Provenance and sustainable sourcing highlighted by Innova as major trends

The provenance of product ranges, sustainable sourcing and packaging are set to play a significant role in the sweets and snacks category for 2021, according to Innova Market Research.

As Confectionery Production recently covered, the insights group, which will be speaking at this year’s World Confectionery Conference, has highlighted some of its key trends for the year ahead.

Critical to this, discovering where their foods come from, was of interest to 85% of global consumers in the Innova Consumer Survey 2020. As Transparency Triumphs emerged as the Top Trend, brands upping their game to meet evolving ethical, environmental, and clean label consumer demands using creative, meaningful storytelling to communicate this. When it comes to sweets and snacks, ingredient provenance for raw materials such as nuts, cocoa, and sugar is increasingly being highlighted, along with ethical credentials and packaging sustainability.

The “plant-based” trend has continued to evolve. It has featured in Innova Market Insights top trends for several years, with Plant Forward in 2021 seeing the rising appeal of plant-based products in different regions and categories. Consumers demand new formats, new plant proteins, and an extra level of sophistication. In sweets and snacks, taste has always been a key driver and plant-based indulgence is powering NPD, combining natural and free-from benefits in established areas such as chocolate, extruded snacks, nuts and snack mixes, while also featuring novel ingredients as varied as hemp and hibiscus.

Personalised nutrition continues to be in the spotlight as part of Innova’s most prominent industry areas for the year ahead, with Tailored to Fit cited as Innova’s number three trend for 2021.

Research indicates that 64% of global consumers have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual styles, beliefs and needs. Cereal and snack bars in particular continue to develop their role as carriers of all kinds of healthy ingredients, targeting key areas of interest including performance and weight management, as well as specialist diets such as vegan, organic, high protein and keto.

As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. Consumers can now directly access many specialty products previously only accessible via retail points or entertainment establishments. New Omnichannel Eating takes a variety of forms in sweets and snacks. It includes the availability of branded cinema-style snacks in the home, as well as restaurant branded snacks offering a range of flavors and formats, already familiar but not previously available for in-home consumption.

Covid boosts demand for immunity-supporting ingredients

In Tune with Immune was another of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2021, reflecting how immunity and health has become more top–of–mind for consumers, with ongoing anxieties over Covid-19 continuing to be a key focus for the forthcoming year and beyond. According to Innova’s Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019. Immunity boosting ingredients will play a significant role for the coming year, with awareness of the antioxidant content and potential immune health benefits of snacks featuring dark chocolate and so-called superfruits, as well as the use of vitamins and zinc in hard candy and gummies.

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