10 key trends in food, nutrition and health 2012, which is based on interviews with 450 senior executives in global food, beverages and ingredients, suggests the biggest trend will be ‘naturality’. The term refers either to products ‘free from’ artificial additives or to those offering natural and intrinsic health benefits.
The trend has been most successful for beverages and snacks, the analysis claimed. “The naturality trend is behind successes in Greek yogurt in the US, coconut water, almonds and pistachios – and has opened the door to a growing number of successful fruit- and vegetable-based products, which - like dairy - are a credible all-natural food form.”
Energy delivery will be another top trend, it predicted. The endorsement of caffeine-related energy claims, under the European Food Safety Authority nutrition and health claims regulation, favours the category. “This good fortune will lead many companies to rethink caffeine and we can expect to see a proliferation of products – many based on coffee,” the study claimed.
Muscle, bone and joint health offered considerable potential for manufacturers, according to the analysis. Fonterra’s calcium-fortified Anlene brand is a front runner in the sector although it had been promoted soley in Asian and Australasian markets, rather than Europe, said the report.
Danone shelved its high-dose, calcium-fortified bone health yogurt Densia in France after a disappointing trial in the small town of Brive-la-Gaillarde. However, the company reported “healthy” sales of the product in Spain and Italy.
New Nutrition Business director Julian Mellentin said one reason why Densia may have bombed was because it was trialled “…in a small town in the back of beyond. Health concepts do very well in, say, London and the south east or Paris, but if you were to go to, say, Wales you would never sell well,” he told Foodmanufacture.co.uk. “Health markets tend to be skewed by up to 25% towards the ‘haves’ rather than the ‘have-nots’.”
Food for seniors
The popularity of bone, muscle and joint health products dovetails with another trend highlighted by the study: nutrition for seniors. This was also pinpointed by a report issued by Innova Market Insights in November.
Mellentin said many emerging nutrition trends were most noticeable and well-developed in foods aimed at consumers aged 50 and over. “If you look at successful health brands, the 50s and over-60s are strongly over-represented.”
Drugstores and pharmacies were underdeveloped markets for selling food and drink to seniors, he said. “It’s where they go to get prescriptions filled. It’s also a way for manufacturers to get around EU health claims legislation. Pharma is the strongest place to take protein products for seniors."
The other macro trends underlined by New Nutrition Business are digestive health, products consumers can feel the benefit of; weight management; fruit and vegetables; opportunities for dairy products and healthy grains.