Innova: How products impact the health of people, Earth & communities is gaining influence

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

According to recent research from Innova Market Insights, consumers are making more mindful choices about their diets and it is changing how they evaluate products, including pushing them to look more closely at ingredient decks and to consider the product’s broader impact.

“Mindful choices is our No. 1 trend for 2018 and mindful choices is about taking care of and considering what you are purchasing”​ in terms of health, the environment and the community at large, Virginia Lee, customer engagement officer at Innova Market Insights, told FoodNavigator-USA at IFT’s annual summit earlier this summer.

With regards to health, the mindful purchasing trend is prompting consumers to look more for products that are “positively processed,”​ such as through artisanal or old fashioned techniques or newer techniques, including cold pressing or sprouted.

“People are responding favorably to the words cold press, cold pressure and HPP – that is high pressure processing – because they believe the cold press process helps retain nutrients and flavors better,”​ Lee explained.

She noted that from 2013-2017, cold press claims have increased 30% year over year, while sprouted has seen a 17% compound annual growth rate among foods and beverages globally making the claim.

“Also with positively processed, we are seeing huge interest in fermentation”​ and people becoming more knowledgeable about the benefits of probiotic cultures on their digestive and immune systems, she said.

Looking at the impact of this trend more broadly on the environment or community, more consumers are considering the circular economy, which includes food waste reduction, using compostable or recyclable packaging and discontinuing the use of plastic straws in food service, Lee said.

Beyond the coffee shop

An adjacent trend that Innova is tracking is the rise of cold brew and the inclusion of coffee or tea flavors – and caffeine – in foods, Lee said.

“People, especially young people, all over the world have developed a huge fondness for the coffee shop experience. Getting lattes, their cappuccinos and espressos, and both coffee and tea flavors lend themselves well to so many different applications,”​ Lee explained.

She noted that globally there has been a 10% compound annual growth from 2013-2017 of foods and beverages that involve either coffee or tea, and a 62% compound annual growth rate of products that reference cold brew during the same time.

Social media’s rising influence

While consumers are becoming more serious about the potential impact of the products they consume, they also still want to have fun – a value that is reflected in the growing influence of social media, and particularly Instagram, on product innovation, according to Lee.

“The rise of social media, but in particular, Instagram is driving a frenzy in new food introductions with brightly colored foods … both at the retail level and food service,”​ Lee said, pointing to Starbuck’s Unicorn Frappuccino and stylized acai bowls and salads as examples.

She predicts this trend will lead to more packaged food and beverage manufactures embracing brightly colored ingredients, such as the purple yam, acai and blueberries.

Given the simultaneous rise of the clean label movement, manufacturers increasingly will need to find sources for bright, natural colors, Lee noted, adding that from 2013-2017 Innova saw a 17% compound annual growth rate of products making natural food color claims.

“I definitely think we will see more and more foods including natural colors,”​ she said.

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