Key issues in 2014 may include product claims, supply chains, weight loss plans and plant-based sweeteners.
In 2013, scandals such as the selling of horse meat as beef affected consumer trust. “We now see a more skeptical and wary consumer emerging,” said the report “Global Industry Outlook” released this month by Leatherhead Food Research. “Companies will have to battle hard to restore trust in 2014.”
Making food product claims that deliver on their promises is one way to restore trust. “Consumers are getting wise to ubiquitous claims like ‘natural’ which promise a lot without clearly saying what the product is actually delivering,” the report said. “It seems regulatory and marketing teams might need to get a whole lot closer in 2014 and onwards.”
Companies may need to focus more on their supply chains in 2014, too. “With fears around the supply of key commodities like cocoa, not only is the reality beginning to sink in that there might not be an endless supply of commodities, but the growth of food companies in the southern hemisphere means there are a greater number of companies demanding scarcer commodities,” the report said.
Companies should be aware consumers are interested in more balanced approaches to weight loss and weight management as opposed to specific diets. “With consumers’ personal memories of failed weight loss attempts, and with the media delving into the science behind weight loss, diet is becoming a dirty word,” the report said.
Plant-derived sweeteners such as stevia may be marketed on a more natural platform and should provide the main impetus for sweetener market growth. Growth opportunities in the artificial sweetener market, particularly for sucralose and acesulfame potassium, still exist, according to Leatherhead.