Tate & Lyle’s trend forecast spotlights transparency, gut health & better-for-you snacking

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18 Nov 2021 — Tate & Lyle has unveiled six key trends identified as currently shaping consumer product innovation in the F&B market. The ingredient suppliers’ global market research team conducted its own proprietary consumer research, which comprises hundreds of research papers and data points.

“A trend has slow, steady growth over time. It has longevity. It typically impacts/disrupts relevant product categories long term,” Natalya Bright, market research manager at Tate & Lyle, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“By contrast, a fad or ‘craze’ is short-lived,” she notes. “Any of its category impacts are typically short-lived. Our trendsetting process involves tracking the consumer trends we identify over time.”

“Back in 2017 we developed four consumer trends. Over the course of 2018, 2019 and 2020, we monitored and measured the relevance and growth of these trends to determine if they are, in fact, still a trend and how they have evolved. This resulted in the need to revise and expand our trends to include new perspectives and deeper actionable insights.”

The clean label movement continues to evolve, moving from all-natural claims to communicating how products are made.Beth Nieman Hacker, market research director at Tate & Lyle, adds: “By understanding how values, behaviors and appetites are changing, and the drivers behind these shifts, food and beverage brands can launch products that meet the needs of consumers today and better anticipate how these will evolve.”

Tate & Lyle’s forecasted trends include the following:

Transparency
Increasing numbers of consumers are seeking healthy food and beverage products they can trust and want to know the source of the ingredients in those products. 

The clean label movement continues to evolve, moving from all-natural claims to communicating how products are made.

Innova Market Insights similarly crowned “Transparency Triumphs” as its Top Trend for 2021. Advances in AI, blockchain, machine learning, robotics and the Internet of Things have been anticipated to raise the bar for digital traceability solutions such as smart labeling and digital tracing at speed.

Plant-based
Consumers are focused on health and sustainability, opting for products that are better for them and better for the planet. 

They are drawn to products that are plant-based because positive health outcomes and environmental impacts are associated with plant-based eating.

As plant-based movement breaches new territories, brands are increasingly seeking alignment with flavors familiar to local consumers. Novel concepts were recently highlighted at the Anuga 2021 F&B trade show in Cologne, Germany. 

Sugar reductionGlobally, consumers are not getting enough fiber daily, Tate & Lyle stresses.
Consumers are looking for ways to get healthy and stay healthy. One recommendation to achieve better health is to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet. 

However, consumers are torn between reducing sugar and maintaining a great taste experience.

Tate & Lyle recently expanded its stevia distribution partnership with Azelis in Europe into three new countries, Greece, Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia. The move is expected to take effect from early 2022. 

Gut health
Globally, consumers are not getting enough fiber daily. Fiber helps support gut health and consumers are interested in getting more of it in their diet. 

As awareness of gut health and the benefits a healthy gut can provide continues to grow, more consumers will look for products with gut health benefits.

This year saw a variety of new fiber ingredients launching on the market. Three categories notably in the spotlight are cereal fibers, soluble fibers and fruit fibers like citrus fiber.

Convenience
Consumers are digitally connected and time poor, seeking ease, efficiency and instant gratification from the products they buy.

While convenient F&B products meet the needs of global consumers amid their busier, more stressful lives, this presents formulation challenges for manufacturers.

Convenience is increasingly desired among F&B products to meet the needs of busy global consumers.Meal kits have become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many consumers turning to ready-to-assemble meals and subscription services for food that provides preparation convenience.

This dining format is designed to provide households with precise quantities of ingredients to make a specific meal, which has been found to significantly reduce food waste, particularly for food items that are infrequently used and unavailable in small quantities.

Better-for-you snacking
Snacking is an important meal occasion; however, consumers are minding their health and increasingly focused on the added benefits of a given F&B product. “Better-for-you” snacking products are well-positioned to meet this demand.

Functional NPD on the market this year have expanded to include focus-enhancing formulas and gluten-free alternatives. In this space, The Functional Chocolate Company launched Brainy Chocolate Bars, while Calbee and Blops rolled out alternatives to traditional snacks like chips.

Further delving into this topic, FoodIngredientsFirst recently caught up with experts from Symrise, the Almond Board of California and Lallemand Bio-Ingredients.

By Benjamin Ferrer

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