The UK-based market research firm said that synthetic colours and flavours are still more popular with food and beverage developers than natural varieties, but the trend for natural products has entered the mainstream.
“Concerns over artificial ingredients, a growing desire for a return to the perceived simpler times of the past and pressure from major retailers have turned naturalness into a key consideration for food and drink manufacturers and ingredient suppliers,” the researcher said.
It said that manufacturers looking to tap into the trend should promote the natural origins of their ingredients, naming the specific region if possible – and there are also opportunities for ingredient suppliers to extend the reach of their products into other markets and product categories as demand for naturalness grows.
From the named food (FTNF) flavours are one example of this, and the researcher highlighted Treatt’s new FTNF ingredient derived from jalapeño peppers. Meanwhile, Japanese beverage company Suntory has launched a new range of traditional alcoholic beverages flavoured with natural ingredients, and it names the specific orchard or vineyard from which their fruit flavour ingredients are sourced on the can.
“Proving an ingredient’s provenance is a powerful way of endorsing its natural credentials,” said RTS.
According to market research organisation Mintel, the percentage of global product launches carrying a ‘natural’ claim – including no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, or additives – increased from 26% of new launches in 2005 to over a third in 2009.
The natural trend is among those due to be highlighted in an upcoming RTS report, “SuperTrends: Flavour Trends”.