Functionality tops food and drink mega trends list

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Science-backed functional food is a trend that will run and run, predicted Frost & Sullivan
Science-backed functional food is a trend that will run and run, predicted Frost & Sullivan
Four “mega trends” are driving growth in food and drink and where functional food is concerned, it’s the science that sways it, according to analysts.

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.

Health markets

“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.

Functional products

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
  • Globalisation

Related topics: NPD, Health and nutritional ingredients

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2 comments

What do consumers expect?

Posted by nive,

Meeting consumer expectation is a challenge in the functional foods market.

Most consumers expect benefits to be seen immediately as in a medicine. But the benefits of consuming such functional foods could be realized only after a period of consumption.

I wish consumers give such foods the time needed to perform.

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What do consumer expect from Functional foods

Posted by Nive,

The efficacy of health benefit claims is definitely a key. But the point is these functional foods do not bring drastic changes to your health immediately after consumption like a medicine such as a pill.

It takes time to realize the benefits.So consumers should not dismiss such products for want of immediate benefits. They should be ready to give time for it to perform.

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