With the year 2024 already underway, we believe it’s important to share with you some of the trends in consumer behavior and our role in nutrition as a healthy food company.
At Alnut, we go beyond just numbers; we always apply creativity and adaptability in this vibrant industry. From the kitchen to the boardroom, our aim is to provide useful and practical information that caters to consumer preferences and market evolution.
How can you implement these trends and many more in your company? It’s time to get in touch with the Alnut team!
In the coming years, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence will become more sophisticated and accessible, becoming key features of food and beverage brands. These technologies will guide users in daily activities like cooking, providing visual instructions and alerts for potential errors. Brands have adapted their products to streamline kitchen time, offering instructions for different appliances and product lines designed for simultaneous cooking.
These experiences will lead consumers to adopt time-saving technologies, such as automated shopping lists and meal planning apps, as essential tools in their daily routine.
Clean Label and Functionality
Parents continue to prioritize products with ‘clean label’ tags, especially those labeled as “completely natural” and “preservative-free”. Reducing sugar intake is becoming increasingly important for parents worldwide, as excess sugar can lead to weight gain and multiple health issues.
Moreover, there is a growing concern for balanced nutrition, with an increasing demand for added vitamins and fiber in healthy baby foods.
Though parents seek these features on product labels, there is a disparity between what they desire and what they actually find in the market, especially regarding the “natural” claim, due to inconsistent regulations across different markets.
Due to this growing interest in the North American baby food market, functional claims, especially those related to the nervous system, are the most predominant in new product launches.
Claims related to the immune system, brain, and nervous system have experienced significant growth, alongside other functional claims. This has led to considering packaging redesigns as an opportunity to highlight these functional benefits.
It’s worth noting that concern for immunity has increased among consumers, although concerns about the pandemic have decreased. This is especially relevant for parents of young children, who seek to ensure their children’s health and well-being, including strong immunity.
In response to this trend, baby food brands are introducing options that emphasize immune support, with vitamin C standing out as a key ingredient associated with this purpose.
Although claims about the immune system experienced a notable increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have since stabilized. As for baby foods, immune properties are more established in cereals and in juices and beverages for babies.
Overall, parents face various challenges when feeding their children, from managing time and budget constraints to meeting nutritional requirements and satisfying their children’s changing preferences.
The ‘plant-based’ food trend for babies is growing, driven by the increasing number of flexitarian consumers, especially among millennial parents.
Approximately 40% of consumers choose plant-based alternatives for health reasons, which is likely to influence their children’s preferences.
Effective segmentation is achieved by targeting specific consumers, such as vegan parents or those with babies with allergies. Ingredients like oats, peas, rice, coconut, and chickpeas offer advantages for children with allergies. There are innovation opportunities in dairy formulas, especially for children over 12 months old, and a growing trend towards plant-based ingredients in baby foods and snacks.
Children’s foods are also for their parents, who seek healthy options to alleviate their concerns.
Currently, product launches emphasize their nutritional credibility by promoting that they have been “developed by pediatricians”. However, the challenging landscape of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver diseases complicates the introduction of new products for children. Increased scrutiny is expected on ultra-processed foods targeted at children as these diseases increase.
The position of children’s products remains challenging, with regulatory pressures and advertising regulations influencing the decline in launches targeted at them. Nevertheless, there is an opportunity to support parents by offering products that meet the needs of the entire family.
An ‘upcycled’ ingredient refers to a component created from by-products, waste, or other underutilized sources that are transformed into a new ingredient with nutritional or functional value.
One such ingredient is Okara, derived from the production of soy milk and tofu, which ranks among the top 10 emerging recycled ingredients. Rich in fiber and enriched with proteins, minerals, and antioxidants like isoflavones, Okara has the potential to improve the nutritional profile of other products while reducing food waste.
Some brands are addressing sustainability by using recycled ingredients from seed oil production, while others are using seed and core ingredients that were previously discarded, such as avocado seeds and apricot seeds.
In conclusion, 2024 promises to be an exciting and dynamic period in the food industry, with trends reflecting the evolution of consumer habits and market demands.
At Alnut, we are committed to staying ahead of these trends, applying creativity and adaptability in every aspect of our business to meet the changing needs of our consumers. From innovative technology to health and sustainability-focused approaches, we strive to offer products that not only nourish but also inspire and enhance our customers’ daily lives.