1.4 Market trends in Europe

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The Dutch company Innova Market Insights has identified key trends to impact the food market through 2012 and beyond. The top trends relate to purity, authenticity and sustainability, as consumers continue to look for products with added value, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty.    These trends are extremely relevant to the meat sector:-

1_4p1.4.1. “Pure” is the New Natural:
Natural products are becoming the rule rather than the exception in most western markets, despite ongoing issues with a clear definition of what “natural” encompasses.  Companies have progressed to marketing  the “purity” of a product, with Innova Market Insights reporting a doubling in the number of products using the word “pure” between 2008 and 2009, with a further third added in 2010 and considerably more in 2011.

1.4.2. Green is a Given:
Corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies have taken on an increasingly important role. The focus is on reducing packaging, or creating higher welfare or fairly traded lines. Highlighting functional and health benefits is also increasingly important.

1_4l1.4.3. Location, Location, Location:
Interest in where their foods are coming from has never been higher among consumers. This is being driven by an interest in supporting local suppliers, a desire for ethnic-style lines, concerns over the quality and safety of imported products, or the demand for authenticity in terms of products from a particular country or region.  This is very pertinent to local meat supply chains.

1.4.4. Premium Stands Out:
Despite financial challenges in consumer spending in many EU countries, a premium positioning provides many benefits. Consumers still have to eat and are likely to look increasingly to the extremes from discount or super-premium products, with the center-ground increasingly squeezed. A premium treat can be justified as an affordable indulgence during difficult economic times, particularly if it can also encompass a better-for-you element.

1_4a1.4.5. Seniors Draw Attention:
Companies are starting to address the needs of an aging population, both in terms of packaging functionality and of general and specific health concerns. New EU regulations on labeling should also help seniors by improving the clarity and visibility of nutritional information.

The other trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

  • Forty is the New Twenty: There is an increasing focus on “successful aging” or “extending the middle years” with an active, productive and rewarding life for as long as possible.  There is greater emphasis on nutrition for the later years in terms of nutrient intake. The keys will be “eating right” and “balanced nutrition.” People approaching middle age are more pro-active in seeking ways to assure a better quality of life and prevent such health issues associated with old age, such as dementia and poor eyesight, through dietary supplements and food intake.
  • Grounded in Science: Increasingly, consumers are looking for scientifically proven claims. A claim accepted by regulatory authorities will benefit ingredients and products, such as those in Europe. “Regulation offers a big opportunity” E.g EFSA Accepted Claim (Oct, 2010): between the correlation of Vitamin C and the maintenance of the normal function of the immune system has resulted in an increase in Bone Health Claims with EFSA Approval. Calcium, approved as an active ingredient now dominates product launches.
  • Boom for Protein: Technology will drive new sources of plant-based proteins as consumers seeking satiety and weight loss drive the trend. Meat free protein alternatives are increasing in popularity.

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Disclaimer

LLP/LdV/TOI/2011/IRL-502 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The author is solely responsible for this publication (communication) and the Commission accepts no responsibility for any use may be made of the information contained therein.