Flavours are becoming increasingly important in both sweet and savoury food lines.
In savouries, marinades and dips are increasingly coming in a wide range of spice levels from mild to fiery hot. Additionally fruit salsas, dressings and sauces are also on the rise with strawberry, mango, citrus, pineapple, coconut, cranberry and banana popular flavours. Flavour explosions are also far more common in breads, influenced by the consumer enthusiasm for artisan bakery goods.
On the sweet front, savoury flavours of tea and coffee are increasingly occurring in cakes, desserts, brownies and ice cream. Choux, meringue and macaroons are welcome distractions from the ubiquitous cupcakes, with a huge variety of colour, size and exotic flavours such as passion fruit & mango, rose & strawberry, pear and ginger & champagne. However, the cupcake is fighting back with fillings, inclusions; surprise centres and melt in the middle centres.
Food to go, 24 hours!
Consumers are spending more time in transit– leading to the term ‘Transumers’ and lead 24 hour lives. This means that food manufactures are creating new and innovative ways to service this market. Packaging is becoming pocketsize, re-sealable and easy to grip. Food products are focusing on flavour, convenience, easy to eat, inexpensive, filling and healthy. In 2012 Dunkin’ Donuts released 30 new items including breakfast burritos and sandwiches. Quick serve restaurants continue to grow due to convenience with customers wanting to eat what they like any time day or night, for example 50% of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants have a drive-thru and 2,000 restaurants are 24 hours.
Behind the food-to-go/convenience trends are health trends. In the US, weight Management is high on the agenda or at least the wish list, with 30% of adults claiming that they are trying to lose weight. This fact has led to 58% of new product launches being positioned to offer weight control and a growth in sales of dietetic foods. International brands have been trying to help consumers such as; McDonalds ‘Favourites Under 400 Calories’ and Mars ‘Cut The Calories’. More and more health claims are found on packaging; high in fibre, fat free, sugar free, no salt, the list is endless! Two other product ranges are also growing in this environment. US consumers spent more than $4bn in 2012 on gluten free foods. It is predicted that the global gluten free market could reach $6.2bn by 2018 with North America accounting for nearly 60%, fuelled not by coeliac sufferers but by consumers choosing gluten free as a lifestyle/healthy choice. This is mirrored by the growth in functional foods, products which focus on health, wellness and function offer increased sales potential as consumers are turning to ingredients to provide emotional and nutritional benefits.