Other trends were: re-usable versus disposable packaging; clusters and crunches; textured drinks; red food and drink; and health shots.
Referring to the growing appetite for sprouted seeds, grains and beans, Tom Vierhile, innovation insight director at Datamonitor, told FoodNavigator: “Bioavailability is key here, offering higher vitamin and mineral content. In some products the seeds have been perforated so you can tap into the nutrients.”
Vierhile singled out products such as Planet Rice Sprouted Medium Grain Rice and Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks Tortilla Chips, made using seeds that had begun to sprout for added nutrients.
In natural sugars, Vierhile gave the example of palm sugar and coconut sugar. “A lot of natural sweeteners tend to be high in nutrients. Palm sugar can be used as a 1-1 replacement for brown sugar and has a low glycaemic index.”
Dairy foods derived from grass-fed livestock was more of a US trend than a global one, but Vierhile believed it had global potential, as it tapped into rising awareness of animal welfare issues.
Grain-based feedstuffs were also more likely to be genetically modified (GM) and so cattle fed on alternatives could generate products that were non-GM, he said. And using grass as feed entailed lower carbon emissions, he added.
Eating like a caveman
Eating like a caveman referred to foods catering for so-called ‘caveman’ diets, taking consumers back to all-natural products involving minimal processing. US Raw Crunch cereal bars illustrated this trend, said Vierhile.
Re-usable rather than disposal or even recyclable packaging was another emerging trend, he said. “One company has a line of salad dressings packaged in reusable carafes. It’s all about trying to cut waste.”
He also observed rising numbers of cluster and crunch products. “Companies are trying to add texture to offset increasing boredom with conventional products.” Nuts and seeds, which were often used in such products, were also packed with nutrients.
Several textured drinks had hit the market in the past two years, said Vierhile. They included Fruit2Day products made by Hero in the Netherlands and Fruiji Ruby Pineapple, made in the US. “Fruit2day is marketed as a drinkable snack, with a gulp of fruit in every mouthful. Coconut water is conditioning people to accept texture in drinks.”
Red coloured food and drink was becoming increasingly popular, said Vierhile. “Colour is an important driver of health in food.” He cited Cherry Good premium cherry juice and Snapz Crunchy Redbeet Crisps as examples, claiming the number of red coloured product launches had more than doubled from 2006-2011, from 191 to 422.
Healthy shot drinks were also on the rise, playing off the back of the US success of 5 Hour Energy. “You are seeing shots containing kombucha and immunity is another potential area,” said Vierhile. He referred to Mune Healthy Water, which had been launched in the UK.