The next big things in food and beverage?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 30th July 2008

Mintel, a leading supplier of market intelligence, has come a step closer to discovering the next big things in food and drink by combining research from their Global New Products Database (GNPD) and information from the recent Institute of Food Technologists meeting.

“Mintel’s IFT ‘08 presentations focused on issues and new products driving food and drink innovation,” comments Lynn Dornblaser, a new product expert with Mintel. “Our taste tests allowed attendees to experience products firsthand and vote on favourites. Not surprisingly, most of the winning products took a familiar concept and tweaked it to align with consumers’ changing taste and lifestyle preferences.”

Mintel established three key themes at the taste tests, which were: ‘ingredient sustainability’, ‘inherent goodness of ingredients’ and ‘healthy food for kids’.

Ingredient Sustainability
With green living becoming a global norm, Mintel looked at food and beverage companies using sustainable ingredients. They focused on products which were either organic, locally sourced or Fairtrade to boost their green credentials. IFT ‘08 attendees tasted some of the latest innovations tracked by Mintel GNPD, choosing ‘Phoenix Organic Apple, Orange and Mango Juice’ from New Zealand as their favourite.

Coming in at second place were organic, additive-free Falafel Chips from US company Falafel Chips and Dip. Indulgent flavor and a strong brand name gave the third place winner, Starbucks Caffé Mocha Truffles, a competitive edge. Starbucks claims commitment to purchasing cocoa and coffee that are grown and traded in an ethical and sustainable manner, and this is likely to boost the success of the product.

Inherent Goodness of Ingredients
Mintel suggests that latest health and wellness concerns have sparked a return to natural, inherently “good” ingredients over scientifically enhanced foods. At IFT ‘08, Mintel presented numerous new products containing real fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.

Nabisco Garden Harvest Toasted Chips emerged as the stand out winner. Containing wholegrains and half a serving of fruit or vegetables, the innovative US chips caught tasters’ attention for both flavour and creativity. In second place, Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt from France reportedly provided an ideal balance between sweet and salty. Tasters chose Britvic J20 Apple and Blueberry Soft Drink with real juice third overall.

Healthy Food for Kids
In response to rising childhood obesity, companies are actively looking for healthier products to market to kids. The taste tests emphasized new fortified, functional and natural products, with attendees picking Chewits Truly Smoothy Crazy Animals Fruit Gums from the UK as their favorite. The gummies contain real juice and 30% less sugar than similar candies.

A close second was Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit Real Fruit Rope, containing a full serving of fruit, from the US. Third place winner was savoury Land-Leben Bakki’s Colored Croutons for Soup from Hungary. The croutons claim to make eating healthy soup fun for kids.

IFT ‘08 took place in New Orleans from June 29 to July 1, 2008. Food industry professionals from over 80 countries came to learn about the latest food and drink trends, products and developments from over 1,000 exhibitors.