The maturing trend for fermented foods

2 Sep 2019

Fermented foods most commonly appear in the dairy aisle in Europe, but with rising demand for plant-based foods, other areas may be ripe for long term growth.

Fermentation has been used in foods and drinks for millennia, but recently it has piqued the interest of western consumers in a major way. For food companies, fermentation tends to be time consuming, which is the antithesis of most modern food manufacturing goals. Today, companies that want a long shelf life for their foods and drinks can turn to a plethora of preservation methods, from canning and freezing to a range of processing technologies. But fermentation carries advantages beyond shelf life; it also adds flavour and texture, and with growing interest in the gut microbiome, consumers are more interested than ever in how healthy bacteria from fermented foods could improve their overall health.

The maturing trend for fermented foods
Google searches for kimchi reached an all-time high in late May 2019

The trend now looks set to be more than a short-term bubble, as it chimes with several major consumer demands. As well as the desire for gut-friendly bacteria, fermentation is a natural process, potentially addressing concerns about synthetic preservatives, flavourings and other additives.

Some major food and beverage companies have jumped on board too, including PepsiCo with its 2016 acquisition of kombucha and probiotic drinks company KeVita, and DuPont’s venture for prebiotic and probiotic R&D launched in late 2017. The latter has released a range of cultures for plant-based fermented products under its Danisco brand, as the company is betting on further growth in alternatives to yoghurt and fermented milk drinks.

Meanwhile, other fermented foods have started to enter the mainstream, such as fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, fermented soy products like Japanese natto and Indonesian tempeh, and the fermented tea kombucha. Other products, like fermented juices, protein and cereal products still have some way to go before they reach ordinary supermarket shelves, but the range of fermented foods and drinks is steadily expanding in specialist channels.

According to a recent report from BIS Research, the global market for fermented foods has entered its main commercialisation phase, and is set for robust growth over the coming five years, particularly in Europe, with Germany and the UK leading the way in new market opportunities.

If manufacturers can find interesting ways to commercialise fermented ingredients, consumer interest is strong. Global Google searches for kimchi, for example, hit their highest ever level in January 2019, while searches for kombucha spiked in late May.

Related news

Preparing for EU organic flavourings crackdown

Preparing for EU organic flavourings crackdown

17 Feb 2020

EU rules governing flavourings in organic foods are set to change in 2021, with many natural flavourings becoming off-limits to food and beverage makers who wish to keep their organic certification. What options will remain open?

Read more 
Innovation in plant-based meat snack alternatives

Innovation in plant-based meat snack alternatives

17 Feb 2020

Interest in meat snacks has risen rapidly over the past few years – but as a growing number of consumers look for plant-based foods, manufacturers have also developed a wide range of snack products that mimic meat.

Read more 
Spotlight on eye health ingredients

Spotlight on eye health ingredients

11 Feb 2020

The market for eye health ingredients and products has been rising over the past few years, as an ageing global population has coincided with increased consumer interest in nutrition-based prevention of age-related conditions.

Read more 
Meat snacks answer consumer protein demand

Meat snacks answer consumer protein demand

11 Feb 2020

Plant-based protein is one of industry’s hottest trends, but broader interest in high protein foods means meat snacking is also on the rise – and the range of convenience meat products available has multiplied.

Read more 
How credible are weight management ingredients?

How credible are weight management ingredients?

3 Feb 2020

Weight management is one of the most in-demand areas for functional ingredients – but some compounds are more promising than others.

Read more 
Low sugar trend boosts bulk sweetener innovation

Low sugar trend boosts bulk sweetener innovation

3 Feb 2020

Use of bulk sweeteners in new products is on the rise, largely driven by consumer interest in sugar-free and lower sugar products.

Read more 
How realistic are sustainable palm oil goals?

How realistic are sustainable palm oil goals?

27 Jan 2020

For many food and beverage companies 2020 was a target for sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil, but few have succeeded. What is holding them back?

Read more 
Spotlight on the health halo of green tea

Spotlight on the health halo of green tea

27 Jan 2020

Green tea has gained an enormous amount of attention for its high antioxidant content, and new studies continue to back multiple benefits for the beverage and its extracts – despite uncertainty over how these benefits are delivered.

Read more 
Could revised calorie content boost nut consumption?

Could revised calorie content boost nut consumption?

20 Jan 2020

Researchers from the USDA have discovered that tree nuts like almonds, cashews and pistachios may have fewer calories than previously thought, and food firms are starting to reflect this on pack. Could fewer calories prompt consumers to eat more nuts?

Read more 
Healthy indulgence: Using fibre to cut sugar in chocolate

Healthy indulgence: Using fibre to cut sugar in chocolate

20 Jan 2020

Fibres have promise for creating reduced sugar products, and a new patented technology based on corn fibre is said to tackle some common technical problems, as well as digestive effects.

Read more