The next big growth opportunity in the healthier food and beverage industry

Food trends for 2017Personalisation reaches its tipping point when a food company like Campbell’s Soup invests $32 million in a start-up firm focusing on personalised nutrition. Personalised nutrition is a key growth opportunity for food and beverage companies as consumers increasingly turn to individually tailored diets.

The director of New Nutrition Business and author of the newly published report “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2017”, Julian Mellentin says personalisation is about consumers taking back control.

‘They want to feel more empowered and confident to create their own healthy eating patterns. It goes hand-in-hand with growing awareness that diet is a personal matter, and it’s another stage in the long slow death of “one size fits all” dietary recommendations.’

Many consumers are embracing personalised services such as wearable gadgets, which provide guidelines based on their weight, height; sleep pattern, heart rate and activity.

A smaller but growing number of consumers look for more in-depth services, such as a genetic profile, or metabolism and disease risk via DNA tests.

The industry can tap into the personalisation trend in three ways:

  • Smart companies will create a portfolio of brands, made to meet the needs of different consumer diets and preferences.
  • They will invest in a multi-platform approach, offering support and tailored dietary advice. This means partnering with entities providing advice on diet planning or with fitness gadgets.
  • They should also invest in e-commerce, as it has proven to be a main route to niche consumers.”

Inflammation, another key trend for 2017

According to Mellentin, just like gluten-free back in 2001, many people say inflammation faces several challenges.‘Consumers don’t understand it, it doesn’t have strong scientific support, and you cannot immediately feel the benefit of anti-inflammatory foods. In fact, all of these objections are rapidly being overcome.’

And like gluten-free before it, one of the most important drivers of growing interest in inflammation is consumer belief. Inflammation
taps into deeper wells of consumer concern than is immediately apparent. Like gluten-free, it is fuelled by multiple benefit platforms. Early signs of its potential are connected to the intense growth in consumer interest reflected already in surging sales of supplements
of the “flagship” anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric.

A trend in itself

Turmeric, also a health halo ingredient, acts as a gateway for consumers to the complex idea of inflammation.Turmeric lattes can be found in cutting-edge city-centre cafes from Australia to Scotland. A small
but increasing number of adventurous, trend-riding entrepreneurs are starting to use turmeric as a health halo in foods and beverages.

Mellentin says turmeric’s appeal is not limited
to entrepreneurs.

Larabar, a former startup nutrition-bar brand now owned by General Mills, recently introduced
a line of Organic Superfoods bars in three varieties based on “trend-forward” ingredients, two of which include turmeric.

Sportification, another growth opportunity

Regular foods with a health halo are increasingly popular among people who do sport for health reasons, opposed to elite athletes who want a natural product.

‘Some people have long argued that sports nutrition would go mainstream, and that foods designed for elite athletes would become regular food for everyone. While this is happening to some extent, by far the bigger trend is one which has gone the opposite direction,’ Mellentin adds.

He says all natural foods are becoming more attractive in sport. Regular food companies, that are not sports-oriented, can drive success if they attach their product to the image of health and sport.