olam food ingredients (ofi) explored the impact of rising prices and environmental awareness on food and beverage innovation and identified key themes which manufacturers may need to be aware of, in looking to ensure a new launch succeeds.
As high inflation continues, value becomes of ever more importance to consumers; although its meaning changes from person to person. Some trade down to reduce spending while others elevate the products they would ordinarily buy, to reduce the frequency of purchase.
Consumers, for example, are seeking out small affordable treats like indulgent chocolate, as nearly two thirds (65%) of global consumers have increased their food and beverage spending post-lockdown.
Beyond cost savings, private label offerings are being recognised as high-quality and desirable. A majority of APAC, EU and US shoppers (60%) believe private label products are as good as national brands when it comes to quality, innovation, sustainability and delivering on claims.
This year in particular, consumers are turning toward food and drink purchases as ‘pick-me-up’ experiences, seeking out rich flavours and textures. One-off premium purchases can help spice up monotonous days.
Nostalgic dishes or ingredients with perceived mood-boosting properties also provide comfort. One way to create experimental food and beverages is by adding sensory inclusions, such as dark chocolate with a rich dark colour or ice-cream and milkshake creations combined with crunchy roasted almond or cashew pieces.
ofi’s research findings show that 63% of US shoppers expect to use more plant-based products over the next two years, and in Europe, where 58% expect it to increase.
Curiosity is a big driver for consumers trying plant-based products as the company’s EMENA research shows that 65% of consumers buy plant-based dairy alternatives as an opportunity to try something new.
As the plant-based trend grows, alternatives can stand out by addressing additional food trends like clean label or on trend flavours. Consumer demand for simple, recognisable ingredients in their food is driving some manufacturers to make adjustments.
Consumers are also looking for demonstrable sustainable farming and regenerative practices, which means companies should be investigating their production metrics including water consumption, agricultural inputs and waste streams.
ofi’s Cashew Trail reflects the company’s 2030 sustainability targets across the cashew supply chain from farm to factory, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They are part of a wider commitment of the company’s to source, grow and produce ingredients that are good for consumers, farmers and the world.
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