With increasing demand for organic certified products, the organic industry met at the Bio Brazil Fair (BioFach Latin America), the biggest international trade fair for organic products and agroecology in Latin America, in Sao Paulo on 6-9 June 2018. Exhibitors from the national and international organic industry attended the event to learn about the latest trends and discover exciting new developments in the organic space.
The event was a get-together for suppliers, partners and customers. It included an extensive product show coupled with the International Forum of Organic and Sustainable Production with in-depth discussions into the organic market. There were also two areas, Area Conhecimento and Area Inspiração, where selected presentations were featured with the aim of inspiring a flourishing organic industry in Latin America.
Euromonitor International had the pleasure of taking part in this event with the presentation Global Snapshot: A Look into the Latest Health and Wellness Trends, discussing how the organic offering fits into a rapidly evolving health and wellness industry.
Blooming innovation in the Health and Wellness space
Latin America’s health and wellness sector is growing by leaps and bounds. Proof of this is given by the burgeoning product offering seen at the event, with many trends converging to create new and exciting products.
The inclusion of traditional ingredients is one of the key trends and pivotal in Brazil as a means to engage with consumers through well-known and easily recognizable ingredients. Traditional ingredients also appeal to consumers’ demand for simplicity in the food they purchase. This trend was clearly visible in the snacks space, with tapioca and sweet potatoes featuring frequently on shelves.
Innovation with wholesome ingredients that naturally pack a nutritional punch is increasingly apparent globally, and Brazil is no exception. Nuts and seeds are key ingredients that fit within this trend, being an important source of protein, fibre and micronutrients. These ingredients are increasingly used in convenient foods such as snack bars and energy bites or even packed in pouches for on-the-go consumption.
In addition, over recent years there has been a movement towards using new technologies in snacks in order to offer healthier alternatives. Baking instead of frying is one of these new technologies, making products healthier by reducing fat content. Air drying is also increasingly popular with this healthy alternative used to maintain the nutritional content of the ingredients used. This new ways of processing snacks is spurring on new product innovation targeting consumers looking for convenient and healthy snacks. There were a few products in this space present at the event, including Crazy Veggies dehydrated snacks.
Simplicity and clean labelling are key trends
Consumers are demanding greater transparency in the foods they eat and looking for short and simple ingredient lists that they can easily understand. Naked, a Brazilian ice cream brand, has capitalised on this trend, developing products made only with frozen fruit and coconut water as well as frozen fruit pastes that can be diluted with water to create your own smoothie. Both products come in transparent packaging to clearly show what is inside. This clear packaging conveys trust and openness and aligns with the consumer's desire to see what is inside of the packaged foods they buy.
Moreover, products such as kombucha that have proved successful in the Western world are slowly arriving in Brazil. Kombucha is a fermented and naturally carbonated tea whose probiotic content has made it a favourite of health-orientated consumers in recent years.
Free From: the most promising trend in Latin America
Overall, consumers are taking a holistic approach to a healthy diet and transparency and simplicity are essential to reinforce a back-to-basics approach. Therefore, “all natural” claims are most sought after among consumers globally: 48% of respondents of the annual Euromonitor International’s Lifestyle Survey (n=28,487) selected “all natural” claims as their preferred food attribute when purchasing foods and drinks. With rising concerns around the potentially harmful formulations of efficacious products, consumers are yearning for simpler times. Steps are being made to strip back processes to their bare bones for maximum transparency, which is benefiting “all natural” claims.
Interestingly, organic products are perceived as more natural than regular offerings by a large number of consumers. In particular, 47% of Latin American respondents considered a natural product as also organic. This explains the rapid growth of the organic offering in the region and, although it is still a niche, it is set to see bright days ahead. Taking this into account, Unilever’s acquisition of Brazilian natural and organic food business Mãe Terra in October 2017 does not come as a surprise. This deal allows Unilever to play in this fast growing niche in Brazil.
Moreover, the free from offering is believed to be the most promising trend in Latin America. There is a growing perception of gluten- and lactose-free products as healthier and more natural, so intolerants have now been joined by the masses with this consumer base expected to see further growth over the coming years. Gluten free bread, pasta and cakes offer the most promising potential in Brazil so new product developments are expected to keep filling the shelves in retailers in the next few years.
Source: Euromonitor International
Beyond food, consumers are looking for products and services that support a holistic routine and lifestyle, including physical and mental wellbeing. New personalised offerings are thus expected to evolve, including subscription meal boxes and self-educational apps and services.