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Consumers are turning to tea, coffee and energy drinks as they reduce their alcohol intake, Prinova research has shown. The report also suggests that even more drinkers – younger ones in particular – would cut back if a wider range of healthy non-alcoholic beverages were available.

To explore current trends in the beverage space, Prinova, the leading provider of bespoke premixes and blends, surveyed 1277 physically active European consumers.* More than four in ten (42.5 %) said they had reduced their alcohol intake over the past three years, compared to just 15 % who reported drinking more. Consumers aged 25-34 were the most likely to say they were consuming less alcohol.

Among those who had cut down on alcohol, most were turning to healthier beverage options including coffee, tea, still water and juices/smoothies, with preferences varying by age, gender, and location. Consumers over the age of 65 were five times more likely than average to have increased their consumption of dairy beverages, while alcohol-free beer was significantly more popular with older age groups than Gen Z.

Over a third (35 %) of men who had cut down on alcohol were drinking more energy drinks as a result. Energy also emerged as the top wellness benefit sought in healthy beverages, ahead of hydration and post-exercise recovery.

In the cohort who had not reduced their alcohol intake, over half said they would be likely to do so if a wider range of healthy beverages were available. This was particularly true of millennials (64 %).

When asked which ingredients they most looked for in healthy drinks, 65 % of respondents picked vitamins and 48 % chose minerals. Plant protein also scored highly as a desirable beverage ingredient, ahead of both fruit and whey protein. Other purchase drivers for healthy beverages included affordability, natural ingredients, trusted brand, and scientifically proven ingredients.

James Street, Global Marketing Director at Prinova, said: “Consumers are increasingly re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol, whether that means embracing the ‘sober-curious’ trend, or simply moderating their intake. However, our research also suggests that many more would be persuaded do so if they could replace booze with appealing healthy alternatives. Given the scale of this market need, and the increasingly wide range of on-trend functional ingredients available, it’s clear that there are still huge opportunities for innovation in the functional beverage space.”

With the world’s largest inventory of food-grade single vitamins, and as the leading supplier of vitamins B and C, Prinova can help manufacturers create beverages with premium micronutrients. Its other solutions include enduracarb®, a slow-release “double sugar” which is ideal for energy drinks and sports nutrition beverages, and AlphaTeaTM, a 100 % natural solution for functional beverages derived from green tea extract.

For the full results of the research, download the White Paper from: https://tinyurl.com/8u2knyb6

*Online survey of consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Collaboration will unlock food emotions and offer a new window into the consumer mind

Givaudan announced an agreement with neuroscience company Thimus, the developer of the exclusive TBox platform that provides an integrated collection of explicit and implicit data for exploring how humans experience food. Givaudan’s collaboration with Thimus is the first extensive use of the TBox platform in the world of food, resulting in Givaudan’s new programme, Food Emotions powered by Thimus. The agreement adds to Givaudan’s growing set of digital capabilities designed to deliver unique consumer insights and shape the future of food.

Food products are being redesigned to meet new expectations and sustainability, health, quality and emotion are crucial considerations in this re-invention. Understanding and responding to consumer preferences has never been more important, but there’s often a gap between what consumers say and their actual experience and behaviour. Neuroscience may be the key to closing that gap. A portable tool developed by Thimus is used to gain a fuller understanding of the consumer experience.

In addition to only having consumers participate in a focus group or answer a questionnaire, Thimus’ TBox provides participants with a headset to wear during taste tests.

The headset records brain signals, which are then processed by validated algorithms to measure four key mental states including frontal asymmetry, engagement, cognitive workload and relaxation.

Using proprietary software and a cloud-based database for data analysis and retrieval, the tool is able to deliver insights that were previously unavailable or unreliable.

Givaudan has used the Thimus technology extensively in several customer projects with very successful results. For example, Givaudan used Thimus technology in recent consumer tests on botanical soft drinks, comparing two prototypes. The results revealed that consumers implicitly found one concept significantly more satisfying than the other. The implicit data gathered from Thimus was used to pinpoint a negative reaction during the taste phase in the second product. The team was then able to identify a successful route to optimise the soft drink by improving mouthfeel. In this instance, the problem and its resolution could not have been uncovered by examining declarative data alone.

The number of consumers cutting back on their grocery shopping as a result of inflation has grown significantly during the past year, according to new research.

In a survey commissioned by specialist PR consultancy Ingredient Communications, a quarter of respondents (24.9 %) said they had stopped buying a food or beverage product in the previous three months due an increase in price. This is significantly higher than 10 months earlier in late 2021, when the same survey found that 17.6 % of shoppers had traded out of a product because it had become too expensive.

The research, conducted by SurveyGoo, also found that nearly half of respondents (48.4 %) had purchased a product less often, compared with 36.5 % previously. More than half (50.9 %) said they had bought less of a product, compared with 40.8 % before, while 57.8 % said they had switched to a cheaper brand, compared with 47.5 % in 2021.

Retailer brands have benefited from the squeeze, with 35.6 % of respondents saying they had switched to an own label version of a product, versus 25.8 % in the previous survey.

SurveyGoo polled 1,000 consumers in the USA and UK during the first week of October 2022. The previous survey was carried out in early December 2021 when inflation was already on the rise. Since then, prices have soared even higher. Year on year inflation in the UK’s food and beverage category was 14.6 % in September this year.1 In the US, inflation for food consumed in the home was recorded at 13 % over the same period.2

Nearly all respondents to the latest survey (98.1 %) said they had noticed food and beverage prices rising in the previous three months, compared with 94.2 % in the 2021 survey.

Richard Clarke, Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, said: “Since we first conducted our price sensitivity survey in December 2021, the war in Ukraine has exacerbated an already volatile situation. As well as difficulties sourcing certain raw materials, fuel costs have gone through the roof. With winter on the way in the western hemisphere, and no sign of Russia backing down, demand for energy will spike and it’s hard to see any short-term easing of the inflationary pressures that food companies and consumers are facing.”

He continued: “In manufacturing, it’s tempting to look for quick fixes to cut costs but in the food industry there are always risks to this. Consumers are very attuned to recipe changes and pack size reductions and social media means news of these can spread fast. At Ingredient Communications, we’ve always advocated using high quality ingredients that differentiate a product. But in these challenging times, it’s also worth talking to your ingredients suppliers to see how they can help. Many have extensive formulation expertise and might be able to advise on how to reduce input costs without compromising on quality or losing brand equity and consumer trust.”

1https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/september2022#notable-movements-in-prices
2https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm#:~:text=percent%20in%20September.-,The%20index%20for%20all%20items%20less%20food%20and%20energy%20rose,items%20less%20food%20and%20energy.

Consumers will stop buying a product when its original price has risen by an average of 40 %, according to a new survey commissioned by specialist PR agency Ingredient Communications and conducted by SurveyGoo.

Just over 1,000 US and UK consumers answered a series of questions designed to reveal just how price-sensitive they really are.1 As many as 94 % of participants said they had noticed their food shopping bills going up in the previous three months, with 79 % stating they believed supply chain problems such as driver shortages were to blame.

Respondents were then asked to select the point at which they would stop buying a selection of food, beverage and nutrition products due to price rises, using a scale of + 5 % to ‘I would buy this product whatever the price’.

Overall, the results indicated that shoppers were more immune to price increases for low-cost staple goods. For example, the category in which consumers were least price sensitive was milk (dairy), which could increase in price by an average of 65 % before respondents would stop buying it. This was followed by bread (62 %) and fresh vegetables (60 %).

Conversely, there was greater resistance to cost increases in nutrition categories, where the base price of products tends to be higher. For instance, respondents said they would stop buying protein powder once the price had risen by an average of 17 %. The corresponding pinch point was 23 % for probiotics, 26 % for dietary supplements, and 28 % for Omega 3 fish oil supplements.

High quality ingredients are key

The survey findings also indicate that consumers are happy to shop around in order to offset the impact of upward price pressures. Nearly half of respondents (48 %) said they had switched to a cheaper brand in the previous three months as a result of price rises, while 26 % said they had changed to a retailer’s own-label version of the same product.

Richard Clarke, Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, said: “For basic goods, even a large percentage price increase might still only be a matter of cents or pennies. By contrast, a small percentage increase in the cost of a premium nutrition product might be measured in dollars or pounds.”

He added: “In such challenging market conditions, brands will need to work hard to retain consumer loyalty. An effective way to achieve this is to demonstrate added value by using high quality ingredients that provide clear differentiation and command high levels of trust, whether that’s through proven efficacy, sustainability, strong co-branding, or a combination of these. These values, communicated effectively, will tie a consumer to a brand more closely, mitigating the impact of price increases on purchasing behaviour.”

1SurveyGoo surveyed 1,063 consumers online in December 2021 (532 UK, 531 US)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the apple industry up and down the supply chain, it has also presented unique opportunities, according to a new report released by the U.S. Apple Association at the organization’s 126th annual Outlook Conference. Considering these opportunities, and despite a challenging 18 months, apple production is expected to exceed 11 billion pounds this crop year.

USApple’s “Industry Outlook 2021” provides the most up-to-date data and analysis on U.S. and global apple production, utilization and trade. Authored by USApple Director of Industry Analytics Chris Gerlach, the report takes an in-depth look at the many trends and forces – from H-2A labor issues to online grocery shopping – helping to shape the U.S. apple industry.

Production

According to a USApple analysis of Agriculture Department data, total U.S. apple production for the 2021-22 crop year will exceed 11.1 billion pounds or 265.4 million bushels. This represents a 2.7 percent increase compared to 2020-21 crop year production of 258.6 million bushels and is 1.3 percent less than the five-year production average.

Gerlach noted that these figures are more comprehensive than USDA data, which only looks at the top seven apple-producing states. “We’ve analyzed the production from states outside of the top seven and added that back to USDA’s figure,” explained Gerlach.

At the varietal level, Gala is expected to retain the top spot with almost 49.3 million bushels produced, accounting for around 19 percent of the U.S. apple market. Rounding out the top five are Red Delicious (35.7 m bu), Honeycrisp (31 m bu), Fuji (29.1 m bu) and Granny Smith (27.2 m bu). In comparison, the 2020 top five produced apple varieties were: 1) Gala 2) Red Delicious 3) Fuji 4) Honeycrisp and 5) Granny Smith.

Trade

With respect to fresh apple imports and exports, the U.S. still retains a healthy positive trade balance. In the 2020-21 crop year. the U.S. exported almost 41 million bushels of fresh apples while only importing around 5.2 million bushels. These net exports (35.6 m bu) are valued at almost $773.8 million.

“On a year-over-year basis, while the balance of trade has declined with respect to quantity, it has increased in value,” said Gerlach. “This is primarily being caused by a rapid decline in the value of imports from the 2019-20 crop year, but is also due to some resilience in export values which have not decreased as much relative to export quantities.”

Labor

“Any assessment of the U.S. apple industry must consider the agricultural employment situation,” said Gerlach. “We are losing domestic workers faster than we can replace them and so, increasingly, growers have had to turn to seasonal migrant labor, or H-2A workers, to meet their needs.”

This is a critical issue for the U.S. apple industry because this source of labor is expensive and getting more so. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the minimum compensation rate for H-2A labor, has been increasing by more than 5 percent annually for the last 10 years.

From 2014 to 2020, average annual crop production employment fell by 3 percent and, in apple orchards specifically, it declined by 20 percent.

Consumer Trends

“Fortunately, throughout the disruptions brought on by COVID-19, the U.S. apple industry has not seen any considerable decrease in domestic demand,” said Gerlach.

Throughout the pandemic, apple packers and marketers have been quick to respond by offering bagged apples that give consumers added peace of mind by reducing the handling needed to stock and pick the fruit. Also, notes Gerlach, the most significant consumer trend to come out of the pandemic was the rate at which shoppers embraced e-commerce grocery shopping, which also aided the sale of apples. By the first quarter of 2021, e-commerce had grown to account for 3.5 percent of food and beverage store sales at $6.9 billion (up from $1.5 billion in Q1 of 2018 – an increase of more than 377 percent).

“All of these external forces, from labor costs to consumer grocery trends, will continue to shape apple production and utilization throughout the coming years,” said Gerlach.

Teetotalism trends in the Asia-Pacific region are becoming increasingly prevalent, with approximately *3three out of four (71 %) of consumers drinking less alcohol in August 2020, according to a survey by leading data and analytics company GlobalData. However, the adoption of alternative soft drinks remains low, at only one in five* consumers. In fact, APAC customers surveyed are more attracted by health claims – specifically products noted to help support mental wellbeing – with such products purchased by nearly a third of consumers. Going forward, it will be crucial for drinks brands to blur the lines around traditional alcoholic products and offer ‘better for you’ messaging.

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “APAC consumers are turning away from alcohol driven by concerns around physical and mental health. While general health concerns take precedence, backed by *almost half (49 %) of the region’s population, weight management, fitness, physical appearance and emotional wellbeing are all considerable factors driving low or no-alcohol innovations.”

Recognizing this trend, New Zealand-based companies Adashiko and Parker Beverages recently launched a collagen-infused bottled water, marketed as ‘premium’ and ‘sophisticated’. This launch leverages growing demand for alternatives to alcohol that incorporate functional properties, writes GlobalData.

Bryan adds: “By incorporating functional and beneficial ingredient formulations, companies such as Adashiko-Parker Beverages are able to align to personalized health trends and cater to an evolving consumer landscape.”

Looking at alcohol consumption trends more closely, GlobalData’s research reveals that, of the *271 % of consumers drinking less, a sizeable *20 % (one in five) have stopped drinking alcohol altogether. In contrast, when asked a similar question in the US.

Bryan adds: “As pubs and bars closed their doors this year, and tensions regarding public health heightened, consumers were forced to reassess their priorities and lifestyles. Trends are shaping new home-bound leisure and social occasions where consumers seek the same taste and feel of mature drinks without the negative implications.”

Japanese FMCG company, Morinaga, is leveraging these trends with its amazake product range. Most notably, the Morigana Collagen in Haenuki flavour puts a healthy twist on the traditional sweet and low-alcohol Japanese drink by highlighting the high collagen and alcohol-free claims.

Bryan adds: “GlobalData’s research highlights the importance of premium positioning and clear ‘better for you’ messaging. By leveraging wellbeing factors such as natural, immunity-boosting or skin health, brands can create a premium product that blurs consumers’ perceptions around traditional alcoholic products. A rebranding mission, of sorts. Going forward, it will be crucial for brands to blur these lines further, emphasizing the positive health credentials that will help reassure consumers, both mentally and physically, to tap into multiple consumption occasions and justify a potentially higher price mark up.”

*GlobalData’s 2020 market pulse survey – Asia-Pacific – published 1 September  2020
*2Combined responses: “I try to consume a moderate amount” and “I am trying to reduce my intake as much as possible”
*3Combined responses: “I try to consume a moderate amount”, “I am trying to reduce my intake as much as possible”, and “I avoid this entirely”

With an aging population globally, consumers are increasingly looking for solutions that help them to live their lives to the fullest while maintaining high levels of health and wellness regardless of their age.

While 7 out of 10 global consumers in an Innova Consumer Survey said that they had made changes over the past year to improve their health, these changes were not just for physical health, with consumers balancing physical, mental, and emotional aspects. Changes to improve physical wellbeing continued to lead, with 53 % of respondents saying that they had made a change. However, numbers were also significant for consumers saying that they had taken steps to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing (44 % of respondents) and for consumers saying that they had sought more spiritual time (32 % of respondents).

As a result, nutrition that supports both physical and emotional wellbeing is thriving and can target the needs and preferences of different generations with more specific holistic approaches to help identify opportunities and optimize innovation.

Being aged 60+ continues to be redefined, as this age group strives to remain healthier and more active while potentially working until later in their lives than previous generations out of choice or necessity. Future seniors, however, will come from Generation X and Millennials, raised in a different era to the Silent Generation and Boomers who make up the over 60s of today.

Innova’s 2019 research study indicates that 76 % of consumers aged between 26 and 55 years agreed that healthy aging started with what they ate and drank, while 56 % said that they had increased their consumption of functional foods/drinks over the previous year.

Healthy aging claims are starting to appear more regularly on food products and beverages as younger generations prefer functional food & beverages to classic supplement formats. Global research by Innova Market Insights indicates that while 29.7 % of over 55s cited tablets and 26 % cited capsules as their preferred form of intake for supplements in 2019, among those aged 26 to 35 years, nearly 30 % preferred supplements in the form of food products and 27.7 % as beverages, falling slightly to 22.1 % and 25 %, respectively, for those aged 36 to 45.

This presents opportunities to redefine supplements and how they are used, while we are also seeing blurring boundaries between supplements and food/drinks.

It is clear that products with active health claims are increasingly featuring in the marketplace to cater to a variety of needs. Food and beverage launches with active health claims tracked by Innova Market Insights are seeing a growth of +11 % (Global, 2018 vs. 2019). There is a particular focus on healthy aging or aging well, both for seniors and for younger demographics who already engaging with preventative care.

Joint health, energy/alertness, immune health, and bone health are some of the fastest-growing active health claims for global food and beverage launches in recent years as links between particular nutrients and health benefits are increasingly made.

Brain health is another area of growing interest, particularly in terms of aging well, while targeting physical appearance via nutrition and diet is also seeing rapidly rising levels of interest.

On 7th September 2020 at 13:30 BST, Myrthe de Beukelaar, Market Analyst at Innova Market Insights, will present Health & Happiness: a Holistic Approach to Healthy Aging webinar as part of Vitafoods Virtual Expo event. Join Myrthe to learn more about how consumers are increasingly looking for solutions to live their life to the fullest. Register here.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak across Europe the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector has increased efforts to ensure a continuous and diverse supply of safe, high quality fresh fruit and vegetables for consumers in Europe and around the world. With at-home consumption increasing as the outbreak develops, ensuring consumers can maintain a healthy, balanced diet with access to fresh fruit and vegetables remains a top priority for the European fruit and vegetable sector.

Freshfel Europe together with its members has been closely monitoring the implications of the COVID0-19 outbreak for the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain across Europe. Now officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the closure of border crossings in Europe for people has delayed some operations in the fresh produce supply chain. However, all possible measures have been taken across the chain to maintain supply of high quality fresh produce. With the closure of restaurants and cafés in many Member States, consumers are increasingly reliant on the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in retail outlets for at-home consumption. The fresh fruit and vegetable sector is holding discussions with public authorities to guarantee a ‘fresh corridor’ to fast-track trucks transporting highly perishable fresh fruit and vegetables to guarantee timely supply. This includes securing vehicles and drivers in a timely manner in the right locations and introducing protocols to ensure trade flows. Discussions are also being centred on securing resources for the upcoming picking season, such as having enough employees picking in orchards and working in packing stations and further down the supply chain.

Measures are being taken by all European fresh produce companies to provide the highest protection to workers in the supply chain. Non-essential staff are working from home, distances between essential operating staff have been increased, the highest hygiene precautions in pack-houses and wholesale markets are being taken and truck drivers are being isolated to decrease the risk of shortages of these crucial personnel in maintaining operations. In retail outlets staff and consumer safety is of the highest priority. Precautions have increased to ensure the highest level of safety for essential staff re-stocking shelves to meet heightening demand for products and for consumers expecting safe, high quality fresh products.

The highest levels of food safety and hygiene are being met by operators in the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain amid the COVID-19 outbreak. While the European Food Safety Authority has stated that there is no evidence that transmission through food consumption could occur, the sector reminds consumers to follow the precautionary recommendations issued by the WHO on good hygiene practices during any food handling and preparation. This includes washing hands, using different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked food and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods. All these efforts by the sector are facilitating consumers in continuing to have a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables throughout the outbreak.

Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has announced two trends impacting the global packaging industry in 2020:

  • Ahead of the Recycling Curve: Packaging manufacturers and brands must continue to develop and commercialize recyclable package innovations even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist.
  • In-store Refill: The rapid growth of independent packaging-free stores is driving retailers across the industry to consider how to create simple, branded, and engaging refill opportunities in-store.

Looking ahead, Mintel Global Packaging Director David Luttenberger discusses the major trends influencing the packaging sector worldwide during the coming year.

Ahead of the Recycling Curve

“Despite the world’s wishes, single-use plastic will exist for decades to come. With a fraction of the world’s plastic waste actually being recycled, there is a dire need to explore technologies that are ‘technically’ recyclable now, and for the development of plastic alternatives – not just single-use plastics, but for all types of plastics and packaging. Time is of the essence; these technologies must be developed today, ahead of their ability to be recycled, rather than the other way around. But next-generation technologies are only small pieces of the greater equation that will address and solve the waste and recycling crisis. With all the will in the world, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is not universal; it’s hard to recycle if consumers aren’t first reminded to ‘return’ packaging to the proper recycling bin or store take-back system. The ultimate solution is brands, manufacturers, packaging industry bodies, governments and environmental non-profits working in harmony to better inform consumers, develop more easily recyclable packaging and establish better collection systems and recycling processes.”

In-store Refill

“Regardless of the material used, the next iteration of the circular economy is clearly focused on reusability, alongside recyclability. With single-use now a toxic phrase for many consumers, refillable packaging is becoming more and more commonly known and used. While consumers want packaging reduction that comes from reuse, they expect this to be a simple and mess-free transaction. But without packaging to serve as one of the main communication channels from brands to consumers, branding can become challenging. Brands should look to offer memorable experiences through refill in order to create brand engagement, with those bringing some theatre to the refill moment most likely to succeed. And whilst many smaller refill stores use Instagrammable containers (such as attractive heritage glass jars), if refill is to become mainstream, consumers will expect refillable options that are easy to use from start to finish. By meeting this need, brands have an opportunity to ensure that their message is maintained.”

To find out Mintel’s predictions for what consumers in 2020 (and 2030!) will want and why, and what manufacturers and brands must do now to stay ahead of the competition, download the free thought piece here.

The UK non-alcoholic spirits category has grown to be worth £37m in 2019, up 506 % versus 2014, and is forecast to more than double in size again over the next five years, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

David Harris, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Younger generations are drinking less, with Gen-Z only strengthening this trend as they reach legal drinking age. This is hardly ground-breaking news. Adult soft drinks, premium juices and a growing range of high-quality non-alcoholic beers are all targeted at this demographic, in addition to older consumers who simply want to moderate their alcohol consumption.”

So what about consumers who don’t want a non-alcoholic beer, but still want an ‘alcohol-alike’ beverage? This may be at a party, on a night out, or at home when everyone else is enjoying their gin and tonics. This is the specific opportunity non-alcoholic spirits are targeting. Where craft beers targeted consumers turned off by mainstream German and US lager brands, non-alcoholic spirits aim to engage consumers who want to feel part of the party, but who don’t want a sore head in the morning.

Harris adds: “Talking of craft beer, what is notable is how the rise of non-alcoholic spirits mirrors the rise of craft beer, arguably the beverage trend of the last decade. With laser targeting of a specific need, from a specific demographic, there are clear similarities between non-alcoholic spirits and craft beer.

“Both target younger legal age consumers. Both target consumers who are either tired of, or have no interest in, the mainstream variant of the offering, and both use flashy, stylized and no-nonsense packaging to engage with their audience.”

Excited with the prospect, major players in spirits are increasingly looking to get involved, with William Grant and Sons launching their Atopia range, Pernod-Ricard launching Celtic Soul, as well as the Diageo-funded Seedlip, which has now expanded out of the UK and into overseas markets.

Retailers also seem to agree that this is a category to watch too, with Tesco, Lidl, Asda, and more major UK retailers all stocking at least one non-alcoholic spirit.

Harris concludes: “While this may not be the next craft beer, the opportunity is certainly there, and both brands and retailers agree that this in an opportunity which is too big to miss.

As one of the only industries that can connect environment at a personal level to the individual, by also talking about health, Food and Beverage brands have an opportunity to drive change through the way they communicate with consumers on these converging topics, to meet this growing and pressing need.

This year’s global research study conducted by Tetra Pak, in partnership with Ipsos, investigates the convergence of health and environment and reveals six new segments of consumers. Each group has unique attitudes around both health and environment, which present clear opportunities for targeted products and messaging for Food and Beverage brands.

Please read and download the full study under https://bit.ly/35ivkAR

Protein is an essential macronutrient, but latest research from the world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that a staggering 85 %* of Indians aren’t able to correctly identify the key sources of proteins.

Moreover, a significant number of Indian consumers aren’t fully aware of the actual benefits of the macronutrient. While over one-third (36 %) associate protein with being beneficial for bone health, just a quarter (24 %) are aware that proteins help in building muscles and a fifth (19 %) with weight loss.

Even among consumers who are aware of protein sources, Mintel research reveals that a third (32 %) strongly agree that it is hard to know if they are getting enough protein from their daily diet.

Natasha Kumar, Food & Drink Analyst, India, at Mintel, said: “Our research indicates that the majority of Indian consumers are unable to correctly identify the sources of proteins, while a significant number aren’t aware of the actual benefits of the macronutrient. As such, there is a clear need for companies and brands to help consumers differentiate between the various protein sources and their associated health benefits. Companies and brands should not only emphasise the quality of protein consumption but the quantity as well as how it relates to the recommended dietary daily allowance of protein.”

Move away from fad diets

Meanwhile, Mintel research also reveals there is an opportunity for companies and manufacturers to move away from fad diets, and instead, target the general consumer with food and drink products with added proteins. While a fifth (21 %) of Indian consumers say that they have tried a high-protein diet in the past, over two-thirds (68 %) either agree or strongly agree that high-protein diets are just a fad.

“Packaged food and drink products with added protein should be targeted at the general consumer and not just those who follow a high-protein diet. Companies and brands need to take advantage of the behavioural changes of increasingly health-conscious Indians who incorporate high or added protein packaged food and drink into their everyday diets. Given that most consumers question whether they are getting the recommended allowance of protein in their diets, one way to appeal to the masses would be to include these claims in products that Indians already consume in their daily lives,” Natasha continued.

Introducing high-protein food and drinks in mass categories

Finally, Mintel research highlights that over one in four (27 %) Indian consumers strongly agree that there aren’t enough high-protein packaged food and drink products. Indeed, research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) indicates that just 5 % of food and drink products launched in India between 2016-2018** featured high/added protein claims. Of this, 84 % were food products and the rest (16 %) were drinks. However, the growth of high/added protein claims is being driven by drinks, increasing from 8 % in 2017 to 25 % in 2018.

“Currently, high or added protein claims exist in very niche categories like cereal bars and meal replacement drinks, which tend to have smaller audiences in India. Companies, brands and manufacturers will stand to benefit from expanding these claims to more prevalent categories like milk, yoghurt, biscuits and snacks, all of which have a larger consumer base. Such added claims can also be essential in converting more consumers to packaged food from fresh food. For instance, added protein claims in yoghurt can be a way to lure consumers to opt for a packaged option over fresh homemade yoghurt,” concluded Natasha.

*3,000 urban Indians aged 18+
**January 2016-December 2018

There has been a 14 % average annual growth in food and beverage launches with a snacking claim (Global, CAGR 2014 – 2018), according to Innova Market Insights. For most consumers, snacking is a part of daily life and always has been. What is changing is the way people think about snacking and what is considered to be a snack.

“Fundamental changes in eating patterns largely driven by increasingly busy lifestyles mean that the traditional pattern of three meals a day has been giving way over some years to a less formal eating pattern,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “This is shifting to a more fragmented and flexible eating style, encompassing multiple small meals or snacks, often eaten alone or on the go,” she adds.

This rise in the so-called “fourth meal” culture has increased demand for quick and convenient yet healthy solutions for busy consumers. This is creating opportunities for wholesome, satisfying and sustaining snacks to fulfill the role of mini meals and play a more meaningful role in contributing to refueling and nutritional needs throughout the day.

Healthy snacking choices are seeing the fastest growth rates for NPD overall, with nutritious options gaining ground. This is led by vegetable-based snacks, with an increasingly high profile for on-trend ingredients such as more unusual nuts, ancient grains, hummus, avocado, seaweed, hemp and baobab, for example. On the go and lighter options such as miniatures, bites and puffs are also increasingly in evidence, as is the search for the right balance between health and indulgence.

There are also regional differences in preferred snack types, with Innova Market Insights consumer research indicating that nuts & seeds, chocolate and yogurt/drinking yogurt are the top three choices in the US, for example, while chocolate leads from potato-based snacks and sweet biscuits/cookies in the UK.

“As traditional meal times and occasions disintegrate and people seek quick, convenient, yet healthy solutions for busy lifestyles,” Williams notes. “We are continuing to move away from the traditional three-meals-a-day norm,” she concludes.

2018 was a banner year for social commerce with the public listing of major players in the industry. In fact, social commerce has indeed assumed a crucial role in digital retailing as latest research from Mintel reveals that a whopping 87 % of urban Chinese consumers* have bought, sold or shared information on products or services through social commerce platforms.

Currently, preference for shopping via social commerce channels equals that of traditional ecommerce platforms (39 % vs 41 % respectively). Mintel research indicates an even more optimistic outlook for social commerce in the days ahead – as 45 % of Chinese consumers would like to use social commerce platforms more in the future, as compared to the 32 % who say the same of traditional ecommerce channels. In addition, over half (51 %) of China’s post-90s generation intend to use social commerce platforms more in the future; while just under a third (31 %) intend to shop on traditional ecommerce platforms.

Cici Wu, Research Analyst, Mintel China reports, said:
“Social commerce is playing a crucial role in the digital retailing industry, especially with the public listing of major players in the market in recent months. Essentially everyone in China is jumping on the social commerce bandwagon and showing great enthusiasm for the platforms by engaging in a variety of social commerce activities. Although more consumers today still prefer traditional ecommerce than social commerce channels, their expectations for the latter are more optimistic. Our research shows that consumers who are the future of China’s economy, specifically the post-90s generation, favour social commerce over traditional ecommerce platforms.”

Seizing the ‘He’ economy

Men appear particularly engaged in social commerce, a growing trend that brands in the space could play into. Indeed, Mintel research reveals that over half (52 %) of consumers who engage in selling activities on social media platforms are male, compared with 48 % of females.

Men demonstrate stronger purchase power in the categories of personal electronics (eg smartphones, gaming devices) (41 % male vs 25 % female), household appliances (eg rice cooker, vacuum machines) (34 % vs 28 %), health supplements (30 % vs 28 %) and virtual services (eg online course, financial services) (21 % vs 18 %).

Further showcasing the potential in tapping into the ‘He’ economy, Mintel research reveals that a sizable proportion of men are purchasing in categories that are traditionally female-led in terms of consumption; as many as three in five (61 %) male consumers purchase clothing, shoes and accessories from social commerce platforms, as compared to 68 % of female consumers. Meanwhile, 46 % of male consumers purchase household cleaning products, in comparison to 48 % of female consumers. When it comes to beauty items, over a third (35 %) of male consumers say that they buy beauty and personal care products, while 62 % of females say the same.

“Making profits from the pockets of women and kids is a business practice that many have left behind in recent years. A more free and fluid market has helped unlock the spending potential and consumption desires of male consumers. Men’s shopping carts are no longer filled with just electronics, sports or game gadgets, but also include beauty products, groceries and cleaning products—categories that have been traditionally consumed by women. To tap into the ‘He’ economy, brands need to understand the change in men’s consumption habits for further growth. They also need to show an unbiased attitude towards this change and, at the same time, bear in mind their concerns and desires as individuals as well as other roles they assume like a father or husband.” Cici continued.

Fashion and beauty embrace social commerce

According to Mintel research, clothing, shoes and accessories is the most consumed category via social commerce platforms with two-thirds (64 %) of social commerce consumers having purchased these products in the past year*. This is followed by beauty and personal care products (48 %), food and drink products (48 %), and household cleaning products (47 %).

“As two of the most dynamic categories in the social commerce world, the development of the fashion and beauty industries are being driven by fashion and beauty influencers, or KOLs (key opinion leaders). Some of these KOLs have teams who produce high quality content as well as facilitate collaborations between the KOL and the brand. However, as it is becoming expensive to collaborate with top-tier influencers, micro influencers who engage in social commerce activities to communicate with like-minded people may be the way to go.

“Collaborating with micro influencers could open up more possibilities for fashion and beauty brands to increase brand awareness and preference, particularly as their interests go beyond financial returns, and instead, are driven by their own passion. That said, rather than solely revolving around the use of KOLs, marketing strategies that are theme driven or carried out in coordination with other marketing approaches, will work to a brand’s advantage in the long run.” Cici concluded.

*3,000 internet users aged 20-49, October 2018

Two out of three US consumers “love to discover new flavors’, while the same proportion say that ‘going out for dinner inspires their home cooking” (Innova Market Insights consumer survey 2018). Adventurous, daring and re-imagined flavors are emerging to entice trend-conscious consumers, who enjoy an element of the unexpected on their palates.

Flavor remains the number one factor of importance when buying food and beverages. An increasingly adventurous consumer creates opportunities for bolder, unconventional flavors and novel varieties that bring an element of surprise and the potential to create a social media buzz. Millennials and Gen Z in particular drive the trend of novel, creative, impactful foods with funky colors, shapes and flavors that are exciting to share through social media.

Globalization has sparked the curiosity of consumers to discover new food and beverage, with Innova Market Insights research indicating that three in ten US consumers ‘love to discover flavors of other cultures’.

Food and flavor trends are traveling faster than ever in today’s connected world. Consumers love to explore new flavors from different countries with and increasing range of ethnic flavors appearing across the board to satisfy culinary adventurers. Ethnic flavors proliferate, with sixty five percent growth in food and beverage launches with an ethnic flavor (Global, 2018 vs. 2014). Mediterranean and Far Eastern flavors are seeing the biggest growth in launch activity, with meat, fish and eggs and sauces and seasonings the leading categories.

People now travel the world and are connected online more than ever, getting increasingly familiar with other food cultures, flavors and experiences. To drive deeper connections with the adventurous consumer, brands satisfy their curiosity not only through exotic world flavors, but also new food experiences and telling the story behind the product. Consumers are increasingly engaged by interactive devices such as voting for favorite flavors, submitting their own flavor ideas and sharing flavor experiences with friends and/or online.

Brands also engage with consumers by telling the unique stories behind them, including greater transparency about the source and nature of their ingredients, recipes and processing. There is also rising use of limited editions to create a temporary buzz around brands, via novel and exciting flavors, shapes and concepts.

Following the publication of a study carried out by Cochrane – a British medical research charity – to provide evidence for the World Health Organization in readiment for its own report into low- and no-calorie sweeteners, a number of media outlets have picked up the story.

The review did not find solid evidence of any major safety issues.

Gavin Partington, Director General at British Soft Drinks Association, said:

“Low- and no-calorie sweeteners allow consumers to enjoy sweetness while managing sugars and calories in their everyday lives. Because they taste good and are low- or calorie-free, people are more likely to combine them with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and stick to their dietary goals for weight management.

“In March 2017, the UK Government and Public Health England publicly endorsed the use of low-calorie sweeteners as a safe alternative to reduce sugar in food and drink and help people manage their weight.

“The increased use of low-calorie sweeteners in soft drinks has led to a significant reduction in sugar and calorie intake (from soft drinks). Kantar Worldpanel data shows overall sugar intake from soft drinks is down by 22.9% since 2014.”

Social responsibility has been a growing trend in the FMCG market in recent years as manufacturers, suppliers, brands and consumers strive to limit the negative economic, social and political effects caused by their actions. It is increasingly driven by consumers’ desire to live a more ethical lifestyle that they believe benefits their personal wellbeing, says leading data and analytics company, GlobalData.

The company, in its report ‘TrendSights Analysis: Social Responsibility; Understanding the issues and impacts of socially responsible consumption’ has revealed that interest among consumers in products supporting environmental causes is increasing across the globe.

According to the survey, 59 % of consumers globally said they would consider buying products associated with environmental protection. Brands or products that support poverty, animal welfare, Fairtrade, or gender equality are also likely to be well received by consumers.

Matthew Perry, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “While interest in products that support environmental protection appears to extend across all generations, Millennials – those born in 1981-1999 inclusive – are driving interest in products that support poverty, animal welfare, and gender equality.

“Meanwhile, older generations show greater interest in Fairtrade products. Producers should consider the varying interest in ethical causes when initiating such projects and target campaigns accordingly in order to maximize their impact and success.”

The growing appeal of leading healthy lifestyles has made its way to consumers in Southeast Asia and it seems the cornerstone of maintaining this is by following a healthy diet and exercise regime.

Indeed, new research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that as many as three in four (75 %) metro consumers in Indonesia and two in three (66 %) metro consumers in Thailand say they aim to have a healthier diet in 2017*. Additionally, 58 % of metro Indonesians and 62 % of metro Thais say that they will definitely exercise more in 2017.

One of the key ways in which consumers in Southeast Asia are looking to adopt a healthy and balanced diet is by consuming food and drink that is high in protein. Indeed, there has been an increased interest in protein offering across the region. Mintel research shows that 64 % of metro consumers in Indonesia and Thailand respectively say that as part of their daily diets, they prefer to get their protein from foods that are naturally high in protein. Reflecting a growth in interest in protein consumption in Southeast Asian consumers’ daily diets, this figure (64 %) is a rise from 37 % of metro Indonesians and 41 % of metro Thais who said the same last year**.

Brands and companies have taken notice of this trend, however, innovation in Asia Pacific is falling behind; data from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) found that in the two years leading to July 2017***, there was a 26 % increase in the number of global food and drink launches carrying a ‘high/added protein’ claim. Comparatively, Asia Pacific saw a 5 % growth in the number of food and drink launches with a ‘high/added protein’ claim in the same time period.

Jane Barnett, Head of Insights, South APAC, at Mintel said:

“Improving health and fitness is now a key focus of consumers across Southeast Asia, particularly through their diets and exercise. Consumers in the region show continuous interest in proteins and are incorporating more of them into their daily diets and eating regimes. Much of this growth in demand is attributable to consumer belief that protein aids in the pursuit or maintenance of a healthy physique, and provides them with energy and satiety. While brands in Asia Pacific have taken notice of this interest, there is still more room for innovation within the region.”

According to Mintel research, 47 % of metro Thai consumers think that high protein food or drink assists with building muscle, while 37 % of metro Indonesians think that high protein offerings help in managing weight. Furthermore, just over two in five consumers in urban Indonesia (42 %) and Thailand (41 %) feel that high protein food or drink provides them with long-lasting energy, while four in 10 (40 %) metro Thais think that these offerings help them to feel fuller for longer.

Meanwhile, the aspiration to be healthy among consumers has also made its way into the beauty and personal care industry with launches that target niche sporting activities, giving rise to Mintel’s 2017 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend, ‘Active Beauty’.

Mintel research finds that 58 % of metro Thais and 63 % of metro Indonesians believe that regular exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. As consumers recognise the importance of staying active, beauty and personal care brands are formulating products to help them in their quest for health and fitness. According to Mintel GNPD, the number of global skincare products launched featuring the word “sweat” in the product description grew by 30 % between 2015 and 2016, while the number of these launches in the colour cosmetics category grew by a significant 81 % in the same time frame.

“The perception of Active Beauty within Asia first started out, and is still very much, centred on suncare. However, as sports and fitness activities move indoors, this segment will move beyond sun protection. While still a niche market in Asia and globally, there is definite growth opportunities for active beauty brands and products in Southeast Asia, especially as consumers continue to recognise the benefits of staying active.” Jane continues.

Aside from achieving a healthy body, it seems that it is also the mind that consumers in Southeast Asia are keen to look after. Over three in five (61 %) of metro Thai consumers believe that maintaining a positive mental state is an important factor to leading a healthy lifestyle.

“While there have been a couple of products across Southeast Asia’s sports, energy, and lifestyle beverage space that talk about the ‘mind and body’, there is definitely still space for brands and companies to expand into this area. Globally, we see a growing rate of products that aim to provide more of a holistic approach, incorporating a beneficial nutritional profile, as well as either enhancing a consumer’s mood or providing the elements needed to keep the mind sharp and focused.” Jane concludes.

*Polled in June 2017
**Polled in June 2016
***August 2014 to July 2017