Innova says that transparency in labelling, new protein sources and a focus on texture are among the top trends to look out for next year.
1. From clean label to clear label
From organic to natural to additive-free, clean label claims have proliferated in recent years.
"Some of these claims have been so overused that they are beginning to lose some of their potency," said director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, Lu Ann Williams.
Instead, she predicts the rise of more transparent and simpler claims on product packaging.
2. Convenience for foodies
Television cooking shows have continued to drive interest in home cooking - but even gourmet consumers like products that make things easier.
"We are seeing a lot of products that are also making it more convenient to cook like a chef," said Williams. "...There are lots of ready meals that are a lot more gourmet."
3. Reaching Millennials
Consumers aged 15 to 35 - also known as 'Millennials' - make up about a third of the world's population.
According to Innova, they are more likely to be well-informed and want to try something different.
They are also interested in the story behind products but are less likely to be loyal to specific brands.
4. Snacks rise to the occasion
"We are seeing the sn aerification of just about everything," Williams said.
Traditional mealtimes are on the decline, and healthy snacks are filling the gap. the market researcher says. In particular, the food industry has answered the call for snacks to replace conventional breakfast foods, with pouches, muesli bites and breakfast biscuits, among many others - and it is now moving into convenient, portable foods to replace lunch and dinner too.
5. Good fats, good carbs
"What we are seeing is that everything is not so black and white when it comes to fat and carbs. There is a lot more grey in between," Williams said.
Market analysts are beginning to see more butter-related claims on product labels. "Even though it is a saturated fat, it's got that halo of natural about it," she added.
Naturally occurring sugars are also being favoured above added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
6. More in store for protein
The move toward protein-rich foods may not be new. but companies are now highlighting the source of protein, whether pea. whey or milk, for example. Novel protein sources are also on the rise, including from algae, which is seeing greater consumer acceptance, according to Williams, and even insects, although this still has a way to go to get consumers on board.
However, she added that some European countries and categories were likely to accept insect protein faster than others.
7. New routes for fruit
There has been a huge increase in fruit-based snacks and fruit ingredients. Innova says, with fruit-based snacks finally overtaking fruit-flavoured snacks in Europe.
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