The focus on physical and mental health has only been heightened by the pandemic. However, what health means to consumers is constantly shifting, so it is important to keep up to date with latest developments in the space. New Nutrition Business are renowned for predicting the trends that will shape the food industry and have recently released their 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition, & Health 2022. Below is a brief outline of what they see as the driving forces of innovation for the coming year. What is really exciting for Velvet Cloud is that we can exploit 7 of the 10 trends ! And as you will see below there is even a shout out for sheep's milk and A2 protein (we are both)
1. Carbs – Better and Fewer. While some consumers remain wary of carbohydrates, and continue to focus on the reduction of carbs in their diet, some are looking for permission to indulge with ‘better’ carbs. This means there are potential strategies in reducing portion size, or incorporating ingredients with strong health cues, like ancient grains or vegetables.
2. Digestive Wellness Diversifies. Consumers have been looking to food and drink producers to help manage their digestive health for some time now, but there have never been so many different approaches. Probiotics, prebiotics, fermentation and fibre will remain key call outs in this space. A lot of free from also speaks to digestive wellness, including dairy free, lactose free, grain free, gluten free and FODMAPS. Innovative dairy products like A2 milk, and sheep and goat milks also have potential.
3. Fat Fuels Growth. Fat is no longer a forbidden ingredient for consumers. Full fat ingredients are valued for their taste and texture, and are no longer seen as inherently bad for your health. Growing interest in Keto diets also presents an opportunity for healthy positioning of fats.
4. Plants Made Convenient. The benefits of plants in our diet are well established, but consumers are looking to reap these benefits in as convenient a format as possible. Examples of products that speak to this are plant based carb replacements, or vegetables blended with carbs. Plant based dairy alternatives also appeal to consumers. Some consumers are even turning to powder formats to try get their 5-a-day.
5. Animal Protein Powers On. Animal products are still central to consumer diets. However, consumers want to know that the product they choose are the most sustainable options. They also want products that are high quality, and nutrient dense. Also meat producers shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the trend for plant based and look for opportunities to blend their products with plant ingredients.
6. Plant Protein Paradox. Despite the above point, for some consumers plant protein still has appeal, and they are demanding better options. They want products that are natural and convenient, and companies that fail to innovate may lose space to newcomers in the category.
7. Sweetness Reinvented. While Fat may have escaped demonization, consumers remain wary of sugar. They are looking for products with less, or no sugar, where possible. Where it must be present, natural is preferred. There are opportunities to highlight the benefits of a sugar boost for active lifestyles. However, for products geared towards indulgence, consumers are still willing to turn a blind eye to sugar content when it is time for a treat.
8. Mood and Mind. Consumers have a growing awareness of how what we eat impacts on our mental state. They are looking for products that keep them mentally alert, help them switch off, or lift their mood. The gut-brain axis is more familiar to consumers, but they want any new ingredients to be accompanied with more familiar ones. Products need to deliver on promises though, as consumers expect to feel the benefit.
9. Emerging Nutrient Density. More consumers are becoming aware of the term ‘nutrient dense’ and looking for products that can offer them the most nutritious ingredients available. The term has yet to be properly defined for consumers, but as it becomes more prevalent in the US, it is expected to make its way to European markets as well.
10. Provenance and Authenticity. This trend encompasses many different concepts. People will continue to want support local communities with their product choice, but are also interested in products from further afield if they feel authentic. An air of authenticity also gives something of a health halo to products, and increases trusts in any health claims that they make.
Bord Bia, 2021. Consumer Lifestyle Trends. [online] Bord Bia. Available at: <https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/insights/consumer-lifestyle-trends/health-and-wellbeing/> [Accessed 25 January 2022].
New Nutrition Business, 2021. 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition, & Health 2022. New Nutrition Business.