Gen Z consumers gain disposable income, they are looking to quench their thirst with beverage brands that are clean, sustainable and socially responsible, according to a report from the global consumer trend forecaster WGSN.Read more
Tea flavour innovation in China unites tradition with modernity
13 Apr 2022
Chinese tea brands are innovating with new flavours, blends and formats, and even making a foray into food with tea-flavoured food and drink launches.Read more
Low- and no-alcohol beverages see significant growth globally
11 Apr 2022
Alcohol-free and low-alcohol beverages are helping drive growth for many alcohol manufacturers that have been struggling to adapt to the changing tastes of the market in recent years.Read more
Baby formula brands innovate with clean label launches
7 Apr 2022
Clean label baby food is receiving a significant amount of development, with two recent brands ByHeart and Bobbi launching formulations certified by the Clean Label Project with a Purity Award.Read more
Consumers seek ashwagandha-fueled relaxation in beverages
28 Mar 2022
Ashwagandha has been used in India for centuries, and it is only in recent years that consumers in the US and now Europe are realising its health benefits, with manufacturers starting to add this adaptogen to beverage formulations.Read more
A new brew: Ayurvedic coffee in India, adaptogenic coffee from Finland
10 Mar 2022
Coffee is probably one of the world’s most popular functional beverages, providing millions with their daily caffeine hit. However, some brands are taking its functional benefits further by adding in botanicals, vitamins, and other nutrients.Read more
Coca-Cola is spreading itself outside beverages to expand its market
28 Feb 2022
With 130 years of experience behind the brand Coca-Cola, it would be easy to imagine that the brand would be comfortably reliant on one of its 15 billion-dollar brands that make up the portfolio of one of the largest beverage companies in the world.Read more
Microdrink startup Waterdrop expands in US, looks to move global
24 Feb 2022
Australian beverage startup Waterdrop has raised €60 million ($70 million) in a Series B funding round led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek. The startup, which makes microdrinks — water-soluble, sugar-free cubes packed with plant-b...Read more
Synthesising volatile aroma compounds to make alcohol-free beer taste better
18 Feb 2022
A Danish startup is using synthetic biology to produce the volatile aroma compounds that are lost when brewers make low- and no-alcohol beer.Read more
Can sugar-reducing tech revive falling fruit juice sales?
12 Feb 2022
Better Juice’s naturally sugar-reduced fruit juice will hit US supermarket shelves in spring 2022 thanks to a partnership with GEA. Could this turn around the long-term decline in fruit juice sales?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