The four “mega trends” – functionality and performance, health and wellness, low carbon economy and globalisation – are said to define developments in these industries this year, reported a forecast from market analyst Frost & Sullivan.
Food and beverage suppliers are looking at emerging markets – namely China, India and Brazil - while in Europe, the focus is and will be on bakery ingredients, predicted the analysts.
“Need for prevention and better health care drives the functional food and beverage products in Europe,” said the report.
“Weight management, heart health and digestive health will be the high growth sectors in food and beverages.”
Christopher Shanahan, global programme manager, food ingredients practice, at Frost & Sullivan told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Weight management is the biggest of all because the demand for weight management solutions is so strong, especially in the developed world. That is going to support growth, despite the wary science behind some of those ingredients.
“The more mature a lot of these health markets are the higher growth they tend to be. You often need a decade or two decades of science before your customer base really starts to believe these health claims. An example is omega-3.”
Shanahan described Europe as a leader and innovator in food trends and said it was now at a mature stage with such ingredients, although regulatory barriers were still “relatively heavy”.
Meanwhile, emerging countries such as China are now benefiting from decades’ worth of science that has already been carried out, as well as looking to European regulation as a policy guide.
Leatherhead Food Research also published a report recently called “Key Players in the Global Functional Foods Industry”, which said that the global functional foods market continues to expand. However, growth rates in parts of the world have dipped in recent years, largely as a result of the global downturn.
It stated that premium-priced functional products offered less appeal for price-conscious shoppers, with continuing competition from products positioned on a more general wellness platform.
Despite this, levels of corporate and new product activity are said to remain high within the functional foods industry, with many leading food groups expanding their presence in sectors such as functional dairy products, soya-based and lactose-free foods and sports and energy drinks.
A Leatherhead SenseReach survey last summer showed that over a quarter of UK consumers claimed to consume functional products. But most would like definitive proof, substantiated by independent science that the product does what it says on the tin.
It concluded that efficacy of health benefits claims was key to driving market growth and consumption growth was more likely to come from existing users.
The survey also included the chemicals and materials sectors.
Four food mega trends
- Functionality and performance
- Health and wellness
- Low carbon economy