Consumers want “natural highs”, convenience and “foraged flavours”, RTS Trend reports

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th October 2013

“Natural highs”, one-step convenience and “foraged flavours” are set to become key trends in 2014 for the global food and drink industry, according to new findings from market research organisation RTS Resource.

A new report, Future Food and Drink Trends 2014, compiled by trend experts at RTS Resource identified five key trends that will drive the global food and drink industry in 2014: “natural highs”, one-step convenience, “foraged ingredients”, “flavour-full benefits”, and “next generation” protein.

“Our analysis reveals that consumers not only expect more in terms of quality, flavour and value-for-money, but also reassurance that products are created with their desires at heart,” said Jamie Rice, RTS Resource Director. “Convenient products that meet consumer expectations for exciting flavours and healthier formulations will be in demand next year,” he said.

“Natural highs”

According to RTS Resource, interest is rising in “natural”, caffeine-free products that deliver energy or relaxation (sometimes referred to as anti-energy) together with protein, vitamins and beneficial ingredients in highly convenient formats.

Products such as these are moving out of the health food shop niche market and into mainstream retailers, according to RTS Resource, in recognisable products such as beverages and snacks. Australian Food News reported earlier in October 2013 that Melbourne-based beverages company, Rockwell Beverages, had released a new ‘relaxation drink’ range, joining Koala Karma’s product, released in July 2013 in the Australian ‘anti-energy’ drink market.

One-step convenience

The one-step convenience trend focuses on products that are easy to prepare and cook, but which offer consumers the ‘feel-good’ experience of making the end product, according to RTS Resource. Therefore, instead of a product that is put straight into the oven, there are one or two preparation steps reserved for the consumer to complete before the product can be cooked.

Examples of such products include Uncle Ben’s Rice Time Korma, manufactured by Mars and available in the UK and the US, which has a sauce and rice portion that are cooked together in a microwave and then combined; and Maggi So Juicy cooking mix, manufactured by Nestle and available globally, which is a seasoned oven bag that consumers add raw chicken and vegetables to before cooking.

“Foraged ingredients”

The popularity of restaurants such as NOMA in Denmark and increased interested in “foraged, local and seasonal produce” is fuelling demand for “foraged flavours”, according to RTS Resource. It predicts that in 2014 food and beverage manufacturers will begin to incorporate “foraged, hyper-local” ingredients into accessible formats and recognisable products.

Ingredients such as seaweed, truffle, rosehips, nettle, wild mushrooms and blackberries are among the ingredients RTS Resource expects will begin to appear in familiar products.

“Flavour-full” benefits

Consumers are seeking “healthy” alternatives of recognisable products that focus more on interesting ingredients and exciting flavour blends than the healthy nature of the product, according to RTS Resource. This trend could reinvigorate the appeal of healthier products by making them attractive from a taste point of view, regardless of the benefits the products can offer. RTS Resource said this trend could also make the products accessible to a wider audience.

“Next gen” protein

As interest in high protein diets continues to grow, consumers will seek out natural protein in convenient products they recognise, according to RTS Resource.

Products that allow consumers to incorporate greater levels of protein in their diets using products they recognise will rise in popularity.

Examples of such products already on the market include Be Real brand Hot or Cold Cherry Coconut Cereal, available in the US, which is a gluten-free, high-fibre, high-protein cereal flavoured with black cherry and coconut; and Kellogg’s Kashi Hummus Crisps, available in the US, which are a processed chickpea snack, flavoured with sundried tomato, basil and feta cheese.

Foraged mushrooms as ingredients an increasing trend