“Our research reveals that people want to control their weight while still feeling satisfied, and without compromising on flavour and satisfaction.” Matt Davis, head of licensing, Weight Watchers UK (Digitalstrategyconsulting.com, June 2, 2014)

“Millennials are more attracted to clean labels such as ‘all natural,’ ‘organic,’ ‘gluten-free,’ ‘free-range’ and ‘hormone-free’ than baby boomers or older adults who are more focused on sugar, sodium and whole grains.” Karen Bundy, VP of Multi-sponsor Surveys, on how Millennials are leading the charge for greater, adoption of clean labels and consumption of organic foods (BevNet.com, November 7, 2013)


Description

As people live faster than ever, feel more and more under pressure, and are constantly in transit, they tend to eat anything, anytime and anywhere. With global obesity rates climbing 28% in adults over the last 30 years* according to a 2015 Nielsen report, people are striving to lose weight and improve their quality of life. 79% of global respondents in Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey indicated that they actively make dietary choices to prevent health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. In parallel, food scandals have made consumers all the more concerned by food safety. With that in mind, consumers are increasingly making the connection between their diet and their health. In addition, knowing that younger baby boomers, aged 45 to 55, spend more on food away from home per year than any other age group, the restaurant industry is realizing that it also needs to meet the growing demand for healthy nutrition, so chefs or home cooks are experimenting with culinary options that provide health-related benefits.

79% of global respondents in Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey indicated that they actively make dietary choices to prevent health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

 

Despite the popularity of fast food venues and junk food that imply quick and careless food consumptiona far-reaching movement has sprung up towards healthier eating and is set to endure in the next decade. On their side, manufacturers are creating innovative solutions to meet this unprecedented craze. In addition to sugar-free and fat-free foods, consumers are showing a growing interest in gluten-free, lactose-free, meat-free products as well as “super foods” . The other key to success lies in the ability of these actors to design easily accessible solutions that fit into people’s daily routine. Consequently, the promotion of nutritional food and drinks with health-related benefits is an effective way to address society’s growing focus on wellbeing while retailers are adapting their shelf space to boost the visibility of these products.

 

Slow ingredients

New generations of eaters are turning into new ways of selecting products, cooking as well as eating their meals. They want to know that their food is fresh, as well as where it came from and where it has been processed. Farmers’ markets have become very popular for the freshness of their ingredients and for the fact that the food is locally grown. Consumers are eager to select naturally healthy foods, making organic foods mainstream due to the health and wellness benefits associated with naturally grown food. According to “The Big Green Opportunity,” a 2013 report on small-business sustainability in the U.S., the organic food segment grew 238% from $8.6 billion to $29 billion over a 10-year period, while the overall food market grew 33%. The trend has now come to China, where are seeking safer food products and turning to organic food as a result of the high number of food safety scandals. Since Lohao City Supermarket in Beijing has been selling organic products from 27 different producers, the supermarket’s revenue increased by 40%, a record high.

According to “The Big Green Opportunity,” a 2013 report on small-business sustainability in the U.S., the organic food segment grew 238% from $8.6 billion to $29 billion over a 10-year period, while the overall food market grew 33%.

Global corporate food companies are successively entering the organic and ‘all-natural’ food realm, a domain once led by small farmers, and mainstream grocery stores now offer organic foods under their own private label following the success of Whole Foods in this niche area.

Functional, superfoods

More lately, people have been granting more importance to ‘superfoods’ (goji berries, açai, kale, chia seeds, spirulina, etc. .), which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. Indeed, functional, enhanced and fortified ingredients with proven nutritional assets are on the rise. The U.S. functional food market is estimated to be the largest in the world, representing between 35 and 50% of global sales. Asia-Pacific is the next biggest market. Harris Interactive found that 67% of 18 to 24-year olds are interested in buying such products, compared with 56% of the national population.

The U.S. functional food market is estimated to be the largest in the world, representing between 35 and 50% of global sales. Asia-Pacific is the next biggest market.

As the baby boomers age, and life expectancy increases, products for seniors offering targeted health benefits such as cholesterol reduction and high fibre, are likely to grow more strongly than those offering a reduction in fat or sugar, a survey found.

A December 2013 Gallup poll shows that about 33% of 18- 29 years-old say take vitamins or mineral supplements versus more than 50% in the 50-64 age group and continuing upward with 68% of seniors.

Omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic cultures, plant sterols and prebiotic fibre are expected to remain key functional ingredients in future years. In the category of health-related beverages, both sport drinks and enhanced waters offer solutions with added vitamins and targeted nutrition. A December 2013 Gallup poll shows that about 33% of 18- 29 years-old say take vitamins or mineral supplements versus more than 50% in the 50-64 age group and continuing upward with 68% of seniors. PepsiCo reported its energizing juice drink Mountain Dew Kickstart generated more than $100 million in sales in its first year. Besides, alongside gluten-free products, meat-free meals are gaining momentum as illustrated by the Meatless Mondays – an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to reduce sodium and cholesterol and promote heart health. Then, whole grains like millet, quinoa, spelt, teff, lentils, chickpeas, and all sorts of beans remain at the top of food trend lists.

The ‘light’ obsession

Consumers are highly aware of their appearance, leading to a more purposeful approach to nutrition and grooming. Widespread media coverage of the high and growing prevalence of overweight/obese individuals worldwide has heightened awareness towards weight management. 49% of global respondents in Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight, and while 50% are actively trying to lose weight. Also, in the U.S., the recent documentary Fed Up took aim at Big Food for misleading consumers in regard to the amount of sugar hidden in packaged foods, inspiring thousands of consumers to take a no-sugar pledge. Food and beverage producers are then expected to introduce new initiatives that will help eaters select the right products to maintain a healthy diet.

A Tate & Lyle survey found that while 61% of European consumers try to reduce their sugar intake in food or drink products, only 20% are prepared to compromise on taste.

As a result, beverage brands have rapidly responded with no- or low-calorie versions of diverse bestselling products. Even mixologists are beginning to select sweeteners from more natural sources by using agave nectar, honey and maple. On the food side, the movement has forced producers to lower levels of sodium, sugar and fat from all types of products. However, a Tate & Lyle survey found that while 61% of European consumers try to reduce their sugar intake in food or drink products, only 20% are prepared to compromise on taste. In order to maintain taste quality, some brands are providing flavorful solutions as a compensation: aromatic local plants and spices with high nutritional values such as agave nectar to replace sugar, seaweed for salt, and other ingredients such as umami, lemongrass, ginger, garlic to replace artificial enhancers.

Featured examples

Ips All Natural

Credit: ipsallnatural.com

Credit: ipsallnatural.com

Ips All Natural, a new food company based in Los Angeles, has cracked the code on creating better-for-you, protein-packed snacks with the introduction of the first-ever chips with egg white protein. This potato-chip-like snack has hit the market with its nutritional boost coming from egg whites. Founder and inventor Sean Olson developed these Intelligent Protein Snacks after realizing that the crispy edges around a fried egg had the potential to be turned into a unique snack.
United States of America United States, July 2014

Tesco’s initiative

Credit: Tesco.com

Credit: Tesco.com

UK supermarket chain Tesco announced that it would remove candy from its checkouts by the end of December 2014 and put them elsewhere with the store. This initiative’s goal is about not tempting consumers to buy and eat too much sugar and rather encourage them to eat healthily, after an internal research showed that 65% of shoppers felt that moving candy elsewhere would encourage them to be healthier. Moreover, the chain has added a food category called “My Fit Lifestyle” composed of healthy ready meals, soups, snacks and drinks.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, May 2014

The Owl’s Brew

Credit: The Owls Brew’s Facebook page

Credit: The Owls Brew’s Facebook page

The Owl’s Brew has created tea blends specifically designed to complement cocktails. The product is aimed at male and female customers who want diversity in their drinking, but are counting calories or are concerned about the additives and chemical ingredients found in commonly used mixers. Owl’s Brew’s offerings, made with whole fruits and spices and sweetened with agave, include a Darjeeling variety called Pink & Black, a spicy coconut tea called Coco-Lada, and their original product, aptly called The Classic, which uses English Breakfast tea as its base. All Owl’s Brew blends are made with pure filtered water and boast health benefits, while inviting consumers to enjoy themselves “just enough.”
United States of America United States, November 2013

Jasmine Alimentos

Credit: Jasminealimentos.com

Credit: Jasminealimentos.com

Health-conscious Brazilians are increasingly consuming goji berries, the Asian fruit known for its anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Celebrities have popularized it as an effective weight-loss ingredient. Brazilians can find it in gourmet sections of supermarkets like the São Paulo Municipal Market, as well as industrialized versions in capsules, food supplements sold on Natue.com.br, or even ready snacks like the ones marketed by Jasmine Alimentos. Some of the other health benefits of goji berries are that they contribute to a healthy immune and nervous system, promote blood pressure balance and has 50 times more vitamin C than one orange.
Brazil Brazil, March 2014

Skinnygirl cocktails

Credit: skinnygirlcocktails.com

Credit: skinnygirlcocktails.com

Skinnygirl Margarita is a brand of ready-to-serve cocktails, wines and flavored vodkas created by celebrity and author Bethenny Frankel. The first beverage was the Skinnygirl Margarita, a lower-calorie option for ladies who wanted to enjoy a margarita without all the extra calories found in most ready-to-serve margaritas. The brand claims that its products provide a “naturally sweetened, low-calorie option.” Sweetening the basic margarita with agave nectar in place of simple syrup cuts down on the calories. The frozen strawberry version utilizes a packet of low calorie drink mix to add guilt-free flavor.
United States of America United States, March 2014

Feel Good Café by Weight Watchers

The Feel Good Café, a Weight Watchers pop-up restaurant in London, invited consumers to enjoy a healthy menu from 16 to 23 May 2014. All foods were free of charge in exchange for visitors spreading the feel-good message via social media. The concept came up from a research that revealed that 52% of UK women don’t know how to start their journey with healthier eating. The café served a range of breakfasts, lunches and dinners in a pleasant cafe setting, using a selection of the 250 strong range of Weight Watchers branded supermarket foods.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, May 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Create an organic product line. Consumers consider whole, organic foods as a source of trustworthy nutrition. Consider calling out food products like “grass-fed,” “cream-top” or “whole” on labels and packaging.

2

Invest the ‘all natural’ segment as all-natural distribution brands remain relatively scarce, offering room for new entrants in the market and creating opportunities for businesses to diversify their product ranges and increase their sales.

3

Maintain efforts to meet guidelines on the reduction of salt, fat and sugar, as well as active promotion of health benefits on products ranging from “one of your five a day” to more niche areas as the inclusion of functional ingredients.

4

Create products that successfully merge the health trend with other trends like portability, such as healthy food on-the-go.

5

Strive to understand healthy eaters’ motivations in order to shape a message that speaks to them and develop products that they will advocate. Indeed, these food activists are likely to use their various platforms to either rally for the brands they align with or rail against the ones they don’t.

Summary

  • According to a report from the U.S. government, 81% of Americans over the age of 50 have become more conscious of what they eat.
  • Consumers are eager to select naturally healthy foods, making organic foods mainstream due to the health and wellness benefits associated with naturally grown food.
  • According to “The Big Green Opportunity,” a 2013 report on small-business sustainability in the U.S., the organic food segment grew 238% from $8.6 billion to $29 billion over a 10-year period, while the overall food market grew 33%.
  • People are also consuming more ‘superfoods’, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. Functional, enhanced and fortified ingredients with proven nutritional assets are on the rise, as well as vitamin-based beverage, gluten- and meat-free meals and wholesome grains.
  • In response to a demand for weight management are low-calorie versions of products free from sodium, sugar and fat; or natural sweeteners like agave nectar, honey and maple.

Experts that we recommend

mitsuru-yanase Mitsuru Yanase
Japanese chef at Paris-based gluten-free restaurant Noglu
lilana-jimenez Liliana Jimenez
Director of Hydration and Health at Danone Nutricia Research
fabrice-nicolino Fabrice Nicolino
French author of books Un empoisonnement universel (Les liens qui libèrent éditions, 2014), La vérité sur la viande (Les Arènes, 2013)
aymeric-caron Aymeric Caron
French author of book No steak (Fayard, 2013)