The demand for free from products has been boosted in 2020 and 2021 due to the rising popularity of various diets and dietary restrictions. Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and increased at-home eating have resulted in heightening health awareness amongst many local consumers.
In line with the rising flexitarianism trend, green retailers and brands are launching a greater diversity of free from packaged food, with this particularly visible in free from dairy and free from seafood substitutes. Within the realm of free from dairy, almond used to be a dominant option due to local consumers’ familiarity towards the use of these nuts in snacks, desserts and beverages.
Due to cross-border restrictions and travel bans, Hong Kong infant milk formula brands faced constricted growth opportunities in 2020 due to limited mainland Chinese demand, with these consumers comprising a major source of revenue for the category. While dominant HA milk formula brand Nan from Nestlé Hong Kong Ltd was negatively impacted by this scenario in 2020, it is seeing increasing demand in 2021, as the loss of consumption is being balanced by the high proportion of local consumers remaining loyal to its products.
Over the forecast period, key free from meat and dairy players can adopt a synergetic claim approach, which means incorporating both the “plant-based” and “vegan” claims in their product positioning. Vegan and vegetarian claims were more common within free from meat and dairy products over the review period, while the plant-based claims remained niche.
In line with the increasing pursuit of naturalness in packaged food in Hong Kong, free from additives and natural clean labels are expected to gain greater importance in the realm of free from meat and dairy. Over the review period, free from meat and dairy plant-based foods were often regarded as healthier for being high in fibre and lower in fat.
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This category includes free from gluten, free from lactose, free from allergens, free from dairy and free from meat products. This excludes foods which are certified ‘free’ of a specific product when this is based on use of sterilised equipment.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Food Intolerance research and analysis database.
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