Innova Market Insights’ hotly-anticipated annual top 10 global food trends has been released, and it seems clear label claims and snack foods will be high on the agenda next year. Here’s a snippet of the research most relevant to the baking sector.
From clean to clear label
Clean food labelled clearly, is going to be a high priority for consumers. Clean labelling claims may have been on-trend in 2013-2014, tracked on nearly a quarter of all food and beverage products. But moving forwards, “no additives/preservatives” claims are no longer a tool to differentiate.
Consumers still want fresh food with fewer additives, preservatives and other artificial ingredients. However, “natural” is going out of fashion as there is no regulation defining the category and, as such, little credibility. Consumers are also wanting to know where ingredients come from (source of origin), in language they understand.
In general, there is increasing transparency in ingredient labelling as it’s becoming more and more expected by consumers and enforced by regulators. For example, the new European Union regulation on Food Information for Consumers (FIC) will require specification on vegetable oils and for allergens to be highlighted, including sources of gluten and lactose.
Anticipated FIC regulation labelling implications also include detailed and easy-to-understand nutritional information, such as particulars and their amount. Not surprisingly, smaller, ethical brands are leading the charge with clear labelling, and the bigger brands are expected to follow suit.
Marketing to millennials
The generation of people between 15 and 35 is well-informed and appreciates a story behind a brand. They have 24/7 access to internet, they are quick to ‘google’ anything they are curious about, they are up-to-date with information about new products and brands, and they want to try something different.
While millennials are browsing the web, they read blogs, experiences and recommendations via social media. They want to feel connected with a product and will relate to a brand if fed a genuine story.
Millennials represent one third of consumers around the world and 29 per cent of consumers in Australia. That’s a lot of people talking about new products and trending topics such as “superfood”.
This means businesses choose to proactively communicate their story to gain young consumers’ interest and approval – and those who do it well are rewarded with loyal, cashed-up customers. A prominent example of big brands, including Nestlé and MARS, engaging with consumers is the efforts of chocolate brands to inform millennials about sourcing and securing cocoa’s future in an ethical way.
Snacks rise to the occasion
Snacks and snack occasions are diversifying. Consumers are moving away from the standard three meals a day and eating times are becoming increasingly less clearly defined. Virtually everything is now being defined as a snack.
When a snack occasion arrives, people are seeking healthy quick foods – moving away from packet chips and chocolate bars to yoghurt, shakes, porridge and nuts.
There is a wave of snacks products emerging, which are targeting specific occasions, connecting the required product characteristics and desired consumption experience for different times of day. For example, consumers are now aware nutrition and energy needs are much higher for morning and afternoon snacks than for evening and late night snacks – and food retailers are cashing in with small portions of nutritional products (such as those containing protein and fibre).
Health claims are important in this space, with “high/source of fibre”, “wholegrain”, “no additives/preservatives” “low fat”, “gluten-free”, “organic” and “energy/alertness” among the top 10 claims on global breakfast new product launches tracked.
Not surprisingly, snack foods with innovative and portable packaging are capturing this grab-and-go market. For the baking sector, this opens great opportunities for bite-sized pastries, mini-pies (or travel pies) and pre-made sandwiches/bread rolls.
Rich, chewy and crunchy
Flavour and smell seem like they will continue to be the key determinants for taste in consumers’ minds, however, texture is set to play an important role when it comes purchasing decisions. Why? Texture gives identity to a product and is considered the delivery mechanism for flavour.
Bakery, confectionery and desserts/ice cream are among the top five categories for texture claims, with “creamy”, “crispy”, “crunchy”, “soft” and “smooth” claims leading the way. In the bakery category, super-indulgent texture claims are also on the rise, including “gooey”, “luscious” and “fluffy”. “Gooey” in particular is said to be on the rise with big brands coming on board, with Aunt Bettys’ Steamy Puds Gooey Caramel Dessert (New Zealand) a prime example.
Brands leading the way with texture claims are emphasising these adjectives on the front of the packaging, for example, Nestlé’s Milkybar Krackle Creamy White Chocolate Bar with Crisped Rice (South Africa).
Butter is back
Products carrying “made with real butter” claims are gaining traction. Two decades ago more than 80 per cent of households reported consuming margarine. But as that figure has dropped to about half of households, butter consumption has grown about 40 per cent. Around 60-70 per cent of the global fat spreads launched are now butter and, every year, more butter launches are tracked. Growth of new product launches boasting real butter has grown rapidly and US sales have been booming. Nut butters are also on the rise, and carry premium price tags.
It’s acceptable to be naturally sweet
New product launches in food and beverage categories are now more likely to use claims such as “naturally occurring sugars” or “naturally sweet”. Prominent global examples of naturally sweetened claims include “filling based on 99 per cent real fruit”, “contains naturally occurring sugars” and “sweetened with only natural sugars of its ingredients”.
Innova Market Insight’s full “Top Trends for 2015” article can be found at www.foodingredientsfirst.com/Key-Trends.html.