Trend spotting 2013: Protein rocks! Why muscle is a hot new issue, and the rise of the ‘aware’ shopper

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Trend spotting 2013: Protein rocks! Why muscle is a hot new issue

Related tags Nutrition Heart

Muscle and protein will be hot trends across every age group in 2013 as more US shoppers look to maintain lean muscle mass and stay healthy and active as they age, predict trend spotters.

In a presentation gathering data from consumer surveys, product launches, sales data and other sources over 2012, Sloan Trends chief science and regulatory officer Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt, RD, told delegates at Supply Side West that “muscle and protein is a big market opportunity”.

She added: “Muscle is a hot new issue. People are thinking about lean muscle mass and muscle tone, and this trend has potential across all age groups.”

Younger people are thinking more about energy, body image, shape and tone, she said; everyone is thinking about weight management and curbing hunger pangs between meals, and boomers want to stay energetic, strong and active as they age.

(Click here​ to read more about the protein trend and PepsiCo’s new launch.).

(Click here​ to read about new consumer research into protein from Fonterra.)

Number of products making hardcore functional claims is down

Protein is starting to appear more and more often on the front of pack

According to the American Heart Association, said Hutt, 26% of Americans aged 20+ have prediabetes, 11% have diabetes, 66% are overweight, 34% are obese, 34% have high blood pressure and 33% have high LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol.

However, the number of new products making targeted functional claims about cardiovascular, digestive, immune health and weight management dropped very slightly in 2011 vs 2010, with that same trend looking like it has continued into 2012, she said.

Meanwhile, less hardcore claims are on the rise, including added protein, whole grain/high fiber, 100% real fruit and gluten-free, she said.

However, with growing awareness of cardiovascular health biomarkers beyond cholesterol, there is an opportunity for marketers to woo consumers on new cardio health platforms such as healthy circulation, she said, citing cocoa flavanols as a key opportunity.

Stealth nutrition, hunger management and simple, natural ingredients

At Mintel Group, meanwhile, Lynn Dornblaser shared 10 things to bear in mind when developing new products for 2013 including:

  • Think hunger management, not weight loss​: Accentuate the positive, add fiber and protein
  • Everyone but consumers is focused on calories...
  • Stealth nutrition​: Smuggle in some fruit and veg
  • Take out the fake:​ Simple natural ingredients
  • Green goes beyond recycling​: Made in a plant that uses 100% wind power… We’ll plant a tree for every pack sold
  • Flavors go experimental​: Look to high end cocktails for inspiration

Doing the right thing, brain food, gluten free and protein in overdrive

wind-turbine-istock-Dieter Hawlan-landscape

Finally, Innova Market Insights has released its top trends for 2013, including:

The Aware Shopper​. This consumer is increasingly influencing the market, supported by mounting pressure from lobby groups, NGOs, and celebrities, calling for transparency, credibility, and accountability from the food industry, claims Innova, which says products with an ‘ethical’ positioning accounted for 14%+ of global launches tracked in each half year period since 2010.

Gray but Healthy​. Expect greater interest in anti-aging products, including the move of well-established medical brands into mainstream aisles and the increasing promotion of inherent nutrients on an aging well platform, predicts Innova.

Cognitive health​. Brain function remains a top concern for the aging population, so expect more products on a cognitive health platform.

Free-from claims​. These are becoming increasingly prevalent. Gluten-free is now relatively mainstream, with lactose-free set to follow suit, predicts Innova.

Natural’ Cracks Emerge​. After years of solid growth for products marketed on a natural platform, could the trend finally start to plateau as the lawsuits keep pouring in, consumers grow cynical and companies find slapping ‘all-natural’ on pack just isn’t worth the hassle and switch to and 'additive-/preservative-free' position instead?

Plus…Protein overdrive​, Beating the Sugar Demon, Sensory Experience, More with Less and Interest at the Extremes.

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