Campaign to promote veggie steaks on the barbie and better health

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th January 2017

While most Australians will be throwing meat on the BBQ on Australia Day, new research from Mintel has found many will be foregoing tradition by grilling vegan steaks while enjoying a gluten-free beer in celebration of the day.

According to the research, the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), between 2014 and 2016 there was a 92 per cent increase in the number of food products launched in Australia carrying a vegan claim, and an 8 per cent increase in the number of products launched carrying a vegetarian claim.

New products appealing to vegetarians

As many as one in eight (12 per cent) of food products launched in Australia in 2016 carried a vegetarian claim, while 6 per cent held a vegan claim. The soar in veggie and vegan friendly launches comes as many Australian consumers have a growing appetite for meat-free foods. In fact, one in seven (14 per cent) said that they avoided or intended to avoid red meat in 2016.

Laura Jones, Trend and Innovation Consultant at Mintel, said although Australia is still one of the largest meat eating populations globally, health and environmental concerns, along with cost have changed Australians’ attitudes when it comes to meat consumption.

“Australians have become more mindful in recent years of the amount of meat and the frequency of which they eat meat,” she said.

Alcohol given the boot too, says Mintel 

But it’s not just the barbecue that is receiving a health kick, it seems the bottle shops too are showcasing an increasing number of alcoholic drinks with healthy attributes. While just 2 per cent of alcoholic drinks launched in Australia in 2015 held a low, no or reduced sugar claim, this increased to 7 per cent of alcohol launches in 2016. In the same time period, the proportion of these drinks launched with a low, no or reduced carb claim rose from 1 per cent to 4 per cent, while the proportion holding a gluten-free claim rose from 1 per cent to 3 per cent.

Drinker decline

But while there are more healthy alternatives available, many drinkers in Australia are choosing to cut-down on the grog altogether. Mintel’s Consumer Metro Study 2016 showed that only 11 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over are spending more on alcohol at home compared to a year ago, compared to 27 per cent who are spending less. This trend is more exaggerated when going out, with 7 per cent spending more compared to 35 per cent spending less.

Beer sales falling flat

As a result, it seems beer sales are falling flat with Mintel Market Sizes data revealing that beer sales have been in decline in Australia from as far back as 2009. Volume consumption per capita is forecast to fall to 48.09 litres in 2017, down from 60.73 litres in 2009.

“Beer consumption is continuing on a long-term downward trend in Australia as consumers drink less alcohol generally, challenging brands to look for new ways to boost market value.” Jones said.

Kombucha boom

While meat and regular alcoholic drinks may be off the menu for some this Australia Day, the hottest drink trend in Australia this summer is kombucha. Australia played host to the second highest number of kombucha drink launches globally in 2016, just behind the USA, according to Mintel GNPD.

And it seems these drinks are showcasing their health-enhancing credentials. More than three in four (78 per cent) launches of these drinks in 2016 featured an organic claim, with half (51 per cent) claiming to be gluten-free and 16 per cent featuring a low, no or reduced sugar formulation.

Jodie Minotto, Senior Global Food Trends Analyst at Mintel, said Kombucha is proving to be far more than a fad and its popularity is gradually spreading amongst health-conscious consumers globally.

“The Australian market is notable for the high profile of recent launches in the lead up to the summer season of 2016/2017. Kombucha is proving to be a beverage that defies definition and will ultimately compete with other functional and probiotic beverages. While, in essence, it is a tea drink, many brands use fruit juices and superfoods to enhance health credentials. Expansion into other fermented beverages such as kefir and drinking vinegar is emerging as an innovation pathway for kombucha brands looking for growth,” she said.


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