“We’ve seen it evolve in so many different ways. It’s a lot more consumer driven,” said Williams, who was speaking during an IFT preview webinar earlier this month.
Consumers are growing increasingly mindful with their food and beverage purchases seeking out specific claims that fall in line with their general wellness goals, Williams continued.
Themes such as mindful choices and other major trends will be discussed in further detail at Innova’s booth (#S0460) during IFT annual meeting and expo at McCormick Place in Chicago next week.
Better-for-you claims diversification
“The mindful consumer and the choices that they’re making is really an enormous topic. You can really sum that up into ‘I feel good about what I eat, but what I eat is also good for me’,” Williams said.
Breaking that down into specific product health claims, Innova research found that ‘free from’ related claims rose by a CAGR of 16% over a four-year period (2013-2017) followed by ‘clean label’ claims at +13%.
And consumers are likely taking note of the rise in such claims, as 50% of shoppers in the US, UK, and Germany said that they make a conscious effort to read the label, and 70% said they “want to know and understand the ingredient list,” added Williams.
“Consumers are really seeking general wellness,” she said. “We know that lifestyles are changing and the industry has to continue to respond to all these new lifestyle changes that consumers are making.”
The number of products with protein claims continues to grow, doubling in number between 2013 and 2017.
“People ask about this all the time: ‘Is protein still a big deal?’ Yes, it is,” Williams noted. “Over 10% of new products have a protein claim, which is just huge.”
According to Williams, the world of protein will continue on the same course of rapid innovation in both plant-based and animal-based sources.
Gut health is another emerging topic finding its way into more and more onto products, particularly in the fermented beverage and dietary supplements categories, Williams noted.
However, Innova has also noted a rise in snacks and confectionery brands taking advantage of this consumer trend by adding probiotics to products.
Tuning into larger impact
Consumers are also looking for products that are not only good for their personal health but also have a larger aspirational impact, which most often translates into seeking out products with environmentally friendly packaging and ethical claims, she said.
According to Innova, the index number of F&B launches featuring ethical animal, human, or environmental claims grew by 47% between 2013 and 2017.
“Brands are finding so many different and new ways to communicate what they are doing better [than others],” Williams said.
The reduction or elimination of waste, whether it be in packaging or food ingredients, has also cecome a popular claim to feature on products, according to Williams.
Williams added that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy to striking a better-for-you positioning for a product, but said it was something that a brand can tweak over time as it learns what claims and values resonate most with its particular audience.
“I don’t know if anybody has the magic bullet or the simple solution, but really to me, it’s all about doing the best you can do and to do better all the time,” Williams said.