The demand for gluten-free, lactose-free and other “free from“ foods is rising – and an end is not in sight. On the occasion of the “Free From Functional Food Expo“ in Barcelona, we take a look at the 4 major market trends.
Sales of special foods for allergy sufferers continue to grow. This is clearly reflected in the products that enter the market: 11 percent of new products in Germany are gluten-free, 7 percent are lactose-free. In addition, there is increased demand for foods that are suitable for people with more than one allergy, who have to follow a gluten-free and soy-free diet, for example. In future, more allergens might become relevant due to novel foods. For example, foods made with insects may cause allergic reactions in persons allergic to crustaceans.
People are more conscious about their health and dietary needs and thus prefer unprocessed foods from natural ingredients, without added sugar, artificial flavors, colorings or preservatives. Quality is becoming a key criterion and sales of regional, organic and fairtrade foods are rising. More and more consumers want to know what they eat and where it comes from – transparency and sustainability are becoming increasingly important.
So-called functional foods with health-promoting properties are playing an increasingly important role as part of a healthy diet. This includes probiotic yogurts or vitamin-enriched juices. Further growth markets include superfoods as well as sports nutrition, labelled “high protein” or “low carb”. Another buzzword that will gain in importance is “personalized nutrition” that is customized to promote health and performance of the individual consumer.
Vegetarian and vegan
Vegetarian and vegan food is currently the most important trend in the food market. Germany is one of the biggest sales markets for meat alternatives with 7 percent of new products being vegetarian. Vegan fast food options such as pizza or burger are particularly in demand. The boom is mainly driven by so-called “flexitarians“ who don’t follow a vegetarian diet, but want to reduce meat consumption and are open to plant-based alternatives.