Food and drink trends focus on smaller brands

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

2016: A great opportunity for start-ups and small brands
2016: A great opportunity for start-ups and small brands

Related tags: Food and drink, Milk

The growing importance of smaller food and drink brands, arising from the fragmentation of consumer beliefs about food, is one of 10 key trends identified next year by New Business Nutrition.

This fragmentation is contributing to the break-up of traditional food and drink markets and opening the doors for start-ups and small brands, 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2016​ predicted.

The trend explains how high volume opportunities are scarce and becoming scarcer, according to report author Julian Mellentin. In some markets they may already be history, he claimed.

“Just as the person who listens to Bach’s Goldberg Variations at home also listens to Aerosmith or Black Sabbath while driving to work, people’s ideas about food and health have become a menu of choices from which they select and change as new information becomes available,”​ Mellentin said.

“We’re all food explorers now, looking for novelty and variety.”

Premium brands

The quest for novelty is producing a proliferation of niches that smaller companies and new brands – often premium – are perfectly placed to serve, the report said.

Brand launches aimed for mass market appeal will become rare, and companies will build portfolios of small brands, finely targeted at an ever-more fragmented consumer market, it predicted.

“A few of these will become big brands, some will be big niche – but most will remain niche,”​ Mellentin said.

10 Key Trends for 2016

  1. Beverages redefined – new opportunities lie in the flourishing world of healthy niches
  2. Snackification – from cheese to bugs, there are no limits
  3. Dairy 2.0 – reborn as a natural whole food and ripe for reinvention
  4. Redefining sweetness
  5. The fragmentation of the consumers’ mind
  6. Naturally functional – three high-growth ingredients powered by the king of trend
  7. Plant-based foods and beverages
  8. E-commerce powers the growing direct-to-consumer trend
  9. Protein up and away in America as the rest of the world looks on
  10. Free-from – spotlight shifting from gluten to dairy

The market-redefining power of the great fragmentation will also have an impact on another key trend, plant-based foods and beverages.

Plant milks

The report cited the example of non-dairy plant ‘milks’ such as almond milk, which have increased in sales by 20% in Spain and by 50% in the US.

“We’re all flexitarians now, using cows’ milk on our cereal, almond milk in our smoothies and coconut milk in our cooking as it suits us. And the halo of health and sustainability around plant-based foods means consumers feel good about their choices,”​ Mellentin said.

Fragmentation also underpins the beverages redefined trend. Drink beverage giants’ sales have peaked, soft drink sales are plunging and fruit juices are struggling, the report claimed.

In contrast, small niche drink brands are reshaping the market, and plant waters such as coconut and birch water meet consumers’ desire for products that are naturally healthy, Mellentin said.

“Plant waters will be a $4bn market by 2025,” ​he predicted.

  • A number of factors are leading to a fragmented consumer mindset. Click on the infographic below to find out more.
Infographic key trends

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