The food and nutrition industry is constantly evolving. This means that companies are adapting their strategies in order to meet changing consumer demands and food beliefs.
Food beliefs keep changing and shaping consumer eating habits. More and more people now carefully consider what to eat and increasingly take nutritional information into account.
New ingredients and superfoods promise not only health and nutritional benefits, but also novelty and often an exotic adventure. Trends such as the free from movement are affecting dietary preferences and boosting sales of alternative products.
Clean label and the era of minimally processed
Ultra-processed food is increasingly under fire and recent studies have associated highly processed food with non-communicable diseases. Consumers increasingly seek natural and authentic products, with no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.
The clean label trend describes the simplification of ingredients and continues to gain momentum. In order to compete, leading manufacturers including Nestlé, Unilever and Kellogg’s have adopted reformulation strategies to meet consumer demand.
Healthy eating in a post “better for you” world
The trend for healthy eating has turned towards finding the right balance. Consumers aim to reduce “bad” nutrients such as sugar, salt or carbs in their diets, while they are trying to increase “good” nutrients such as fibre and protein.
A balanced diet also means that consumers increasingly lean towards the “normal” full-fat version of a product, but consume less of it. Unhealthy products are thought of as acceptable in moderation which allows for permissible indulgence.
New and ancient ingredients
New niche ingredients constantly appear on the market with promising health benefits, some backed by scientific evidence more than others. Examples of new and niche ingredients include lentil, beetroot, turmeric, moringa or algae such as spirulina or laver seaweed.
Beyond that, superfruits such as blueberries, rosehip or baobab can become important ingredients that inspire new product developments.
In addition, ancient grains and seeds have the potential to meet consumers’ demand for a healthy and nutritious diet and open up new possibilities for manufacturers to obtain healthy positioning for their products.
How will mindful eating evolve in the future?
Mindful eating is not new but is a constantly evolving trend. Fashionable diets and consumer beliefs about what is good and healthy keep changing. Exposed to a wealth of dietary recommendations about what to avoid or seek, consumers seem to have gone back to a balanced diet.
The topic of ultra-processed food will gain traction in the future. Consumers’ strong demand for natural ingredients and clean label products will provide incentives to food manufacturers to reformulate existing products and adopt strategies for a healthier portfolio - as will increasing pressure from regulations.
New and ancient ingredients will remain key in the future of food and nutrition. They help to satisfy consumers’ need for new, exotic, natural and authentic products and often have a rich nutritional profile. They will also remain of utmost importance for manufacturers looking to innovate with new flavours and provide products with a healthy touch.
For additional insights download our white paper Evolving Trends in Food and Nutrition.