Sustainability will continue to rise up the corporate agenda, emerging markets will become increasingly important and commodity prices will continue to rise in 2013, according to predictions from Leatherhead Food Research (LFR).
Poor harvests in the northern hemisphere mean commodity prices will continue to rise. Pressure on resources will be compounded by consumption by emerging markets, whose populations, life expectancy, economic output and spending power will continue to outpace that of more developed economies.
Rising obesity levels will prompt increased legislation in the use of salt, fat and sugar and the marketing of ‘healthy’ foods, LFR predicts. It anticipates reviews of the European food framework PARNUTs and nutrition facts labelling in the US this year.
Despite this gloomy outlook, LFR predicts that the continuing trend of health and wellness offers opportunities for food manufacturers in the following key areas:
'Natural' trend beds in
The march to all things ‘natural’ is likely to persist as consumers increasingly buy into the perceived healthiness of the additive-free or ‘natural’ proposition. LFR believes manufacturers will continue to adopt a ‘natural’ or clean-label policy.
The future of functional foods
There will be considerable interest in how the European functional food market performs in the wake of the enforcement of European Food Safety Authority's article 13.1 general health claims. The legal enforcement of health claims will have little impact and the market will continue to grow. Manufacturers that can show consumers proof, verified by independent science, that the product lives up to its promise will see continued market growth.
‘Free From’ to build on success
‘Free From’ was the success story of 2012, and LFR expects the “unbounded growth” of ‘Free From’ foods to continue into 2013. It anticipates more activity from big brands and predicts that products will be moved out of the ‘Free From’ aisle and positioned next to category competitors.
Salt, fat and sugar: pushing technological boundaries
Interest will not wane in the effort to reduce salt, fat and sugar. Incremental reduction will continue and compliment breakthrough technologies and processes to achieve step-change reductions.
Ageing population opportunities build
As the average age of the global population rises, a key opportunity for manufacturers is developing products that help to ameliorate escalating health concerns. But health is not the only focus, so too is packaging adaptation and segmented communications that appeal but don’t patronise. LFR also thinks the time is right to redefine age and separate the needs of the over 55s from those aged 75 and upwards.
No compromise on ethics
Sales of Fairtrade foods have continued to rise throughout the global economic downturn and more kite marks are used to designate qualities such as higher welfare standards, provenance and bio-diversity. This proves that consumers will not compromise on ethical issues.
Ingredients take centre stage
The presence of certain ingredients can transform the value proposition of a product, if the consumer perceives them to deliver tangible benefits. LFR believes that how consumers perceive certain ingredients will have even greater influence on their overall preference for the product as ingredients take more of a centre stage.