Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Innova outlines top 10 trends for 2017

Retail research firm Innova Market Insights has released a list of its top 10 trends for 2017, with clean labels and green products set to dominate.

Innova Director of Innovation Lu Ann Williams presented the trends in a webinar in which the company sought to delve into what is really happening in NPD in grocery, what Innova hears from its customers, and what insights can be seen from the company’s everyday work.

Clean supreme

Products with ‘clean’ or ‘clear’ label claims grew 19 per cent in Australasia in 2016. In Australia, more than 50 per cent of products carry a clean label claim, and this figure continues to grow.

“This is driving a lot of the changes and NPD in food and beverages,” Ms Williams said. “Australia is the clean-label capital of the world, the health and wellness capital. Australia is a great place to look for inspiration.”

This trend will go beyond labels in 2017, with consumers looking for products that are clean and clear from farm to fork. There will be an increase in claims of grass-fed and animal welfare. Brands and retailers alike will have to tell consumers the story behind their products.

Disruptive green

Plants and plant-based claims will increase in 2017. These claims have grown by 700 per cent since 2017. Consumers are looking for new options for gaining functional benefits. These products are marketed as alternative protein, while interest in herbs and spices is growing, as is the use of plants as a food colouring. ‘Green energy’, or plant-based energy drinks, are set to disrupt the beverages category.

Sweet balance

This is not an anti-sugar trend, but is about finding a balance between foods that consumers like and those with which they indulge themselves. Scientific research has put pressure on sugar levels. Growth will be seen in ‘no-added sugar’, ‘no-sugar’ and ‘low-sugar’ claims, which all grew by 20-plus per cent in 2015.

“Less sugar doesn’t say that it’s sugar free, just that it’s a more responsible way to indulge,” Ms Williams said. “That’s something that consumers are really interested in.”

Sugar content in soft drinks in particular is influencing buying decisions.

Kitchen symphony

This trend refers to ethnic flavours. There is a spread in demand for authentic international foods. Ethnic positioning has more than doubled in the past two years. New products are based on world flavours, food-truck inspired, or a revival of classics that are now restaurant quality. Thai, Indian and Mexican flavours, in more authentic forms, are growing.

Body in tune

Personalised nutrition caters to consumers who feel they are healthier when consuming, or forgoing, certain food types. It includes special diets such as paleo. Free-from claims will continue to grow in 2017. Health awareness will also support a continued drive in the growth of protein and protein-added claims.

Plain sophistication

‘Craft’, ‘simplified’ and ‘hand-made’ claims will increase in 2017. Sophisticated eating has gone back to the farm, and local sourcing will be a big focus for refined dining. Simple sophistication strategies include flavour origin specification, original recipe claims and sophisticated flavour blends, focusing on natural ingredients.

Encapsulating moments

Eating occasions will focus on times of the day that food can be eaten, particularly in the ever-widening snacking category. A good recent example of this is Monster’s recent Breakfast in a Bag product. Products that incorporate this trend will look at the time and day that they will be consumed – eg, sharing, indulgence, tea time/afternoon.

Beyond pester power

The influence of children on shopping decisions will continue to be felt in 2017. There has already been an increase in products specifically targeting children, who are a significant part of the advanced cooking trend, being influenced by TV shows such as Junior MasterChef Australia and Junior Bake Off. Kits and products catering to this will increase. Kids will be targeted at both home and school. There will be growth in ‘more-fun’, easy-opening and easy-eating products.

Blurring boundaries

Products will look to blur the boundaries between categories and segments in 2017. Is it a coffee or dairy alternative? Smoothie or energy drink? Milk drink or sports drink?

Seeds of change

The number of products claiming ancient grains as ingredients is growing, with a high rate of NPD dedicated to products containing quinoa and chia. Ancient grains will continue to move into the mainstream. Seeds will be seen in a range of ‘interesting’ products, such as burgers, yoghurt, chips and drinks. Health benefits will be emphasised.

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