Innovation is crucial to reverse volume decline and to build added value in the dairy industry that consumers are willing to pay extra for. This includes developing new products that meet changing consumer preferences, such as healthier and functional offerings as well as plant-based alternatives.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show took place in Chicago from 21-24 May 2022. As the foodservice industry recovers from the challenges of the pandemic, companies are focused on innovation to drive business. The show hosted attendees from around the world and featured the latest developments in food, drinks, packaging, and technology for the restaurant industry. Euromonitor International analysts attending the show observed several key trends driving innovation.
From where consumers eat and work, to where and how they shop, the pandemic has brought about a wave of change in lifestyles, and the dairy industry has not been unaffected. In this article we provide a snapshot overview of five key consumer trends that have evolved over the last 18 months, and how they present opportunities for dairy NPD pipelines and channel innovations.
2021 saw more moderate growth in dairy products and alternatives, after the spike seen in 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooking ingredients, such as butter, cheese and cream, were the most dynamic categories, along with products with an immune-boosting positioning, such as yoghurt and sour milk. Products associated with health, such as dairy alternatives and allergy-friendly milk formula, continue to rise, as consumers maintain the health consciousness propelled by the pandemic.
In a time when the world is striving to create a balance between sustainability and profitability, a challenge such as food waste can severely undermine these efforts. With recent advancements in sustainable development and increased international pressure on countries to play a role in mitigating associated risks, many countries are exploring novel ways to reduce food waste.
Plant-based alternatives have revolutionised the food industry, and demand has skyrocketed in the last few years. 42% of global consumers now say that they are restricting their animal-based consumption, so manufacturers have risen to the challenge by developing new products and extending ranges. The plant-based dairy industry is particularly significant, with global sales of USD20 billion.
During the pandemic conventional dietary habits were challenged, and daily use products were reconsidered. Consumers’ expectations of gaining some health-boosting benefits from food increased, as it appeared that immunity, obesity and other underlying health factors could be key when faced with COVID-19.
Consumers are increasingly sensitive to health claims, particularly when it comes to the diet and health of young children. By analysing pricing trends alongside the prevalence of key product attributes, businesses can identify where the biggest opportunities lie for innovation, product development and ultimately, growth.