As healthful eating becomes a priority among mainstream consumers, the opportunity for food and beverage products that claim nutritional benefits is promising–provided CPG manufacturers and retailers invest in consumer education.
"While manufacturers have developed foods and beverages with healthier attributes, perhaps the biggest obstacle they now face is consumer awareness," explains Jamil Satchu, partner, Symphony Consulting. "At best, consumers lack understanding, and given the complexity of some health claims, that's understandable. At worst, they are skeptical of many health claims, particularly newer ones. But, time and information can overcome this obstacle."
"Food and Beverage Health Claims TrendSpotting," the most recent in the Executive Briefings by Symphony Consulting, a division of SymphonyIRI Group, analyzes key trends across five macro food and beverage health claims categories to define areas with the highest growth and greatest potential for future expansion.
The report grouped 30 common health claims into five macro health claims classifications: Better for You, Dietary Restriction, Condition-Specific, Natural and Energy. Claim trends were then examined across five macro food and beverage categories: Macro Snacks, Breakfast Foods, Refrigerated and Frozen Cooking Ingredients, Ready-to-Eat Meals and Liquid Refreshment Beverages.
"Better for You" and "Dietary Restriction" lead among the five macro health claims, accounting for 36 percent and 33 percent of total health claim sales, respectively. However, Energy grew the most rapidly during the past year, at 8 percent. The dollar growth rate within Food and Beverage, by comparison, is approximately 4.6 percent.
The report found age to be influential in the demand for products with certain health claims. Older baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1955) contributed 24 percent to total claim sales growth, but accounted for just 20 percent of dollar sales.
Generation X and Y shoppers also represent a high-value opportunity, contributing 23 percent and 27 percent to claims sales growth respectively, while accounting for 20 percent and 25 percent of dollar sales, respectively.
Baby boomers were more interested in condition-specific health claims, such as Heart and Omega ALA, the report says, while Gen X and Y use food for functional purposes, such as energy and exercise enhancement.
The Brand New You
A variety of factors are driving consumers to consider a healthful diet as part of an integrated approach toward proactive health management. Health care reforms and regulation–like New York City's recent ban on trans fats in restaurant cooking–are designed to raise awareness of the connection between health and diet.
This macro category includes salty snacks, yogurt and snack bars and has grown 6.5 percent over the past 52 weeks. "Better for You" and "Dietary Restrictions" are the leading claims driving sales, with 37 percent and 35 percent of snack claim sales, respectively.
SymphonyIRI's 2012 Annual Consumer Snacking Survey revealed 43 percent of respondents are snacking three to four times a day, and 87 percent are trying to eat more healthfully. This convergence would seem to indicate opportunity for healthy new snacks.
Refrigerated & Frozen Cooking Ingredients
This macro category includes butter, frozen potatoes/onions and fresh eggs and is growing 5.7 percent a year, faster than the food and beverage industry overall. Leading health claims are "Better for You" (36 percent of claims sales) and "Dietary Restriction" (31 percent of claims sales). There is opportunity for growth in this category in the "Better for You" and "Condition-Specific" claims segments.
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