Top ten trends at Fi Europe

Sjoerd Post, market analyst, presented Innova’s top ten trends for the ingredients industry at Fi Europe’s Industry Insight seminar yesterday. Clean label and free from featured on the list and among these was the growth in non-soy based dairy-free beverages, such as oat, almond, coconut and cashew drinks.

The term ‘flexitarians’ was number three, with consumers looking for meat substitutes in various forms, from tofu to insects. ‘Less processing’ was also identified with the example given of Harmless Harvest’s coconut water using high pressure processing (HPP) – a fast growing trend especially in juice drinks. The absence of heating is used to market the product and the label explains the HPP process.

Vegetables are another trend, with 27% of juice drinks launched in 2015 including vegetables such as kale, spinach, carrot and beetroot. Post also talked about creating a real link between the farmer/producer and the consumer. “It’s why craft beer is so popular, it creates a personal connection,” he said. He gave examples of a tea company that prints stories and messages from the tea pickers, and how UK potato farmers are developing their own potato crisps using regional products and flavours.

The next trend was ‘small players, big ideas’, where small companies are running with new trends such as kale and showing more flexibility and innovation than their larger multinational counterparts. At number eight, the protein boom shows no sign of abating. It has moved from the sports nutrition arena, with powders and bars, into the mainstream, with products such as peanut butter and breadsticks. Arla has launched a whole range of products under the Protein brand.

The ‘indulgence alibi’ trend features indulgent chocolate bars with a healthy angle, such as fruit inclusions, or crisps made with quinoa or chia seeds. Finally, under ‘tastes of new experiences’, texture is identified as becoming more prominent on front of pack claims, often appearing in a large font on new products. In the flavour arena, the number of different chilli varieties now described on front of pack has grown, from a simple ‘red’ or ‘green’ to the named varieties and other chilli descriptors (chipotle, jalapeño and scotch bonnet, for example).

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