The company is forecasting new attempts to resize product packages and serving sizes to suit children's needs, as the food industry tries to show commitment to the fight against obesity in American children. Such attempts include Shasta Beverages' recently launched Shasta Shortz, a line of carbonated soft drinks in smaller cans, and Hawaiian Punch, now offered in a lower-sugar formulation.
But the health message should also become more overt, predicted Mintel."We expect markings to appear for diabetics similar to the 'Low Glycemic Index' claim that has been developed in Australia, which measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. The marking helps diabetics and others with related concerns, for example low carb dieters, to quickly identify the foods that are scientifically evaluated as being suitable for their diet, without having to rely on ingredient statements," said a Mintel spokesperson.
Another claim that will gain ground is 'Gluten Free', for those with celiac disease who have an intolerance to wheat products.
Food ingredients will also be revamped in 2004 so that instead of having to fortify foods, manufacturers can focus on the nutritional value inherent in the ingredients themselves.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), carbohydrates that promote the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system, inulin, and other prebiotic fibers look set to benefit from this.
The report also picks out two emerging plant-based ingredients - pomegranate and lemongrass - being driven by their health benefits. Pomegranates are high in potassium, vitamin C and loaded with antioxidants. POM Wonderful, which has manufactured the first refrigerated fresh pomegranate juice, is already leading the way with other companies such as Nantucket Nectars and SoBe looking to tap into the ingredient's potential.
Pomegranate is also gaining ground in 'cosmeceutical' circles. Increasingly featured as an ingredient or scent in skincare and cosmetics products, Aveda is to use pomegranate in its new lip tint collection to be launched in February. Fresh has also announced it will uuse pomegranate in hair conditioners, prompting a potential explosion in the market for beauty foods and supplements.
Another major trend will be driven by the fast food industry, driven by the growth of initiatives such as McDonald's salads. Mintel predicts that the scramble to avoid 'I'm-fat-and-it's-your-fault' lawsuits will trigger more proactive changes from major food manufacturers, who will seek to provide better formulations, healthier snack options and attempt to eliminate trans fats.