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Millennials, Gen Z Seek Out Healthy Oils, Fats

May 12, 2017

As younger customers look for less processed, natural foods, minimally-processed fats are becoming appealing.

Dietary guidelines, for three decades have urged customers to cut fat and saturated fat from the American diet, but such a mindset is evolving.

Millennials and Generation Z consumers are the most inclined to view any type of fat not only as permissible, but as offering positive health benefits, according to Food Formulation Trends: Oils and Fats, a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts.

“This is the culinary revolution of the Instagram generation,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “These young adults are unencumbered by the low-fat crazes of the 1990s and 2000s, and do not have to overcome negative perceptions about fat in general. Instead, they are able to readily embrace and seek out specific plant-based and animal-based fats for their health benefits, including fat from avocados, olive oil, eggs, butter and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon.”

Packaged Facts forecasts that over the next few years, the foods most successful with these younger consumers will be those that contain minimally processed fats and oils that are free of GMOs and may even be organic. The report found that Millennial and younger consumers, in particular, seek to avoid overly processed foods and ingredients, potentially boosting the appeal of natural, unrefined oils.

When more description is included, it is likely to indicate naturalness and less processing, such as “raw,” “virgin,” “extra-virgin,” “unrefined,” “expeller-pressed,” and “cold-pressed” rather than “hydrogenated,” “refined,” “fractionated” and “solvent extracted.” For example, when it comes to dairy products, the natural, full-fat versions of butter, milk and cheese are more likely to be sought out because they are more natural and less processed.

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Nielson Identifies Top Flavor Trends For Snacks

May 5, 2017

BBQ, brown sugar, coconut and curry ranked high in consumer preference

NEW YORK — Americans spent almost $27.7 billion on salty snacks in the year that ended Feb. 25, 2017. That’s up 4.6% in dollar sales compared to the previous year. This growing opportunity is a big one for convenience stores and the manufacturers that are helping to stock those shelves.

As a result, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers in the snack category are working to innovate their offering in more creative and flavorful ways. Nielsen’s new Quick Screen tool is designed to help fast-moving CPG manufacturers test new product concept ideas overnight. Nielsen’s research shows that almost half of the new products that brands test with consumers don’t address a real need. And because of that, many new items struggle to succeed, wasting money on production, distribution, marketing and advertising. Quick Screen is designed to test new-product ideas overnight and then evaluate the results based on consumer “need and uniqueness” to determine which ones have the most potential.

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Personalization Helps Retailers Compete

April 21, 2017

BRP report shows how personalization is critical and what it means.

According to a new special report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), personalization has gone well beyond simple marketing to demographic groups, customer segments or even personas. It is more than simply greeting a customer by name when they walk in the store and it goes beyond merely offering product recommendations on your website. Personalization is not just a trend – it is a critical way for retailers to differentiate their brand to compete against companies like Amazon, according to the BRP SPECIAL REPORT: “Personalizing the Customer Experience.”

“Consumers’ constant ability to shop and easily research products and prices has made it imperative for retailers – especially those with brick and mortar locations – to find creative ways to entice customers into the store,” said Jeff Neville, vice president, BRP. “The best and most powerful way to do this is through personalization.”

Personalization encapsulates all the details that make your customer’s shopping experience unique to her. It involves knowing your customer and understanding her past purchases and current interests, but it also encompasses how the experience itself meets the customer’s needs for a personalized product or service.

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Snacks for Breakfast?

April 3, 2017

Technavio sees global snack market growth including at breakfast time.

According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global savory snacks market is expected to reach USD $175.85 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of more than 5%.

This research report titled ‘Global Savory Snacks Market 2017-2021’ provides an in-depth analysis of the market in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated through the sales of different types of savory snacks through various retail outlets and foodservice establishments, which include but not limited to hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, independent retailers, discount stores, warehouse clubs and others.

Snack items are largely being consumed as replacements for breakfast especially nuts and seeds — a factor that is helping to create a massive opportunity for global players to introduce innovative product offerings, keeping in mind the nutrition and taste preferences of consumers. An increasing number of snackers, primarily in the North American and European markets, and the preference for snacks as breakfast items have increased the sales of savory snacks.

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2017 Looks Rich for Dairy

March 17, 2017

Dairy products like milk, frozen novelties, ice cream and more continue to be essential items for Americans—and just the kind that convenience stores specialize in.

Health is an obvious driver. Darryl David, CEO of Darryl’s Ice Cream Solutions LLC, a private-label ice cream consulting firm in St. Petersburg, Fla., said more often than not, U.S. consumers are bending toward better-for-you dairy items.

“Many of my clients are eliminating high-fructose corn syrup in their products and making products sweetened with cane sugar.”
While there might be a higher demand for soy milk in some markets, the best sellers in convenience stores, he added, are still the super-premium ice cream pint at $4.79 and the $1 novelty item.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a proliferation of new product introductions and sustained growth of key products, including chocolate milk and whole milk,” said Kikke Riedel, vice president of strategy and insights for the Washington, D.C.-based National Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP).

The group found that c-stores can and should step up their game with milk. A retail study recently commissioned by MilkPEP found that convenience stores, in particular, have lost ground to other channels for milk sales, resulting in a loss of more than $1 billion in potential sales and $321 million in potential profits since 2008. “That’s a loss that we believe can be regained with smart merchandizing and milk product mix optimization,” Riedel said.

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Forecasting The Future Of Snacking

March 13, 2017

Snacking, now accounting for half of all eating occasions, is driven by three primary consumer needs: nourishment, optimization and pleasure. Understanding attitudes and approaches to snacking based on these drivers is critical as manufacturers and retailers navigate “the modern era of snackified eating,” said Tamara Barnett, vice-president of strategic insights for The Hartman Group.

“Snacking is not just an interesting phenomenon of consumer behavior … it really is a crucial demand space for product and marketing development and strategic portfolio planning,” Ms. Barnett said during a Feb. 28 webinar presentation detailing findings of recent research about snacking behaviors.

Of the 91% of consumers who report snacking multiple times throughout the day, 8% forgo meals altogether in favor of all-day snacking. Time pressures and commitments, as well as the decline of meal planning and cooking skills, have upended traditional daily food rituals.

“How we go about planning, acquiring and consuming food has been disrupted, and the result of that disruption has been in many cases the displacement of meals and a lot of variation in when and how and what gets consumed,” Ms. Barnett said.

An elevated focus on food and beverage for nutrition and a growing interest in global flavors have fueled an evolution in snacking behaviors and preferences, Ms. Barnett said.

“Snacking was about diversion and fun before,” she said, indicating a more recent shift toward health and wellness, fresh and premium. “The food industry has responded to this desire for fresh and minimally processed food and beverages, and there has been a proliferation of small, premium quality brands that are now competing with those larger legacy brands.”

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Can Baby Boomers Save the Fast-Food Industry?

February 24, 2017

The 50-plus demographic is a powerful group whose choices can have a big impact on a brand’s bottom line.

Iconic fast food chain McDonald’s recently announced that its U.S. sales fell 1.3 percent at established locations from October through the end of 2016. As it tries to right the ship, it acknowledges increased competition and a need for different menu items.

Similarly, Taco Bell—the same fast-food brand famous for Chalupas, Dorito Locos, and other meaty, cheesy munchies—started the new year by announcing it will reduce sodium and do away with extra-large sodas in an effort to make its menu healthier.

The move couldn’t come at a better time for reaching consumers 50-years-old and above, who are more likely than ever to be the ones behind the wheel at the drive-thru.

Sixty-two percent of all fast-food and drive-in restaurant visits over the next 10 years will come from people 50 or older, according to MRI research from spring 2016. That will mean an additional 1.4 billion visits by 50-plus consumers compared with an increase of just 875 million among those ages 18 to 49.

This is big news for the fast-food industry. The 50-plus demographic is a powerful consumer group whose choices can have a big impact on a brand’s bottom line. So what can marketers learn from this development in the fast-food sector? Here are three key 50-plus consumer attributes:

They Want to Save Time with Quick Service

People over 50 are reinventing life’s “golden years” as a time of possibility. They stay active, exercise, volunteer, and travel, all of which lead to needing quick meals that fit into their busy lives.

With active lifestyles and longer careers, their spending no longer is reduced as they age. In fact, the 50-plus demographic now accounts for 51 percent of all consumer spending. Thanks to being healthier and living longer, this group will influence purchasing far beyond the age at which consumers have traditionally fallen off marketers’ radar.

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Five Food Trends Driven by Millennials

February 6, 2017

The influence of foodie culture on younger consumers is an opportunity for foodservice operators.

Y-Pulse has released a study examining dining experiences of Millennial consumers (18-34 year olds), and what drives the same consumer to very different types of food experiences outside the home.

To craft the survey, the Y-Pulse team engaged with foodservice experts who regularly participate in trends surveys, but also included creative experts who work in important lifestyle industries such as fashion, architecture and fine arts.

What emerged from the study was a richly detailed and insightful picture of dining trends driven by the younger, modern consumer (18-34 years old), as well as the degree that they diverge from overall consumer preferences.

“We found that young consumers, between ages 18 and 34, are greatly influenced by the foodie culture that surrounds them,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. “These trends highlight the direction of the foodservice industry in future years,” adds Olson.

In this study, titled “The Modern Consumer: Understanding Tomorrow’s Tastemakers Today 2017,” questions covered a range of topics from ingredient transparency to exploration through international cuisines. Here are the five trends that Millennial consumers will continue, and even further, in today’s marketplace:

Influential Foodie Culture – Today’s food-centric culture has given rise to food halls, fancy food emporiums and food festivals that offer fully immersive experiences. Young consumers are eagerly pushing this trend forward with 71% of Millennials saying they love to attend food-focused events and 81% stating that they enjoy exploring new cultures through food. Foodservice operators will see a continuation of this trend, both in dining experience and innovation in global flavors.

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New Product Trend of the Year: Organic

January 27, 2017

Organic products aren’t new to your shelves—organic produce and fresh products have been around for a long time. But the trend that those products started years ago came to a climax in 2016. Products with organic attributes grew in sales volume by more than 13% last year, according to Nielsen. And they’re growing in more than just the fresh categories. Beverages were the seventh top-selling organic category in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 29, 2016.

While price is still a factor, consumers that are focused on health and wellness are willing to pay that premium. Chicago-based Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows that 44% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase, and are willing to pay at least slightly more for, a menu item with organic claims. And they think they taste better, with 40% of consumers saying organic food is tastier than nonorganic food, up from 33% of consumers in 2014.

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Americans Question ‘Healthy Diet’

January 23, 2017

CHICAGO — Less than 42% of Americans consider their diets healthy, according to new research from Mintel. In addition, less than 38% agree healthy foods are worth the added expense, and only 14% believe regulatory approval constitutes a healthy product. Moreover, 16% of consumers trust health claims on packaging, and 23% believe the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are good for them.

“Despite the fact that we’re seeing such a widespread and growing interest in healthy foods, relatively few Americans believe their diet is healthy,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “With consumers largely wary of even regulator-approved health food options, marketing healthy foods to skeptical consumers requires far more than merely an on-pack promise. The key to attracting these consumers is convincing them that products actually deliver on the healthy attributes they promise and that they are truly good for consumers and their families.”

Fifty per cent of health-conscious consumers avoid high-fructose corn syrup, 47% stay away from sugar, 45% steer clear of trans fat, and 43% avoid saturated fat, according to the research. Artificial ingredients such as artificial sweeteners (43%), artificial preservatives (38%) and artificial flavors (35%) also are on the healthy consumer’s list of ingredients to avoid.

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