Page 17 - Food & Drink Magazine Jan-Feb 21
P. 17

Ongoing anxiety stemming from COVID-19 is encouraging consumers to prioritise their health. Innova says 60 per cent of consumers were increasingly looking for food and beverage options that would support their immune health. As well as immunity-boosting ingredients playing a significant role, research and interest in the microbiome and personalised nutrition as ways to strengthen immunity will accelerate.
 Williams says this trend crosses categories and is intertwined with 4 other trends. “With plant-based, we’re seeing increased interest in
botanical ingredients in the wake of COVID-19 – they’re functional, they give flavour, taste and colour as well as health benefits.”
More than 50 per cent of consumers said that due to COVID-19 they have spent time educating themselves on ingredients and procedures that can boost their immune system.
“They’re doing things like getting more sleep, being more active, but also choosing foods that are naturally high in nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – which ties back into the trend of inherent nutrition,” Williams says.
BELOW: Meluka Australia says its Original Raw Honey Probiotic Concentrate, made with a bio-fermentation process, can help improve digestion, boost immunity and support weight management.
As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. The use of meal kits/starters and more sophisticated ingredients is also growing.
For Williams, this is one area the direct impact COVID-19 had on developing trends can be seen. Innova found 46 per cent of global consumers agreed that restaurant branded products are a convenient way to achieve the restaurant experience/flavours at home.
“This ties into cross-channel convenience, accessible indulgence and richer experiences. One in three consumers said they ordered more online from restaurants for home delivery in the last year,” she said.
It also flows across into more familiar products, where consumers are looking for the familiar – e.g., potato chips – but with new flavours as well as opening up a lot of areas, like meal and seasoning kits.
“This trend is not going away, consumers are going to want more
and more access to the food they want anytime and anywhere,”
Williams says. 6
ABOVE: Hospitality company Merivale now offers “almost ready” restaurant meals home delivered from some of its restaurants, including Mr Wong, Totti’s, Fred’s, and Bert’s.
Technology to drive functional food understanding, nutrition advice and the environmentally conscious nature of products is becoming more
popular. Consumers are using technology more often to search for balanced formulations and improved nutrition-based products, as well
as those with sustainability or ethical impact claims.
Innova found four in five consumers said: “I believe in progress
in food and beverage through science”.
The challenge here, says Williams, is how to position between
natural and tech driven. How do you leverage the best of both worlds when answering the consumer dilemma of, ‘I’m
prepared to compromise on naturalness for a product that fits my dietary needs’.
“It’s interesting to see what types of ingredients will be used, including increased interest in adaptogens,” she says.
LEFT: Mt Elephant snack bars show how trends intertwine, promoting plant-based superfoods and nutritional hacking. Made from hemp, the bars make claims about specific health benefits. | January/February 2021 | Food&Drink business | 17

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