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AGRICULTURE

Top five trends indicate digestive wellness and wellbeing as priorities
Saturday, 01 June, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Alex Turnbull and Roshena De Leon
Insights from some of the world’s largest food and nutrition research providers have been analysed by NZMP, the global ingredients brand of Fonterra, picking its top five trends for food and beverage manufacturers worldwide.

    • Digestive wellness
    • Snacking as an occasion in its own right
    • Ethics goes 360
    • Total wellbeing
    • Adventurous consumption

The company hopes the information will help its customers worldwide with their product development and positioning. At a macro level, the trends are driven by a changing global demographic, rapid urbanisation and rising wealth.

Digestive wellness
New Nutrition Business and Mintel report that people’s increasing awareness of microbiome science, and how it can affect overall health and wellbeing, is changing the way consumers think about food. As a result, there is increasing mainstream demand for products that focus on digestive wellness.

A diet that aids gut health may have a number of benefits. Years of research have been conducted on probiotics and their role in sustaining good gut bacteria. In the past, the effect of probiotics on the gut microbiome has been all about digestive comfort and wellness. Indeed, dairy probiotics are sought after and are well known for supporting immunity.

More recently, it has been evident that probiotics may play other beneficial roles in areas such as cognition, anti-inflammation, and metabolic health. They are now moving more mainstream as part of sports and active lifestyle products for adults.

Yoghurt stands out to consumers as one of the top three ‘good foods’ for digestive health, along with fruit and vegetables.

Snacking as an occasion in its own right
Research shows snacking has a share of 40% of food and beverage consumption in diverse markets and is becoming an established meal occasion in its own right. As snacking solutions become more accessible and common, demand for the quality of food and beverages in snacking also evolves.

The snackification trend is evolving and there are no limits to new product development. Innova reports that healthy snacking options have shown the fastest growth in new product development in the last five years, and consumers expect to pay a premium for healthy/functional snacks.

Ethics goes 360
Consumer interest in ethical sourcing and sustainability continues, now evolving to extend throughout the whole supply chain.

According to Globaldata, 41% of consumers look for ethical or sustainable logos when shopping, 38% are willing to pay a premium for sustainable materials and 30% are willing to pay for social responsibility claims such as ‘pasture-raised’ and ‘humane’.

Consumer concern about sustainability will see them look for products that are both “healthy for the world” and “healthy for me”.

New Zealand farmers lead the world in many aspects of sustainable dairying, with high productivity, year-round pasture grazing and low use of supplementary feeds. As a result, their dairy has amongst the world’s lowest carbon footprint, and amongst the highest rates of grass-feeding.

Total wellbeing
Consumers are increasingly mindful of their overall health, evolving from just physical to total body, mind and emotional wellbeing. As a result, positioning products on demographics such as age and gender alone will become less relevant with lifestyle-based positioning taking its place.

In line with this trend, we expect to see more collaboration opportunities between seemingly disconnected or independent categories, for example, foods and gadgets, apparel and beverages, food keepers and formula. There will also be more opportunities to cross sell and cross promote linked by a common goal to help consumers achieve total wellness.

Adventurous consumption
Launches tracked by Mintel show an increase of 39% in food and beverage launches with “discovery” a key message appearing on pack in 2017 and 2018. Innova notes that, ‘arousing consumer curiosity by including an element of surprise’ is a way to activate this trend.

New experiences as part of food and beverage consumption remain important. Consumers will place value on the authenticity of these experiences in place of generic products and will pay more attention to higher quality, unique and differentiated offerings. On top of this, the glocalisation of food that started years ago will be given a boost and we will see more ethnic foods being introduced, including ethnic dairy options.

(Turnbull is marketing director and De Leon is global insights manager,  NZMP)
 
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