Study identifies top performing food sectors

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage, Marketing

AC Neilsen's latest market report, which examines the
fastest-growing categories and product areas across 66 key markets
around the world, provides an insight into the future direction of
global food development.

The 2006 edition of What's Hot Around the World – Insights on Growth in Food & Beverage Products​ covers more than 75 per cent of the world's population, who contribute more than 90 per cent of the world's GDP. "The changing of our world population affects our food and beverage products,"​ said the report. "As populations age in developed markets, consumers have become more concerned with eating healthier – losing a few pounds, reducing their cholesterol and increasing their fibre. "At the same time, newer, emerging markets are showing signs of building infrastructure to modernise their food distribution channels." ​Overall, the global growth of food and beverage categories remains at four per cent. This growth rate varies significantly between regions and within categories however. "What is notable among the food and beverage categories with top sales growth is the number of healthy items that dominate the list: yogurt, dairy, fish and salads,"​ said the report. "Six of these categories had global sales of over US $1 billion and grew in double digits." ​Indeed, what is clear from the report is the continued focus on health and freshness, the need for convenience and the continuing need for value. ​ At 18 per cent, yoghurt-based drinks topped the list in terms of value growth, fuelled by single-serving products and health trends toward probiotics. Second on the fastest-growing global categories list, was fish and seafood at 12 per cent. "In contrast to the 2004 study, which found meat to be a fast grower, fresh fish is now growing faster,"​ said AC Neilsen. "Consumers looking for protein in their diets are moving to perceived healthier options."​Alcoholic cider was the only alcoholic beverage on the fast-growing list, driven mainly by increased sales in Europe. In contrast, the mixed alcoholic beverage drinks category went on the decline overall. ​As with drinkable yoghurt, dairy-based drinks also made the list of fastest-growing categories. AC Neilsen said that new packaging, brands, and flavours helped boost this category around the world. ​Geographically, the largest share of food and beverage value sales came from Europe, followed by North America. Asia Pacific was number three, accounting for 13 per cent of total food and beverage sales. "However, by taking into account both value sales and growth rates, it is interesting to note that both the emerging markets and Latin America contribute a larger portion of the growth value than their share of total sales would indicate,"​ said the report. ​The AC Neilsen survey underlines the fact that the world is changing – and that food manufacturers must react to these changes in order to maintain their competitiveness. The overall message is that while these changes present challenges, they also open up new opportunities. "More so than any time in our world's history, we are able to identify and understand the shifts in the environment, the global economy and in the rapidly developing markets,"​ said AC Neilsen. "Today's developing markets will be tomorrow's core for FMCG marketers – India will overtake China in terms of population before 2050, becoming the number-one and two populations in the world." ​ The market researcher also emphasised the fact that these trends do not translate into the ability to take a 'one-size-fits-all' approach in marketing products to consumers globally. "A 'convenient' item in Germany may not be perceived that way in Brazil,"​ it said. "A 'healthy' drink may mean something different to consumers in Spain and Japan​. Within markets, cities, and demographic segments, it is necessary to understand how these trends relate to the local consumer."

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