Healthy News in Uncertain Times

According to Euromonitor International in their paper on Global Economies and Consumers 2017, the main theme for 2017 is uncertainty, with advanced economies at risk from political volatility post- Brexit and post-Trump.  According to this publication many countries are unable to raise productivity because they are weighed down by debt and an ageing population and all major economies, including the Eurozone, have been predicted to see slow growth in 2017.

However it is not all doom and gloom for the food industry.

New Business Opportunities: Emerging and Developing Markets

The good news for the food industry is that there is growth to be found in emerging and developing markets and these include Brazil, Russia and India.  These countries along with some of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East and Africa are experiencing a rapid rise in population, along with increased urbanisation and/or changes in lifestyle and dietary patterns.  These changes are delivering the catalyst for a growing awareness about healthy eating in these markets and provide genuine export opportunities for food companies.

New Business Opportunities: Advanced Economies

Even in advanced economies there are still some opportunities for food business growth and development. Among the key sectors benefiting from an ageing population, for example, are nutrition, wellness and fitness. It has been estimated that in 2017 nearly 1 in 10 adults will be suffering from diabetes.  The food industry is already increasing its efforts to capitalise on the effects of the rising need for diabetes prevention, diabetes treatment and healthy living. A good example of this is the reformulation of products containing high levels of sugar with sugar alternatives, more complex carbohydrates or dietary fibre. Some of these speciality carbohydrates positively influence food product design because of their ability to be able to reduce caloric density, reduce glycaemic response and improve gut health and satiety.

Other health and wellness trends in the food industry for 2017 have been summarised by Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute under a number of key titles including:

  •        Digestive wellness
  •        Plant based
  •        “Sportification” of regular foods
  •        Personalisation
  •        Inflammation
  •        Protein
  •        “Snackification”
  •        Up with fat and down with sugar
  •        Good carbs replacing bad carbs
  •        Fragmentation and “premiumisation”

Trusted Communication Provides a Firm Anchor for Consumers

Whatever nutritional and healthy eating trends are available to the food industry consumers need to be able to trust their sources of information and in these uncertain political times consumers are looking for trusted guidance on many topics including food and health.  According to Kappelhof (Managing Partner of Eat Well Global) there is an increasing demand by customers for authenticity and transparency in all forms of communication including nutrition and a greater effort must be made to ensure that the public do not have to rely on receiving their nutritional information from characters peddling quick fixes or “magic” ingredients with little or no scientific justification.  Food companies who do this effectively through clear communication based on evidence-led science will benefit the most by providing important anchors for their consumers in these uncertain times.