Mintel launches its annual APAC Food and Drink Landscape

Mintel, the company that specialises in knowing what consumers want and why, has launched Asia Pacific: The Food and Drink Landscape, featuring the latest market research, product innovation insights, and consumer trends from across the region.
COVID-19, social distancing measures, and economic shutdowns have resulted in new consumer habits and attitudes towards food and drink. These shifts have amended and amplified the development of global food and drink industry. Latest research from Mintel’s  expert food and drink analyst team paints a picture of changing consumer behaviours and attitudes due to COVID-19, trends shaping the sector, and future opportunities for brands.
“The Food and Drink Landscape takes a look at shifts in consumer behaviour and evolving trends shaping today’s food and drink market, including the impact of the pandemic, and delivers expert analysis, insights and recommendations on what it all means for companies and brands in Asia-Pacific. With our sights trained on the future, our research offers a full view of the marketplace to enable better strategic decision making and understanding of what consumers want and why,” Michelle Teodoro, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink and Food Science, APAC, said.

Key findings from Mintel’s APAC Food and Drink Landscape include:
Consumers are redefining convenience
Consumers across APAC are increasingly adopting products and services that offer a higher level of convenience, further accelerated by the advent of COVID-19. Globally, consumer interest in air fryers increased during the COVID-19 period as people cook and bake more at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), the launches of food products globally with the description of ‘air fryer’ saw a five-fold rise between June 2017 and May 2020, driven by South Korea.
Rising interest in health and wellness
The persistence of COVID-19 in the Indian market has exposed critical truths related to health and wellness and put a spotlight on how consumers’ dietary and lifestyle choices matter. Mintel’s Global COVID-19 Tracker showcases consumers’ focus on preventive health and mindful eating, indicating the potential for disruption in the food and drink space.
What’s more, the preference for natural, simple and flexible diets is leading consumers to seek more fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based ingredients within the products that they purchase. The rise in plant-based diets can be attributed to heightened concerns for animal welfare, the environmental impact of intensive animal farming and also health reasons.

Food trends: the decade ahead

As the world’s population heads towards the 10 billion mark, there are a lot of challenges that lie ahead – whether it be health, housing or employment. Then there is the question of food. The world has to figure out how to make enough food to feed what could become an insatiable demand. How will this demand be met? What are some of the current trends? What will food companies have to do to make sure they meet those demands?

Mintel is a company that specialises in market intelligence in the food and beverage sector. It recently conducted internal research and spoke with a number of external stakeholders to see what the coming issues over the next decade will be and how companies can get on board.

Sam Moore is one of Mintel’s global food and beverage analysts who has looked at the trends to see what the experts think will happen over the next 10 years.

“One thing about the food and beverage industry is how fast everything changes,” she said. “That is why we decided to look at the trends for 2030 and the long-term analysis and take a more strategic approach and think about what the food and drink industry is going to be like in 10 years’ time. We also wanted to see how businesses can prepare for that future so that there are fewer surprises.”

One of the outcomes of the research was the aforementioned population boom and how it would affect the supply chain of food.

“We are seeing that just having animal agriculture on its own won’t be enough to feed everybody,” said Moore. “We are going to have to figure out how to do that and that is why we are seeing a trend with high-end technologies being used. For a start, we are going to see more lab-grown food and that trend is all about how much consumer trust there is in food science and technology. That trust will strengthen as these things become vital conduits to save our food supply.”

Moore acknowledges that food created in the lab – especially meat – is in its infancy, but because of how fast things can change, it probably isn’t as far away as everybody thinks.
“Lab food hasn’t become commercial, but we are starting to see a lot of investment and interest in it and it is seen as a solution,” she said. “We do see it as becoming something that will strengthen our food supply. When we think about animal agriculture, 34 per cent of Australian urban internet users have said that they have environmental concerns relating to meat and we’ve seen a lot of investment in that and being able to provide a solution to this. It is something that we do predict that consumers will look more positive on in the future.”

The other problem that lab-grown meat might have to overcome is perception.
“With the lab-grown meat, a lot of the marketing strategy is about positiveness in the future,” said Moore. “I think the term ‘lab-grown meat’ can sound unappetising, but it can be sold with positive messaging around it. Potentially, it can be sold by mentioning its benefits. If they are educated about how it is produced, that could help ease that perception and make it sound more appealing.

“One of the positives we are seeing around lab-grown meat is that a lot of the companies are already investing in it. There are a lot of benefits, like being more ethical and affordable. Lab-grown meat is clean, has no hormones and is free from animal cruelty.”

As well as the issue of trying to provide enough food for the planet’s population, another emerging trend that food producers need to take heed of is how the younger generation is looking at how food and beverages are sourced in terms of being farmed and processed.

“What we predict is that success for some companies will come from those that are invested in improving the health of the planet and its population – if they are really trying to make a difference and really trying hard to help,” said Moore. “We are seeing a rising sense of urgency from people who are frustrated by this lack of action.

“We can see that there is going to be interest in that. Around 44 per cent of UK adults consider how ethical a food or beverage brand is before buying the products. Therefore, companies that do invest in the health of the planet and its population are going to do well. Generation Z consumers are being more frustrated and we can see that they are getting more and more into activism. The food sector is no different.”

And it’s not just the actual production of the food, and how it is processed that consumers are looking at when buying from the supermarket. More customers are going in-depth into as to what goes into food. Some of these issues have been around for a while, but they are still on consumers’ radar, according to Moore.

“When we think about how food is being produced, we see a fair amount of waste and that is definitely going to be addressed,” she said. “There is also a lot of concerns around antibiotics and hormones in food. Also, things like animal cruelty are on peoples’ minds.”
In summing up, Moore said there are three main planks that will help a lot of companies navigate through the ever-changing expectations of a public that is more informed than ever of where its food and beverages are sourced.

“First, successful companies will be those that invest in improving people and the planet,” she said. “Second, consumers’ trust in food science and technology will strengthen when it comes to choosing what food to buy. The third point is also around technology and how it is going to enable consumers to construct hyper individualised approaches to physical and mental health.”

Finally, according to the research released by Mintel, the food and beverage industry ‘will be compelled to elevate the role of nature, and humans, in the storytelling of these new, modern solutions. Transparency of information is essential to building trust in a future where scientists play as integral a role as farmers. And championing the people behind the food – whether it is grown in a laboratory or a field – will remain a timeless way of building trust with consumers’.

Top food trends for 2020

Increased consumer interest in the stories behind their food and beverage products and their notable influence on purchasing decisions has resulted in companies increasingly paying attention to storytelling in branding strategies.

“Storytelling: Winning with Words” leads the list of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2020. The top five trends for 2020 are:

  1. Storytelling: Winning with Words
    Although ingredient provenance has always been important, consumer interest in discovering the story behind their foods has risen further and increasingly influencing purchasing decisions. Consumers’ attention is piqued by opportunities to learn more about how products are produced, which promotes an understanding of product benefits and helps build all-important trust in the brand.As a result, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on ingredient provenance platforms in order to highlight the taste and quality of their products, as well as their uniqueness and sustainability efforts. Provenance platforms can communicate a whole range of messages to the consumer, including flavor/taste, processing methods, cultural and traditional backgrounds, as well as the more obvious geographical origin.

READ MORE: Consumer trends and the ‘new food world’ of 2015

  1. Plant-Based Revolution
    Plant-based innovation in food and beverages continues to flourish as a result of consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics, which ties into the broader consumer lifestyle trend towards cleaner living. As the use of the term “plant-based” moves more into the mainstream, the industry and start-up companies in particular, are taking up the challenge to deliver more clean label meat and dairy alternatives with improved nutritional profiles.
  1. The Sustain Domain
    Consumers increasingly expect companies to invest in sustainability, with Innova Market Insights research indicating that 85% of, on average, US and UK consumers expected companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64% in 2018. In the area of food waste, upcycling is the new recycling, as companies strive to follow a zero-waste approach by creating value from by-products. Meanwhile in packaging, the focus is on using less of it, as well as developing sustainable alternatives.
  1. The Right Bite
    Stress and anxiety are key concerns in modern life as consumers manage careers, families and social lives while striving to maintain healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally. Responses to this vary, although the majority of consumers aim to balance the benefits and costs of busy lifestyles. This, in turn, raises the demand for nutritious foods that are easy to prepare, convenient and portable.Indulgent treats play a role in relaxation and enjoyment.
  1. Tapping into Texture
    Last year’s leading trend “Discovery: the adventurous consumer” is still prominent, with consumer demand for something new and different being reflected in more product launches with textural claims. Consumers increasingly recognize the influence of texture on food and beverages, allowing a heightened sensory experience and often a greater feeling of indulgence. According to Innova Market Insights research, 45% of, on average, US and UK consumers are influenced by texture when buying food and drinks, while 68% share the opinion that textures contribute to a more interesting food and beverage experience.

The other top trends for 2020 identified by Innova Market Insights are:

  1. Macronutrient Makeover
  2. Hello Hybrids
  3. A Star is Born
  4. Eat Pretty
  5. Brand Unlimited

Global naturalness study first unveils APAC insights for food and beverage companies

In the last two years, Symrise has conducted a global study on the perception of naturalness covering Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa and Middle East as well as Latin America. More than 13,500 consumers have been engaged globally in five field researches run by the Sensory and Consumer Insights department at Symrise. The studies have explored the attitude and perception of consumers around naturalness in foods and beverages. A first outlook on the results gives insights into the preferences related to naturalness in the Asia Pacific Region.

Consumers in Asia too, love the taste of nature and are increasingly demanding more naturalness. Food and beverage companies are catering to this need with natural product solutions and find it often challenging to best meet consumer’s expectations and comply with a complex regulatory environment. Tapping on the key competences of Symrise Global Sensory and Consumer Insights in Asia, Symrise has decoded the key consumer wishes to help its customers create and deliver relevant, great tasting natural products supported by its code of nature solutions.

This dedicated approach helped us to understand the relevance of impactful natural taste solutions for consumers in China, Japan, Australia and Thailand. Having conducted its customized consumer study in Q4/2018, Symrise Asia Pacific (APAC) was aiming at decoding the natural dimensions of four product segments: flavored water, ready to drink (RTD) tea, drinking yogurt and ready meals. Symrise selected these countries and segments based on their relevance and potential for food and beverage companies in APAC.

Key insights from Symrise Asia Pacific Customised Consumer Naturalness Study
In APAC as in other regions, the new era of naturalness is evolving fast and in diverging directions. While a broad variety of aspects contribute to a natural product perception, consumer expectations on what “natural” means to them can also differ from region to region. It ranges from knowing exactly the type of ingredients, where the ingredients in their food come from and the preparation method.

To receive a general picture first, the APAC study has summed up the market segments that are potentially more willing to pay a premium for products with natural taste solutions. They include ingredient source seekers, quality-seeking, affluent, health-conscious shoppers and ultimate truth seekers. They represent a large portion of consumers: 49 per cent in Japan, 42 per cent in Australia, 35 per cent in Thailand, 27  per cent in China. The remaining market belongs to the profile of budget or brand conscious, with the latter still ranking the attribute “source of ingredients” very high, in all categories and countries.

In all countries, “no additives” is one in the top 3 attributes driving naturalness perception in all categories, except for drinking yogurt in Thailand, for which “health attributes” prevail. The second most frequent desired attribute cross-country and cross-category is “contains real ingredients” (e.g. fruit extracts or natural fruit juice).

China is the country where natural taste solutions show the biggest potential for food and beverages, with consumers asking for safety and health credential while taste remains a priority.

Among the different categories, Beverage is the one where the potential to leverage naturalness as a purchase driver is larger, especially in Flavored Water, with high opportunities in all countries.

Both in Japan and Australia the size of opportunity looks high for flavored water and medium for RTD tea. Flavored waters are particularly expected to be safe for long term consumption, with strong interest for “organic” and “low/no sugar claims”. In RTD tea, there is a lot of emphasis on “taste authenticity” (e.g. “freshly brewed taste”) and on “organic”, especially among ingredient source seekers and health conscious premium.

“Symrise aims to work with our customers to decode the full insights from the study and to combine them with their brands and needs to deliver winning products, to unlock their business potential in Asia Pacific with Symrise code of nature® solutions. For this reason, Symrise continues to strongly invest in Asia Pacific and works to bring to market natural solution that consumer loves” said Mr Lionel Flutto, President, Flavor, Asia Pacific, Symrise.

Global naturalness study first unveils APAC insights for food and beverage companies

In the last two years, Symrise has conducted a global study on the perception of naturalness covering Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa and Middle East as well as Latin America. More than 13,500 consumers have been engaged globally in five field researches run by the Sensory and Consumer Insights department at Symrise. The studies have explored the attitude and perception of consumers around naturalness in foods and beverages. A first outlook on the results gives insights into the preferences related to naturalness in the Asia Pacific Region.

Consumers in Asia too, love the taste of nature and are increasingly demanding more naturalness. Food and beverage companies are catering to this need with natural product solutions and find it often challenging to best meet consumer’s expectations and comply with a complex regulatory environment. Tapping on the key competences of Symrise Global Sensory and Consumer Insights in Asia, Symrise has decoded the key consumer wishes to help its customers create and deliver relevant, great tasting natural products supported by its code of nature solutions.

This dedicated approach helped us to understand the relevance of impactful natural taste solutions for consumers in China, Japan, Australia and Thailand. Having conducted its customized consumer study in Q4/2018, Symrise Asia Pacific (APAC) was aiming at decoding the natural dimensions of four product segments: flavored water, ready to drink (RTD) tea, drinking yogurt and ready meals. Symrise selected these countries and segments based on their relevance and potential for food and beverage companies in APAC.

Key insights from Symrise Asia Pacific Customised Consumer Naturalness Study
In APAC as in other regions, the new era of naturalness is evolving fast and in diverging directions. While a broad variety of aspects contribute to a natural product perception, consumer expectations on what “natural” means to them can also differ from region to region. It ranges from knowing exactly the type of ingredients, where the ingredients in their food come from and the preparation method.

To receive a general picture first, the APAC study has summed up the market segments that are potentially more willing to pay a premium for products with natural taste solutions. They include ingredient source seekers, quality-seeking, affluent, health-conscious shoppers and ultimate truth seekers. They represent a large portion of consumers: 49 per cent in Japan, 42 per cent in Australia, 35 per cent in Thailand, 27  per cent in China. The remaining market belongs to the profile of budget or brand conscious, with the latter still ranking the attribute “source of ingredients” very high, in all categories and countries.

In all countries, “no additives” is one in the top 3 attributes driving naturalness perception in all categories, except for drinking yogurt in Thailand, for which “health attributes” prevail. The second most frequent desired attribute cross-country and cross-category is “contains real ingredients” (e.g. fruit extracts or natural fruit juice).

China is the country where natural taste solutions show the biggest potential for food and beverages, with consumers asking for safety and health credential while taste remains a priority.

Among the different categories, Beverage is the one where the potential to leverage naturalness as a purchase driver is larger, especially in Flavored Water, with high opportunities in all countries.

Both in Japan and Australia the size of opportunity looks high for flavored water and medium for RTD tea. Flavored waters are particularly expected to be safe for long term consumption, with strong interest for “organic” and “low/no sugar claims”. In RTD tea, there is a lot of emphasis on “taste authenticity” (e.g. “freshly brewed taste”) and on “organic”, especially among ingredient source seekers and health conscious premium.

“Symrise aims to work with our customers to decode the full insights from the study and to combine them with their brands and needs to deliver winning products, to unlock their business potential in Asia Pacific with Symrise code of nature® solutions. For this reason, Symrise continues to strongly invest in Asia Pacific and works to bring to market natural solution that consumer loves” said Mr Lionel Flutto, President, Flavor, Asia Pacific, Symrise.

Hottest health food trends 2019

From ‘Cauli-mania’ to the Peruvian Cape gooseberry (the ‘new acai’), to mushroom coffee and celtuce – set to replace kale as the vegetable of the year – the 2019 food trends are more adventurous than ever.

Flannerys Organic & Wholefoods Store put together a panel of nutritionists and wellness experts to predict the year’s biggest nutrition trends. Here are the top eight health trends to look out for in 2019 according to the panel:

  • Cauli-mania: Forget it being something you only eat at nana’s, smeared in white sauce, the blonde brassica is being used as a healthy substitute for everything from rice and potato to pasta and pizza crust. Sales for packaged cauliflower products grew 71 per cent last year, according to Nielsen market research reports. One of our fav products is the Caulipower pizza base.
  • Marine morsels: Nope, not seaweed. That’s so last year. The way to get your daily dose of omegas in 2019 is from things like unique varietals of algae and kelp (kelp jerkey anyone?).
  • Pacific Rim foods: Think colourful fruits, fish and produce from Oceania, Asia and the Western coasts of North and South America. Fruits such as dragon fruit, passionfruit and guava will be all the rage. When it comes to protein, dried shrimp, shrimp paste and cuttlefish will be popular for all meals, along with longganisa, a Filipino pork sausage.
  • Japanese flavours: Poaching chicken and fish in miso will become as common as roasting beef or lamb in the oven, as Japanese ingredients such as miso, Japanese yams, yuzu, sansho pepper and ponzu steal the limelight. Miso is also being mixed with coconut sugar as an ice cream topper or sweetened into a miso sugar paste.
  • Vegan and faux meat: The ‘plant-based’ goods industry is now expected to be worth $4.2 billion after growing 18 per cent in the last year or so. In our busy culture, one of the biggest growth areas is ‘ready to eat plant-based foods’. These include things like ‘just add water’ vegan mac’n’cheeze and marinated jackfruit massaman curry. Cruelty-free eating is huge in Australia, which also has the third fastest-growing vegan population globally.
  • Keto craze: The low-cabohydrate, high-fat ketogenic, or ‘keto diet’ continues to rise in popularity with loads of new snack ideas hitting the shelves – from keto bombs that you pop in your morning coffee to snack bars and cookies.
  • Hemp and cannabinoids: Hemp is leadling the health and wellness world as a fantastic source of nutrition. With high amounts of protein, and rich in omega 3 and omega 6, it’s quickly becoming the salad, cereal and smoothie starter of choice. Cannabinoids (CBD) will be another huge topic on our radar, as we look at the growing research and discussions around calming anxiety and reducing stress and inflammation in the body with the help of CBD. Look out for our thought-provoking in-store educational workshops on these topics.
  • Superfoods: The Peruvian Cape gooseberry, known as Golden Berry, in Europe and in the United States, is talked about as the ‘new acai’ due to its superfood powers. It boasts vitamin A, vitamin complex B and C and has a high sample of protein and phosphorus, which can improve overall diet and health. The Peruvian fruit, the size of a cherry tomato, is full of tiny seeds and can be eaten straight or added to salads, bakes, desserts and cooked dishes. They can also be dried and sprinkled on savoury dishes, seafood and meat, and for a sweet treat – dipped in chocolate or stewed. Broccoli sprouts are also very popular with those in the know as they’re anti-cancer forming, detoxifying and amazingly nutritious.

The top six food trends for 2018 – a manufacturer’s guide

Editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au Brodee Myers-Cooke tells Food & Beverage Industry News how manufacturers can capitalise on the trends that are set to dominate the market this year.

If anyone can spot a food trend coming a mile away, it’s Brodee Myers-Cooke.

As editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au, Australia’s top go-to resource for recipes and more, Myers-Cooke has the inside scoop on what the country is cooking up at home. She is able to couple the 300,000-plus search terms visitors put in the website daily with Google Analytics data to work out what food trends are set to drive the market.

“We have unbeatable information on what inspires the audience and what the audience wants to know more about,” she told Food & Beverage Industry News. “When quinoa broke, we saw searches explode because everyone wanted to know how to use it. When we talk about trends inside the building here, what we are looking for are explosive trends. Although we keep an eye on what’s showing up on Masterchef and so on, what we really look for is the data on what’s popular before we build content around it.”

In addition to following what readers want, Myers-Cooke also needs to scout what trends are coming up around the world to see what can be introduced to the Australian market.

“We’re lucky in Australia. We are in the opposite season in the southern hemisphere, so we can see what’s happening in Europe and America,” she said. “For instance, we are seeing things like ‘overnight’ recipes – such as overnight oats – as popular in other countries right now. So what we’ll do is put a few recipes online and see how they play out. Does it explode? If it does, from there we will look at creating new content to feed the need.”

Myers-Cooke and her team keep a close eye on what restaurants are doing because trends are trickling down to home cooking faster than ever. She says food trucks, however, can sometimes provide even more immediate inspiration.

“We can actually go to a food park, and see where the crowds are,” she said. “If it’s a really good trend that excites people, there will be a crowd of people lining up at that truck.”

So what is dominating the market in 2018? Myers-Cooke identified the following seven trends as ones food manufacturers should be capitalising on to capture market share this year.

1 – Plant-based food

Of all the food trends, Myers-Cooke said all food manufacturers – including meat producers – need to incorporate the shift towards plant-based foods into their brand positioning.

“This is the number one most important trend right now,” she said, noting that traffic on vegetarian recipes has gone up an astounding 152 per cent in the past year, while vegan recipes have similarly skyrocketed.

“Two years ago, vegetarian was more niche,” she said. “Now it’s mainstream. We’re amazed to see that vegetarian recipes have caught up on searches for healthy recipes, which dominated searches two years ago. It’s just such a different environment. People aren’t just interested in vegetarian recipes, but everything with nuts and grains.  We’re calling it ‘from hunters to gatherers’.”

Myers-Cooke said that, when speaking with a major manufacturer of finger foods in the UK, she was surprised to hear that all of its best-selling finger foods are now vegetarian. She noted that the days are long gone where meat is the first thing on a plate, with vegetables taking a secondary role. These days, meat is more like a condiment.

Brodee Myers-Cooke, editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au
Brodee Myers-Cooke,
editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au

.

“We’ll see things like a vegan dish with bacon bits sprinkled on top of it,” she said. “Mothers who cook will add the bacon just so everyone still cheers when the meal is put on the dinner table.”

Myers-Cooke said protein manufacturers need to take note of this trend when marketing, to ensure their product continues to find itself on Australian plates.

“Meat is still selling, but it needs to be presented as part of a recipe,” she said.  “When manufacturers are presenting meat, they can’t put a massive chunk of it on a plate via a classic 1950s style meal. It’s not going to resonate very well. It should be put in a bowl with vegetables.”

2 – Portioned food

Looking over popular searches, Myers-Cooke said that portioned foods, also known as finger foods, are a top favourite among at-home cooks. Portioned food is performing the best in terms of time on page, print outs, and page views.

“It’s a very big movement,” she said. “Parents want to feed their families with big platters put in the middle of the table. We’re even saying cutlery might become obsolete.”

She explained that the move to portioned food could be driven by a concern for limiting food waste. When there is just a massive platter on the table, less food is thrown in the bin because leftovers can more easily be put in the fridge and eaten the next day, when they haven’t been picked apart on someone’s plate.

Myers-Cooke said meat manufacturers should take note of this trend, by presenting their meat as portioned, either on a stick, in a pie, or in a sausage roll. 

3 – Casualisation of food

In terms of approaches to food, Myers-Cooke said today’s at-home cooks are looking to impress guests with how little effort they’ve put into their food. The days of carefully plated, multiple course meals in a formal dining room are gone. 

“We’re calling it the barefoot summer,” she said. “People want to kick off their shoes and entertain.”

Myers-Cooke said food makers can cater to this in their product development. Offerings should not only be simple to prepare, but importantly also appear effortless when they are served.

“It can’t look like people are slaving away in a kitchen,” she said.

4 – Retro

Retro trends aren’t just for the furniture and fashion industry any more. Myers-Cooke said her team has seen consumers interested in

food brands that trigger nostalgic memories for older Australians. She said recipes that include classic brands like Maltesers and Tim Tams – such as the Tim Tam Tarte – are proving popular on the site. 

“We kind of found this trend out by accident,” she explained. “Every recipe we put with custard or condensed milk got huge hits.”

She said this is a great opportunity for some of these brands to tap into this nostalgia to reintroduce or reimagine their brands.

“It’s not just an Aussie vibe, it’s a 1960s and 1970s vibe,” she said. “It’s a very interesting phenomenon.

5 – Conscious spending

Consumers worldwide are learning that they have power in their wallets – and can sway corporations by aligning their values with what they purchase. Myers-Cooke said food is at the centre of this trend, with consumers increasingly more aware of where their food comes from.

“People aren’t just spending on a budget anymore,” she said. “They want a value equation. You see it with free range eggs. People now don’t even think twice about spending more money on free range eggs. They feel it’s ethical, and better, and represents who they are.”

With food, Myers-Cooke said, brands should capitalise on this where they can by highlighting the providence of their products. If a manufacturer has all or part of their product Australian made and/or grown, this should be at the centre of their marketing campaigns. Similarly, manufacturers should highlight family or company heritage in branding and communications efforts.

“People want to feel more invested in their purchases, like they are supporting a brand,” she said.

Similarly, brands can show that they are supporting important causes, such as making efforts to reduce food waste or limit food miles, to win over consumer loyalty.

6 – Asian flavours

Of all the food trends, Myers-Cooke is confident that the consumer love for Asian flavours is one that brands need to capitalise one.

“Asian presents the biggest opportunity,” she said. “It’s popular because it’s very forgiving. You can go to your crisper and use up all your vegetables. There is lots of flavour, it’s family friendly, and it’s affordable. And there is this air of the exotic and excitement around it.”

While some food trends come and go, Myers-Cooke said food trends that add convenience and affordability are safe bets. With Asian food, she noted that noodles are a favourite among parents as they are forgiving, and also affordable.

Overall, however, she said is it the freshness and amazing tastes of Asian food that are finally winning Australians over.

“I have this personal theory that Australians have finally woken up and realised they live in Southeast Asia,” she said. “Plus, they have travelled around so much now. If you think about our amazing ingredients that we have in Australia, we can do Asian here like nowhere else in the world.”

Whatever single or combination of trends food manufacturers decide to capitalise on, Myers-Cooke said now is the time to do it. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians spend 17 per cent of their weekly spending on food and alcohol, with that spending tripling since the early 1980s.

“It was Visy CEO Anthony Pratt who said that the mining boom would be replaced with the dining boom,” she said. “We’re seeing that right now. People are spending money, and not just in restaurants, but on groceries as well.” 

Brodee Myers-Cooke is a key editor of the Seasonal Food Corp Trend Forecast, published by News Corp.

Search data from consumer websites and publications let food manufacturers know what the next food trends will be.
Search data from consumer websites and publications let food manufacturers know what the next food trends will be.

Mindful choices a key food driver for 2018

The increasingly thoughtful and mindful consumer will continue to catalyze changes in the way that companies produce, package and label their products.

More conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, 4 in 10 US and UK consumers increased their consumption of “healthy foods,” 7 in 10 want to know and understand the ingredient list, 1 in 5 in the US are most influenced by “real” ingredients, and ethical claims on packaging are top of mind. In response, better-for-you claims continue to be on-trend, having increased their market penetration from 42 per cent in 2012 to 49 per cent in 2017 YTD.

“Today’s consumer displays a high level of mindfulness about well-being and the environment,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“So it is no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly mindful in their food choices, wanting to know what is in their foods in order to make decisions about health, sustainability and ethical issues.”

“Mindful Choices” leads the list of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2018, where the company continuously analyzes global developments in food and drinks launch activity and consumer research to highlight the trends most likely to impact the food and drinks industry over the coming year and beyond.

Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for 2018 are:

  1. Mindful Choices. Consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know what is in their food and how it is produced. Innova Market Insights research data indicates that 1 in 2 US, UK and German consumers read ingredient labels often and that 7 out of 10 US and UK consumers want to know and understand ingredient lists. At the same time, rising levels of interest in ethical issues have resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink NPD soaring in recent years, with a CAGR of 44 per cent over the 2011-2016 period.
  1. Lighter Enjoyment. As consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing its appeal, although definitely not at the expense of a familiar, high quality and indulgent taste profile.
  1. Positively Processed. As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, alongside the development of new ones.
  1. Going Full Circle. The notion of closing the circle is increasingly taking hold, with greater consumer expectation that companies and brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.
  1. Beyond the Coffeehouse. While coffee is clearly trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea is also seeking to reinvent itself among the younger generations. With the taste and experiential associations of coffee and the healthy image of tea, the industry is increasingly using coffee and tea as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products as varied as energy bars, yogurt and jam.

The other trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

  1. Say it with Color
  2. Dining Out, In
  3. From Snacks to Mini Meals
  4. Ocean Garden
  5. Bountiful Choice

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The bread of the future

Food & Beverage Industry News looks at how sequencing of the wheat genome is set to open new doors in the development of bread for the health conscious.

Vivienne Stein, marketing services manager for Newly Weds Foods, has experienced some benefits from a side effect of the functional foods movement.

Working in the coatings and breadcrumb market, Stein says Newly Weds Foods was competing with major bakeries supplying into retail, as they collected returned bread from supermarkets to create cheap breadcrumb from their excess stock.

“However over time, developments of different types of bread with functional ingredients and additives made management of ingredient listings for crumb from returned bread very difficult. Ingredient listings became far too long for chicken and seafood processors using this crumb to include on their packaging. This became an opportunity for us as we had the ability to custom bake with a shortened list of ingredients to produce crumb.”

Stein’s insight into the increasing popularity of functional food can be painted into a trajectory of what’s to come in the future of bread manufacturing. The latest report from IBISWorld confirms that demand for basic bread is going down while “one significant growth area has been functional breads that have been enriched or fortified with nutrients”.

But will this trend come at the cost of a laundry list of ingredients in every bag of bread, or could the future of bread be the best of both worlds? A solution to boosting the nutritional value of bread without all the additives might not be too far away. Earlier this year, a comprehensive analysis of a wheat genome was published in the journal Genome Research.

The United Kingdom-led consortium provided the most complete map and assembly of the wheat genome to date. The project included input from University of Western Australia researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

The ARC Centre’s Owen Duncan, a co-author of the study, explains that this mapping will have significant ramifications for the bread industry, with the potential to breed new wheat strands that can naturally offer the benefits of functional foods, in the very near future.

Owen Duncan from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
Owen Duncan from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

“When you know the sequence of a gene, it’s a bit like knowing the instruction manual, on how you can get the traits you want,” he explained. “Traditionally, to breed a new wheat gene from concept to commercial variety, it takes about 10 – 20 years, depending on the trait you are looking to exploit. With the sequencing we’ll see this speed up greatly. Now that we know exactly where those traits are in the genome, it could take as little as two to four years.”

This is especially good news for celiacs looking forward to better gluten-free bread products in the future. Through this study, Duncan and other researchers traced gluten proteins back to the wheat genes, and identified more than 100 gluten genes. This analysis will be vital to changing gluten content in wheat.

“We’ll be able to see what gluten is immunogenic. These are the peptides that the immunity systems of people with celiac disease react to,” says Duncan. “We might be able to modify the sequence and create glutens that are not immunogenic.”

The same theory of altering the wheat gene flows into functional foods, where extra nutrients may be able to be included in the wheat. With bread a staple of diets across the planet, this could improve the health of people the world over.   

“As for the bread of the future, I see bread as being able to be a complete nutritional source, naturally filled with all the vitamins and minerals we need, rather than having to add these in, and depend on processing,” says Duncan “We can create a wheat that could be a complete dietary source.”

Advances in wheat genome research could also help the bread industry manage input prices, by stabilising production with a more resistant strain. Duncan explains that other members of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology have been able to trace back the sodium transporter – the trait that allows wheat to grow in saline fields. As a result, they increased the yield of wheat by 25 per cent.

This is all welcomed news for an industry that is suffering from decreasing margins. The IBISWorld report puts bread production revenue at $2.7 billion in 2016-17, with annual growth for the past five years at just 2.8 per cent. The report estimates annual growth for the next five years will be just 1.8 per cent.

“Profitability in the market is currently low, competition is high, and major players are having to adapt to lower prices,” said Sam Johnson, a senior industry analyst with IBISWorld. A lower wheat price would be welcome, as the domestic price of wheat is a key external driver in determining profitability.

IBISWorld’s report Bread Production in Australia aptly pointed out that “Higher flour prices therefore do not always result in higher revenue”. Although flour costs have dropped since their peak of 2014, they remain a risk for bread manufacturers in an increasingly competitive market.

Johnson’s advice to bread manufacturers looking to the future is to continue along the path of functional foods and premiumisation, rather than trying to compete with in-house supermarket brands on price.

“Companies need to be looking at incorporating newer, healthier ingredients, or even just promoting natural ingredients that are already in their bread,” said Johnson. “Customers need to perceive that the products are healthy.”

Sam Johnson, a senior industry analyst with IBISWorld.
Sam Johnson, a senior industry analyst with IBISWorld.

 

Global grocery: staying one step ahead of the shopper

Food and Grocery Australia 2017, to be held in Brisbane, will focus on the fast moving consumer goods and supermarket retail industry within Australia and globally.

As Australia undergoes structural economic change, the value and performance of the $126 billion Australian food and grocery sector will take greater prominence not only as a key mainstay of the manufacturing sector but also as a key driver of jobs, growth and investment. Similarly as the global economy pivots towards Asia, the emphasis of realising market potential into outcomes remains a core challenge for Australia’s food and grocery players.

This event will deliver a platform for CEO’s, Directors, and industry players from suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to forensically assess the key domestic and global drivers of the sector.

2017 will build on the success of the first Food and Grocery Australia to ddeliver a revitalised program providing greater value for your time and commitment, greater industry insights, greater breadth of opinion and greater business deliverables.

One of this year’s speakers is Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, a food and grocery research and training not-for-profit organization which has more than 1,000 members, spanning more than 40 countries.

Denney-Finch (pictured) will outline her vision of the future of the food and grocery industry.

The event takes place at Sofitel Brisbane Central from 23 -25 May. It gives suppliers, manufacturers and retailers an opportunity to connect with others in the industry.

 

Six key global food and drink trends for 2017

Market intelligence agency Mintel has announced the six key trends set to impact the global food and drink market – highlighting ingredient and food and drink product trends set to make an impact over the coming year.

2017 will be a year of extremes, from “ancient” products including grains, recipes, practices and traditions to the use of technology to create more and better tasting plant-enhanced foods.

Expect to see a rise in both “slow” and “fast” claims as well as more products designed to help people calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Opportunities will exist for more products to leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs in formulations as a way to achieve a sense calm before bedtime.

There will also be a valid excuse for nighttime chocolate indulgence. In 2017 and beyond, expect to see more of the unexpected, including fruit snacks made with ugly fruit and mayonnaise made with the liquid from draining chickpeas, which has been dubbed aquafaba.

Looking ahead to 2017, Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Analyst Jenny Zegler discusses the top food and drink trends set to impact global markets.

In tradition we trust

Consumers seek comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats.

People are seeking the safety of products that are recognisable rather than revolutionary. The trust in the familiar emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration such as “ancient” product claims including ancient grains and also ancient recipes, practices and traditions. Potential also exists for innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognisable, such as cold-brew coffee.

Power to the Plants

The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations.

In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that emphasise plants as key ingredients. More packaged products and recipes for home cooking will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. Technology will play a part, already we have seen one company use artificial intelligence to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products including milk, mayonnaise, yogurt and cheese.

Waste not

The focus of sustainability zeros in on eliminating food waste.

More retailers, restaurants and philanthropic organisations are addressing the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world, which is changing consumer perceptions. In 2017, the stigma associated with imperfect produce will begin to fade, more products will make use of ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste such as fruit snacks made from “ugly” fruit and mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas, and food waste will be repurposed in new ways, such as power sources.

Time is of the essence

The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.

Time is an increasingly precious resource and our multitasking lifestyles are propelling a need for short-cut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious and customisable, already we have seen so-called “biohacking” food and drink that offers complete nutrition in convenient formats. In 2017, the time spent on – or saved by – a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more products to directly communicate how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume.

The night shift

Evening is tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations.

The increasingly hectic pace of modern life is creating a market for food and drink that helps people of all ages calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Products can leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs as a way to achieve a sense calm before bedtime, while chocolate could be positioned as a way to wind down after a stressful day. Ahead, there is potential for more evening-focused innovations formulated for relaxation, satiety and, taking a cue from the beauty industry, food and drink that provide functional benefits while the consumer sleeps.

Balancing the scales: health for everyone

Healthy food and drink are not “luxuries.”

Inequality is not just a political or philanthropic issue — it also will resonate more with the food and drink industry. Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets but the access to — and the cost of — healthy food and drink is often an impediment. More campaigns and innovations are to be expected that will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their healthy ambitions, including apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale and, in a tie-in with Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend Waste Not, a value-priced box of “wonky” veg.

“This year’s trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient and trustworthy food and drink. Across the world, manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to provide more people with food and drink that is recognisable, saves time and contains servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables and other plants,” said Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel.

“In addition, Mintel has identified exciting new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption, progressive solutions for food waste and affordable healthy food for low-income consumers. Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalise on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future.”

Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends are available to download here.

Consumer trends and the ‘new food world’ of 2025

Over the next decade, we will see a ‘new food world’ where real food is demanded by more people, according to a prominent industry strategist.

Speaking at a business networking breakfast held in Sydney last week, Chr. Hansen’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Dr Kelli Hayes (pictured top) said the industry can expect to see shifts in the five value drivers (tasty, healthy, convenient, authentic, and safe) consumers will use to make food purchases and choices, as well as ongoing consumer concern over food’s affordability.

“Negotiating these drivers results in people facing difficult dilemmas and contradictions. For example, consumers often find it difficult to find healthy foods that are also safe to eat since the healthiest foods are those that are high in nutrients and contain no chemicals, but such unprocessed, fresh foods tend to be unstable and present a safety risk,” Dr Hayes said.

“Consumers also think it is difficult to find food that is both healthy and convenient since eating healthily requires extra time and energy that people are hard-pressed to find.”

“Providing affordable solutions that meet multiple value drivers will be the key to the industry’s success and present significant innovation opportunities.”

These insights into understanding changes in consumer food behaviour were gathered from research undertaken in the US, where consumers and producers are pushing new and innovative food practices; Europe, which has changing consumer habits, regulators considered ahead of other markets, and innovative retailers; and China, which has high growth and large scale potential.

Dr Hayes was joined by guest speaker, Social Researcher, Mark McCrindle from McCrindle Research (pictured below) who discussed a range of issues including the emergence of mega trends in Australia and how these are impacting consumer behaviour towards food, shopping and eating.

Mark McCrindle Image

These mega trends include the impact of cultural diversity, which is making food offerings in supermarkets and restaurants a lot broader and more interesting.

McCrindle also discussed the impact of Generation Y emerging and starting to have families in record numbers.

“We are seeing a group of parents who are more food literate and tech savvy than ever before. They are label readers and seek information about the foods they buy and are particularly conscious when buying food to feed their children,” McCrindle said.

The other trend we are seeing is that online shopping for fresh food has not taken off like other categories and this is because people are still keen to see, touch and smell their food before purchasing it.”

Other local trends Mr McCrindle discussed included the continuing emergence of indigenous foods to provide a local connection and flavour to Australian cuisine. McCrindle described Australians as ‘experimental’ and ‘forward thinking’ when it came to embracing new foods and cuisines.

 

Clean Eating to be the major Food and Beverage trend in 2016

“Clean Eating” labelling; a trend in 2015 that has inspired back to basics approach in product development which has seen a surge in the reporting of “free from” launches and “flexitarian” options.

New global products tracked with “organic” labelling have risen from 6.3 per cent in the first half of 2013 to 9.5 per cent in the first half of 2015.

According to Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights Lu Ann Williams, 2016 may see further interest in a return to natural food processing as links to ‘real’ food are re-established.

“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 incredible.”

In outlining the emerging trends for 2016, Williams believed that health-conscious consumers that reduced their consumption of meat are having a major impact on new product activity.

The combination of shared health, sustainability and animal welfare concerns are changing the technological handling and development of alternative protein sources and animal-friendly treatment.

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.

Changes in children’s diets have also affected food trends over the past year, as they are encouraged to consume fusion smoothies and vegetable pastas which further indicate a possible growth in vegetable consumption amongst adults.