The NEXT Forecast 2013 report illuminates the impact of today’s and tomorrow’s seven major trends in the natural, organic and functional food & beverage category.
Growing in both number and power, the “wholegranian” consumer seeks out whole-food-based nutrition, avoids highly processed and engineered products, and makes purchasing decisions on the nutrient density associated with specific whole foods. This shopper is passionate and knowledgeable about nutrition, spreads her wisdom in person and via online social networks
Healthy Tastes Good
It used to be that healthy was the primary motivator for consuming natural products. Well these days, better-for-you packaged food now tastes good and in some cases, way better than the nutrient devoid offerings it is trying to replace. Simple food flavors are being replaced by much more complex and sophisticated pairing.
Consumers are increasingly viewing food as a conduit for making them very sick. These food villains come in many shapes and forms and each one provides consumers with yet another reason to reject a product. Ninety perfect of all food allergy reactions are caused by eight major foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Brands are reacting in strategic ways.
We live in a world where bad news goes viral in seconds and where shoppers can use free mobile apps to learn exactly what’s in a food prefects and how its maker rates from a sustainability perspective. All of this is helping to shift power away from the corporation and into the hands of the consumer. Companies survive and even thrive in such an environment by embracing transparency.
“Local” could be called today’s “IT girl” of food attributes. Consumer research shows the local movement is shaping more places than just trendy slow-food bistros. In one new survey, 75 percent of food retailers said local is the most influential product claim in the specialty food sector right now. This is no fad. In fact, the importance of local is expected to only expand over the next three to five years.
Organic in Flux
USDA Organic certification was once considered the pinnacle standard within the healthy products industry leading to the creation of everything from organic packaged salad greens to Organic Oreos. Today, organic is just another product label for many consumers, who are increasingly skeptical of what the certification really means and valuing it less. And yet sales of certified organic products rebounded last year to achieve nearly 10 percent growth.
Brands On A Mission
After decades of feeling duped, people are beginning to scrutinize everything food and beverage companies do and say, particularly on their product labels. Fueling this mistrust have been the numerous examples of companies using overhyped label claims to mislead consumers. Food and beverage companies must take on a whole new approach to marketing and branding to win over consumers with passionate people and passionate missions.