Food&drink Towers has published its annual 'Ten Top Trends' – the eighth edition of which highlights a wealth of new product development and marketing opportunities for brands to get stuck into over the next 12 months.
The report was written by food journalist and brand consultant Helen Lewis, who founded food&drink towers in October 2006 and is now director of parent company Literally PR Limited.
"The Ten Top Trends for 2014 report is an invaluable resource to food and drink companies that is now expected every year by small producers considering their first product launch, as well as multinationals around the world," she said.
The Real Deal – Despite economic difficulties being cited by 38% of respondents as very important and 40.5% as important in 2014, there still seems incredible interest in 'Real Deal' products such as craft beers, premium and indulgent goodies, artisan spices and herbs, which often come at a premium compared to economy ranges. Authenticity, localness and provenance were cited as the top trend of a list of 19 put to Food&drink Towers' 148 survey respondents. 59% believe it to be 'very important' for the F&B industry in 2014, and a further 19% agree they are 'important'. Nobody thought they were below importance, and just 1.4% said they were of 'average importance'.
Greg Parsons, MD at Cricketer Farm, thinks small producers will be the real winners in 2014: "Quick and nimble small producers have a distinct advantage over big multiples and F&B brands. Whether it's investing in seasonal small-run pack design or tweaking recipes fast, based on customer feedback, this is how small and regional producers can get one up on their larger counterparts."
Heritage, transparency, honesty, brand trust and provenance are imperative to the 'Real Deal' trend.
Healthy eating for children – Children's nutrition is one of the biggest, most important areas for 2014 NPD according to the survey. The children's chilled ready meal market, for example, is growing fast, with players such as Mrs Tinks and Little Dish capturing the attention of busy parents, but this category has been in growth for a few years now. What's the next big thing?
"With the huge success of Rick Stein's India and The Incredible Spicemen on the BBC, we anticipate an upsurge of interest in introducing spice to children from an early age, and we're also seeing it from kids themselves," said Arun Kapil, founder of Green Saffron.