According to the global functional ingredients company's FMCG Gurus report conducted in late 2020, six out of ten consumers state that they are more conscious about their overall health and wellbeing as a result of COVID-19.
As a result, they are paying more attention to eating well and are seeking out food and beverage products that address and improve their overall wellbeing and fit seamlessly into their lives.
FrieslandCampina predicts strong growth for products across a range of categories including hydration, protein fortification, gut health, brain health, and immunity.
“Right now, we’re seeing behavior and needs shifting faster than ever before,” said Vicky Davies, global marketing director, performance, active and medical nutrition.
“COVID-19 has brought health and wellness to the fore, and it will be essential for brands to keep in tune with these evolving concerns in 2021 and beyond."
While health and wellness can be interpreted in a number of ways, brands playing in various segments from gut health to protein fortification should focus on a few key product pillars to resonate more effectively with consumers, said FrieslandCampina.
Personalized nutrition identity
"There is greater demand for nutrition tailored to individual needs, driven by breakthroughs in technology and science. Food is also seen as a means of self-expression and finding one’s place in society," said FrieslandCampina.
Protein has always been a cornerstone of the personalized nutrition trend, and according to FrieslandCampina, the category of protein-fortified food and beverage products has a lot of room to grow and opportunity for brand owners to differentiate themselves.
"Proteins are claiming more retail shelf space, but most consumers may find understanding or navigating different types difficult. Brand owners can differentiate by adding health benefits to their products, while also clearly communicating these – a key contributor to success in the ‘Protein+’ trend," said the company.
According to FrieslandCampina, female consumers are a growing and and unaddressed market for these personalized nutrition products.
"Women account for an increasing proportion of the performance nutrition market, but few products are tailored to them."
Convenience is key
An increased focus on health is leading consumers to re-evaluate their snacking habits and eating habits throughout the day, noted FrieslandCampina.
"Evolving mealtime habits, perceptions of time-scarcity and a greater focus on health than ever before will drive demand for products that offer convenient nutritional boosts for active consumers," said the company.
According to its research, over half (51%) of active consumers report skipping ‘most’ or ‘all’ meals due to time pressure pointing to clear demand for products that are nutritious as well as convenient.
Small moments where consumers can fit in a dose of nutrition throughout the day such as an overnight 'protein shot' can create new snacking and eating occasions.
"This creates a major opportunity for compact products that can easily be absorbed into everyday lives and routines," said FrieslandCampina.
Building consumer trust through storytelling
While a brand can be convenient and nutritious, it must also make a genuine effort to communicate its authenticity to consumers who are increasingly evaluating their food and beverage options from a perspective of trust.
FrieslandCampina noted that consumer trust in some brands has begun to diminish as people look for ethical, sustainable options and that clean labeling and transparency regarding ingredients will be more important than ever in 2021.
"Stories behind the origins of products are increasingly captivating consumers. There is growing demand for local, safe, sustainable, and authentic products and having an attractive and resonant story behind your product will be a decisive factor," added FrieslandCampina.