The importance of breakthrough innovation is not lost on big food companies. Major players, including General Mills, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, Danone, and Kellogg’s, have announced changes to refocus and accelerate their new product innovation programs for 2021, while moving to improve efficiencies by eliminating poorer performing stock-keeping units (SKUs). Kraft Heinz expects to have 20% fewer SKUs by the end of 2021, and Mondeleˉz International will cut back by 20% as well, executives told analysts at the February Consumer Analysts Group of New York Annual Conference.
This year’s top 10 food trends analysis offers a road map for focusing product development initiatives. To win in the current marketplace, product developers must innovate around the new macro trends of self-care, disease prevention, home-centered living, and creative ways of celebrating special occasions. It will also be important to keep pace with the emerging narratives in planetary and societal care and to focus on high-potential cohorts, especially millennials and high-income households. Meanwhile, longstanding macro trends, including indulgence, convenience, plant-based eating, and health/wellness, will continue to be market drivers. Because at-home cooking and on-the-go needs will further evolve during the next few years, product recipes/cooking instructions and more focused online search terms will become increasingly important to consumers. (Source IFT)
Sales of foods and beverages positioned as plant-based reached $5.6 billion in multi-outlet, specialty, and natural channels, up 29% for the year ended Dec. 27, 2020, according to SPINS.
Sales of alternative meats and poultry are projected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2020 to $2.0 billion by 2024, per a Packaged Facts report on alternative meat. Beef, followed by pork and chicken, will be the largest category, enjoying yearly double-digit growth. Sales of alternative seafood will reach $62 million by 2024.
Plant-based dairy will grow from $4.3 billion to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a Packaged Facts alternative dairy product report. Milk, followed by ice cream, yogurt, creamers, and cheese will be the largest categories; spreads, dips, sour cream, sauces, and cheese will have double-digit growth. Sales of egg alternatives will reach $50 million by 2024.
One-quarter of adults eat plant-based meat or poultry. Millennials, Gen Z, members of upper-income households, urbanites, and those with kids at home are most likely to do so. Forty-two percent use plant-based milks; 9%, ice cream; 8%, creamers; 8%, yogurt; 7%, butter; and 5%, cheese.
Plant-based product consumers are foodies, three-quarters enjoy cooking, and 69% regularly seek new products to try, per Packaged Facts. Ener-G’s Egg Replacer is well-positioned for half of plant-based product users who enjoy home baking.
Seven in 10 adults want more frozen meal options that contain fruits and/or vegetables; 58% want more plant-based carb/starch alternatives (e.g., riced cauliflower); 52% want more blended meat/vegetable items; and 51% seek more plant-based entrées, per AFFI.
Lunch, snacks (beyond chips), and desserts are untapped alternative opportunities. Think Gardein plant-based soups, Fresh Cravings nut-based dips in varieties like Kickin’ Queso, and Boomerang’s plant-based Australian meat pies.
Plant-based marketers need to close the nutrient parity gap, provide instructions and/or recipes for optimal preparation and cooking, and pursue cleaner labels.
• Plant-based ground veggie dinner mixes from Urban Accents come in Korean BBQ and Street Taco varieties.
• Haven’s Kitchen plant-based sauces include a Red Pepper Romesco variety.
•Danone’s Silk Ultra with 20 grams of complete plant protein is targeted for muscle performance, maintenance, and repair.