Naturally functional foods to lead the way in 2014: trend forecast [infographic]

According to the annual industry forecast, 12 Key Trends 2014, weight wellness, slow energy and naturally functional foods will be key drivers for growth opportunities within food manufacturing throughout the next 12 months.

The forecast which was prepared by Julian Mellentin, international specialist in global nutrition business, and published by New Nutrition Business, states that there is a ‘wealth of opportunities’ for growth within the food and beverage sector.

According to Mellentin, the ‘naturally functional’ category will lead the way in food trends for 2014. Evidence suggests that products within this category that boast naturally healthy ingredients can help create a ‘health halo’ of sorts which has the capacity to increase sales – sometimes significantly as was the case for coconut water and almond milk during 2013.

However Mellentin does caution the use the word ‘natural’.

“If you want to be successful, don’t use the word natural on your product. You run the risk of getting bogged down in a regulatory minefield,” says Mellentin. “There are plenty of other ways of communicating the naturalness of your product without ever using the word ‘natural’.”

Mellentin notes that sales of coconut water in the US surged from zero in 2007 to over US $390m in 2013 on the back of its ‘naturally healthy – nothing added’ image, while almond milk rose from close to zero in 2009 to US $407m in 2013.

The 12 key trends include:

  1. Naturally Healthy
  2. Dairy – rebirth as a natural whole food
  3. Protein
  4. Energy – coffee, energy drinks and the like
  5. Weight Wellness – everyday food choices that maintain health and wellness
  6. Snacking – convenient snack sized portions
  7. Slow Energy – low GI foods – sustained energy foods
  8. Sugar – Further demonization of the white stuff
  9. Permission to Indulge
  10. Free-From – Gluten free, dairy free, etc.
  11. Seniors – An ageing population is creating opportunities for science and smaller companies
  12. Kids’ Nutrition – Communication and emphasis on natural ingredients key to success




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