Did you say ‘Health’?
Xavier Terlet, (President of XTC world innovation), 02/2017
It’s a fact. In the nearly 20 years since the World Innovation Panorama started probing and analysing food innovations around the globe, never before have new products boasting health benefits been so highly represented. Today more than one in four products launched worldwide (27.7% to be exact) features a health claim. In North America the proportion even reached a record 40%. That’s huge! But we need to be careful in interpreting the numbers and not get ahead of ourselves. It would be a mistake to conclude, as people too often do, that the statistics prove that health benefits have become consumers’ greatest expectation when shopping. Above and beyond people’s fundamental need for nourishment, when it comes to food, Pleasure is still the key motivator. And this survey proves that Pleasure is maintaining its solid lead, which is something we can be proud of.
Keep in mind that consumers’ never-ending quest for Pleasure mustn’t be clouded by concerns that their food may be harmful. That’s where Health comes into play, as a guarantee underlying the promised Pleasure. The same applies to other claims being made elsewhere: convenience, environmental protection, ethics.
We can learn a lot by scrutinising the latest round of health-related offerings. What we’re seeing are offerings that seek to reassure consumers about the food they eat.
We’re talking about food products made up of fewer but healthier ingredients, and which are free of allergens (gluten, lactose) and unwanted substances known or believed to be either harmful (pesticides, antibiotics, etc.) or ‘nutritionally incorrect’ (bad fats, salt, sugar). They can also be alternatives to foods deemed too rich or which raise questions (plant protein). Not surprisingly, organics are taking the lion’s share of health innovations worldwide.
Above and beyond comforting consumers, the Health offering is also active and functional, delivering fitness and a healthier body, if not actually curing any ailments. But contrary to the marketing approaches adopted for functional foods in the 2000s, the functional nature of these products is laden with naturalness: ingredients known and appreciated by consumers, such as fruits and vegetables, and seeds labelled by agri-food players as ‘super’ and promising a natural source of ‘super functionality’. And the natural character of the functionality in today’s market enables products to maintain their Pleasure properties, unlike the technical nature of the infamous functional foods, which was responsible for their global downfall.
Safety, Functionality and Pleasure: a new Health offering with a positive triple-whammy...
A winning trifecta ?