19 Jan 2017 --- Sugar will continue to come under fire in 2017, although it remains the key ingredient delivering the sweetness and great taste that consumers are looking for. “Sweeter Balance” is tipped as trend 3 for 2017 by Innova Market Insights. The quest to combine taste and health is driving NPD, as the industry faces the challenge of balancing public demand to reduce added sugars and create indulgent experiences, while at the same time presenting clean label products.
Key trends also include “Encapsulating Moments,” a trend that holds profound implications for snacking. Different moments require different snacks, which continues to drive further innovation in both the sweet and savory snacking space.
Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights provides an overview of the key drivers in new product innovation and how they will impact the confectionery and snacks categories. Speaking during a live webinar yesterday, Williams said: “There is pressure coming from governments and consumer groups, and so the scientific community is responding to that - there is a lot of pressure on everyone to reduce the overall amount of sugar in food and beverages.” Click to Enlarge
“If we look at claims around this area, for the past few years we saw very few products that had low sugar claims and now the fastest growing claim of sugar claims is low sugar. We are seeing a lot of activity that space.
Sugar free is now driven by artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners such as stevia.”
“So the challenge for many companies is how do reduce the sugar in a product? Especially if you are in the indulgence category for snacks,” she notes.
We looked at confectionery launches with alternative sugars, such as honey or fruit syrups and what we found was using 2012 as our base, the use of alternative sugars for 2016 was 180 percent higher compared to what it was in 2012.”
Williams adds: “Consumers are looking for alternative ingredient that they perceive to be healthier, like honey or brown sugar in comparison to white sugar.”
“This is going to be one of those trends to watch to see what will happen this year.”
Ethnic Flavors Travel around the Globe
Innova Market Insights trend number four for 2017 is “Kitchen Symphony”. There is a fast growing demand for greater choice and higher levels of authenticity in ethnic cuisines. At the same time, pride in local and regional foods is also seeing an upsurge in some countries, with a resulting rise in availability of local cuisine. Ethnic flavors and spices will be a key food trend in 2017, particularly as a hunger for hot spices is being fueled by consumers wanting to taste different cuisines amid increasing globalization and where foreign travel is becoming the norm for many people.
There has never been so much variety and spread in the choice of authentic cuisines around the world. The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures. This has created an opening for visually appealing products with high authenticity and specific ingredients. According to Williams, “we travel more and experience more, you can see this ethnic trend is growing steadily and in 2014 it really took off.” Click to Enlarge
She also says: “We are seeing a huge variety of authentic food around the world and this whole idea of this connected world is giving consumers of all ages the opportunity to become more knowledgeable of all cultures.”
“We are seeing world flavors popping up in snacks and ready meals,” Williams notes. “Food truck flavors have also become a great source of inspiration. If you take Thai flavors as an example, Thailand has really changed their position on their cuisines over the past few years, Thai flavors and Thai sweet chili are very popular.”
“There has been an evolution of flavors where these ethic flavors move across the categories, making their way from sauces through to other categories, in particular the snacking category,” she explains.
The snacking category is a market that is ever changing; consumer needs are at fore point of this category and there are key trends that will likely impact this sector for many years to come.
Williams also discussed Innova Market Insights Trend number one and two, “Clean Supreme” and “Disruptive Green” and how they will likely affect the snacking category.
by Elizabeth Kenward
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