Trends shaping the future of food

Innovation and trends are the driving force in the food & beverage sector. In hardly any other segment there are so many new innovations each and every year which add to the international diversity.

Anuga sets and underlines the actual global trends: ten topics show what is currently in demand and where things are going.

The vegan way of living, which revolves around a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey, as well as products such as leather and any tested on animals, is gaining traction worldwide. Veganism is a further extension of vegetarianism and claims for example, such as “vegan friendly” or “suitable for vegans” are being used to differentiate from regular vegetarian product lines.

The number of overt functional or “active” health claims in Europe is continuing to fall away in the wake of tightening claims regulations, particularly in the EU. However, on a global basis, functional product launch activity has stabilized, if not grown. Well over 40 % of global food and drinks launches tracked by Innova Market Insights in the first six months of 2015 were positioned on a health platform of some kind. Just 8.4 % were positioned on an “active” or functional health platform, however. The EU situation has necessitated a rethink by companies already in the market. They are often looking to the use of softer claims while benefiting from existing consumer awareness of the potential benefits of certain products and ingredients.

Continued interest in home cooking has been driven by cooking shows on TV and by blogging foodies. It is seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as healthy and cost-effective. It has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.

With the growing band of foodies, retailers are recognizing the opportunity and are organizing their product offering in the fresh aisles accordingly with more variety and quality. More premium, mix and match solutions (sauce, meat & veg) easily accessible from the perimeter of the supermarket will be sought after by foodies. Growth is anticipated regarding the variety of ethnic dishes available in meal kit formats, in order for foodies to replicate ethnic restaurant dishes at home.

As consumers demand more transparency in terms of food labeling, halal certification is an area which is receiving increased attention. Growth in trade with the Islamic Middle East and South East Asian markets represent new opportunities for food manufacturers to enter these emerging markets, with halal certification being key for successful entry.

Analysis of global product launches with a halal-certified claim increased by 24 % in 2014 compared to 2010, according to Innova Market Insights data. Traditionally, while most halal-certified claims are found on product launches tracked in the Middle East and Asia regions, there is evidence of growth (+ 43 %, 2014 vs. 2010) for halal-certified product launches found outside of these regions. Halal certification is widespread for many product types, with leading sub-categories for global product launch activity tracked in 2014 being sweet biscuits/cookies and savory/salty snacks. Further demand for halal certified products should increase worldwide.

Organic food choices are growing, with 7.4 % of total global product launches tracked in 2014 by Innova Market Insights, having an organic positioning. This is a significant increase from 5.8 % tracked in 2013. The leading market sub-categories for 2014 “organic” launches were: juice drinks (6.8 %), baby meals (6.4 %), tea (6 %) and chocolate (4.6 %). Product launch activity with a “natural” positioning on the other hand, has stagnated, representing 6.5 % of new products tracked for the last three years.

There is considerable variation among regions in terms of products carrying this claim. Unsurprisingly, West Europe was responsible for a 48% share of organic product launch activity, followed by North America (23 %) and Asia (17 %), with the remaining regions each all having an under 5 % share.

Demand for healthy ingredients is being driven by a number of consumer factors, such as aging populations, rising interest in healthy lifestyles, concerns over obesity and growing awareness of the link between diet and health. This is being supported by high levels of investment by the food and drinks industry in product and promotional activity. Healthy options can still command a price premium in some instances and these types of products are tending to outperform the food and drinks market as a whole, with considerable scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets.

While globally, significant gains are being made in terms of private label share, the market penetration of private labels varies considerably depending on the region. For example in 2014, according to new product launch data tracked by Innova Market Insights, private label penetration is high in West Europe at 25.4 %, and much lower in Asia at 8.4 %. Brand loyalty in emerging markets is proving to be a challenge for rivate label development, so consolidation in developed markets is vital, in which innovation plays a pivotal role.

The ongoing concern for future sustainability of the global food chain and ingredient source transparency is having far-reaching consequences for food manufacturers and consumers alike. One area of new product development to benefit from a continued focus on sustainability and health in general is vegetarian foods. Innova Market Insights revealed a 22 % increase in global product launches tracked with a vegetarian positioning from (2014 vs. 2013).

Vegetables are increasingly shifting to the centre of the plate, with world-renowned chefs showcasing vegetables on their menus, exposing their versatility and unique flavours and textures. One vegetable on the rise is cauliflower, with a 22 % increase reported in global product launch activity tracked containing cauliflower (2014 vs. 2013). This renewed interest in vegetablesshould inspire and further drive innovation by food manufacturers in producing more exciting and tasty meat substitutes, vegetarian ready meals and meal kits for example.

Global new product development positioned on an ethical platform continues to surge, with Innova Market Insights reporting a 59 % increase in new products with animal- or human-friendly style claims (2014 vs. 2013). Consumers are now embracing all things ethical and the fairtrade movement could be considered to be the main catalyst for the evolvement of ethically positioned product launch activity. The growth in new global fairtrade product launch activity has been phenomenal, with a 26 % increase in products with fairtrade claims reported (2014 vs. 2013).

Kosher food that conform to Jewish dietary law are increasing in prevalence worldwide, according to Innova Market Insights new product launch data. New products with a kosher claim increased by 38 % in 2013 from 2012, and further increased by 21 % in 2014 from 2013. This indicates that food manufacturers are recognizing the significant market potential that kosher certification can offer.

There is considerable variation among regions for availability of kosher products. North America was responsible for a 62 % share of all kosher product launches tracked in 2014, followed by the Middle East (9 %) and Asia (9 %). The leading global market sub-categories in 2014 for kosher claims were chocolate (7.1 %), followed by sweet biscuits/cookies (5.4 %) and savoury/salty snacks (4.7 %). The growth of new products with kosher claims should accelerate in regions in which there is most demand for kosher product convenience.