Emerging markets to grow in importance in 2013

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LONDON — Growth in emerging markets and a mixed global economic outlook tops the trends that will impact the global food industry in 2013, according to Leatherhead Food Research.

The research firm said emerging markets will continue to gain more interest as the growth in population, life expectancy, urbanization, economic output and consumer spending will outpace that of developed economies. In the United States, economic output is expected to rise at 2% per quarter during 2013 with a reduction in household debt and rising consumer confidence. However, a rise in food prices will still cause U.S. consumers to be concerned about the cost of food, and it will be essential for manufacturers to market good value.

Other trends to drive the food and beverage market in 2013 include sustainability, including issues such as energy use, raw material sourcing, the environment, human and animal welfare, waste and water usage.

Health and wellness will continue to remain front and center in 2013 with an emphasis on natural products that are additive and preservative free. As a result, manufacturers will continue to develop natural and clean labels whenever they are able. Functional and “free-from” foods will continue to grow, and continued innovation in salt, fat and sugar reduction will continue.

The aging population will be an area of focus as manufacturers look for ways to meet the needs of consumers. Foods that address specific health concerns as well as packaging and segmented communication will be important. Manufacturers need to market to the different age segments of those over 55 to meet more specific needs.

Ethical claims will remain important as sales of Fair Trade have been increasing as well as claims that demonstrate welfare standards, provenance and bio-diversity. Overall, even when money is tight consumers are not compromising on ethical issues, the research firm noted.

Additionally, consumer perception of ingredients will shape the market as the presence of certain ingredients may increase the value proposition of a product to consumers or likewise damage the value proposition if a consumer has a negative impression of the ingredient. Understanding these perceptions will be key.
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