The “clean eating” trend is the central force driving change in the food industry, with the trend inspiring a back to basics approach in product development, according to the 2016 Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends list.
Products identifying as organic have experienced a surge in consumption, with sales rising from 6.3 per cent in the first half of 2013, to 9.5 per cent in the first half of 2015, clearly indicating a demand for healthier product alternatives.
Clean and clear labelling has also gained traction with consumers, while other emerging trends 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.
Ten Key Food & Beverage Trends to Watch for 2016 :
- 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.
- 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 significant. Other “free from” platforms are also gathering pace.
- 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.
- 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, and newer technologies such as HPP may also succeed if they are seen as a fresh alternative to using preservatives.
- 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.
The other top trends identified by Innova Market Insights are Creating a “Real” Link, Small Players, Big Ideas, Beyond the Athlete, The Indulgence Alibi and Tastes for New Experiences.