Page 22 - Food & Drink Magazine Jan-Feb 21
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                TRENDS FORECAST 2021
  products is its focus. “We’re also interested in the uptake of scratch cooking over convenient, ready-to-go meals, the latter of which are notorious for unnatural ingredients and artificial inclusions,” Tripp says.
“It’s no longer enough to claim an ‘all-natural’ stance, customers want validation that their products are truly as good as they say they are on the front-of-pack.”
Achariya echoes this, saying new and existing products that focus on health, wellness and wellbeing will flourish. Companies will need to call out the ingredients and their efficacy will become more important in terms of claims and active ingredients, but taste will still be king, she says.
Immunity products will continue to get a boost due to COVID-19 and gut health products will also keep growing. “The rise and rise of plant-based foods will continue and become permanent items in food service and retail in the ambient, chilled and frozen aisles. There will be complementary options for meat-based proteins in almost every food and beverage category and of course non-food categories
as well. The term ‘plant-based’ or ‘plant forward’ will be the talk of 2021,” Achariya says.
For Chobani, 2021 will build on its leap into the alternative dairy category last year. CEO Lyn Radford said after launching Chobani Oat Barista Edition in foodservice channels, the company is excited to expand into other channels.
“Our mission has always been to bring better food to all people, so this year we can’t wait to expand into the retail market so customers can grab Chobani Oat straight from the supermarket shelves,” Radford says.
Naturally sugar-free beverage company Nexba Co-founder and co-CEO Drew Bilbe says consumer demand for products that are 100 per cent natural, free from anything artificial, made locally and produced ethically will continue to grow. “This was the foundational belief that Nexba was built on 10 years ago, so we’re stoked to see this philosophy becoming more mainstream,” he says.
Bilbe says the other big trend is functional ingredients. “As manufacturers that means we have to walk the walk and make
sure we are delivering on efficacy to the highest level possible by never sitting still and constantly innovating so the production processes don’t destroy any of the nutritional or microbial benefits of the products.”
Chr. Hansen marketing manager Lisa Flower agreed that 2021 will see a continued boom in probiotics interest, especially those with high quality clinical evidence and where a health claim can be substantiated through FSANZ.
Flower said research carried out by the company in 2020
and sophisticated counterfeits, trust is everything.
“There is more awareness of exaggerated health claims and the desire for research-based educational content presented in a timely, contextual manner – and ideally through a smartphone. Manufacturers themselves are looking for deeper market knowledge and enhanced customer communication. All these needs can be met with an advanced cloud-based traceability and authentication platform,” Biggs says.
Chobani entered the alt milk space in 2020. This year it is taking it to the people as the popularity of plant-based milks continues.
RIGHT: Coca-Cola Amatil sees the need for flexible lines to support different pack sizes continuing.
 “There is more awareness of exaggerated health claims and the desire for research- based educational content presented in a timely, contextual manner – and ideally through a smartphone.”
showed heightened consumer awareness and interest. Benefits being clearly stated on the pack, along with simple imagery and trademarks were all valued by consumers, she says. Clinical documentation and technical support will also become increasingly popular.
Foodmach director Phil Biggs says this growing consumer expectation for brand accountability will see the role of traceability expand in 2021. While it is critical for supply chain management and product safety recalls, its potential is far greater, he says.
“Consumers are demanding more information about products. In a world of resource constraints, ethics concerns
Achariya says 2020 saw many manufacturers learn several lessons, one being the pressure to keep supply chains full of raw inputs (food ingredients, packaging) so they can adjust quickly to meet rapidly changing consumer habits.
“Being able to get products through the distribution chain to meet fulfilment and retailer demands will continue to challenge us. Manufacturers that can plan, anticipate the highs and lows plus have contingency plans will be at an advantage.
“The last mile will continue to challenge both manufacturers and retailers given ongoing changes in consumer expectations and increased erratic shopping behaviour.” ✷
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