10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2017

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Which are the real GROWTH trends in food and health?

The ones that will still matter 5 years from now?

Our annual trend survey, now in its 20th year, gives you the answers.

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Recent Case Studies Plant burger that ‘bleeds like beef’ accelerates roll-out Beyond Meat has taken a major step in its efforts to grow the market for its pea protein-based meat alternatives with the debut of Beyond Burger in the chilled meat section of more than 500 Kroger stores across the United States. read more Big test for plant-based strategy: can it deliver on ‘natural’? The roll-out of Beyond Meat’s pea-protein burger – Beyond Burger – in the chilled meat cabinets of America’s supermarkets is a test of whether meat alternatives can be as successful as dairy alternatives. read more Japanese giant commits to plant-based success With the C$405 million ($326 million/€277 million) acquisition of fast-growing plant foods business Daiya Foods, Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical both provides more fuel for the plant-based alternatives sector and adds to its own steadily expanding portfolio of health and wellness businesses. read more Long road for premium, low-sugar probiotic Greek yoghurt In the midst of the current frenzy of excitement about the food and beverage start-ups, it’s always overlooked that building a business takes time. Most will take 10 years to make much progress – as the story of Maia yoghurt, tasting commercial success after a decade of effort, shows. read more Purity promise breaks national barrier for fluid milk No dairy company has ever created a national brand of liquid milk in the US – the challenges involved have so far proved too big. But Dean Foods has changed all that, and its DairyPure brand now has a 14% share of the national market. read more New look for Nourish Three years after the debut of her Nourish Snacks brand of granola, TV-host-cum-entrepreneur Joy Bauer has overhauled the brand and product line with better recipes, a new look for the packaging, a drastically slimmed-down product line, and a decision to expand from an e-commerce subscription-only base into conventional bricks-and-mortar retailing. read more Premium-priced shots boast ginger for digestive health Ginger is one of the oldest tummy settlers known to mankind. But it took until 2014 for Zeyad Moussa to turn the ancient plant and widely-used ingredient into a drinkable shot-format supplement. And now he’s rolling out Ginger Shots to retailers across the United States. read more Coldpress bucks downward juice trend with premium product As sales of fruit juices continue their long decline, premium HPP juice stands out as a rare growth story. Making the most of the advantages of HPP technology with offerings such as single-variety juices has helped an entrepreneurial brand differentiate itself in a crowded market and attract investment to accelerate its growth. read more Alkaline water bets on growth Avoiding meat, wheat, refined sugar and processed foods are among the most popular routes to health embraced by consumers. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that alkaline diets – which cover all of those bases – have established a toehold among some consumers, despite the absence of support from health professionals. read more
Lessons from the kale fairytale

Lessons from the kale fairytale

Kale was once the ugly duckling of the vegetable world. But it surprised everyone by blossoming into one of the coolest.

After initial success in America, kale has even spread its wings in Europe – you can buy high-protein kale quark in Finland and kale popcorn in France.

According to IRI, sales of products with kale grew 123% between 2013 and 2016 in the US. Mintel says that launches of products with kale increased 180% in the same period.

So how did this kale fairytale happen? There isn’t a simple answer, but here are some of the factors that worked for kale and that are key to making any natural food cool:

1. Make sure it’s nutritious – and talk about it. A lot.
Kale is high in vitamins C, K and A and its a source of calcium, iron and other minerals. While other vegetables are even bigger nutrient powerhouses than kale (spinach, chicory, other cabbages…) many consumers think kale is the uber-superfood of all greens – and that’s because the media talks about kale and its health benefits, a lot.

2. Make sure it’s versatile.
Kale works in smoothies, salads, sauces, snacks, beverages and spread. The options are endless, which makes it easier to give consumers new and exciting ways of incorporating kale in their diet.

3. Get it in the hip and trendy restaurants.
Kale salad – now a pretty regular option in many restaurants – could only be found in the trendiest ones a couple of years ago. In 2013, the New York Times wrote that kale salads were the “fashionable plat du jour”. If you want to make a vegetable cool, make sure it’s showing up in the recipes and menus of the cool chefs.

4. Find the right “good fairies”.
Key influencers played a big role in kale’s fortunes. Back in 2009 Dr. Oz introduced kale chips as one of his favourite snacks. In 2011, Ellen DeGeneres and Gwyneth Paltrow were making kale chips on Ellen’s TV show. In 2012 National Kale Day was born, created by a team headed by Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist, farmer and author of the “50 Shades of Kale” recipe book. Even Beyonce stepped in with a “KALE” sweatshirt on her 7/11 music video.

5. The power of PR
The “godmother” of kale is Oberon Sinclair, founder of My Young Auntie, a boutique PR agency. She claimed to have been hired by the American Kale Association (AKA) to “make kale cool” in 2013. In 2016 the National Geographic called her the “woman behind the Big Kale”. Oberon has confirmed in a media interview that in fact it was she who created the AKA, its website and social media presence, describing it as her “Proudest campaign ever. I’ve been trying to convert people for years to eat in a healthy way. I’ve always loved [kale]. It is an amazing vegetable.”

Kale is now an established ingredient, available in mainstream retailers. Even McDonalds is adding it to their products. Whether kale will be able to keep its momentum is another question, but its journey is an inspiring one for anyone wondering what’s going to be “the next big superfood”.

Read more on the blog

Julian Mellentin

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