Packaged Facts estimates that U.S. retail sales of gourmet, specialty and premium foods and beverages through
all retail channels rose to $59 billion in 2007, an increase of
10. 9 percent over the previous year’s sales. In the next five
years, this number is expected to top $96 billion.
2007 has seen a particularly large jump in premium
product launches. Over 15 percent of all new food and beverage introductions in 2007 involved gourmet products, up
from 10 to 11 percent during each of the four previous
years, according to estimates based on Datamonitor’s
Productscan Online service. The organic new product
development within this trend is growing even faster
though—nearly doubling this year.
“Sales of gourmet, specialty and premium
the Consumer Redefinition of Quality,” found that premium ingredients tend to be more about the narrative or story
behind the ingredient than just the ingredient itself. For
example, “65 percent pure cacao from Brazil”, “cranberries
picked at the height of the season in Massachusetts”, “raw
honey from rare blue honeysuckle bees.” Many premium
ingredient suppliers can offer you intriguing stories to go
along with their products.
foods and beverages through all retail channels rose to
$59 billion in 2007.”
“Organic is tied to premium because it’s seen as having
been produced in a ‘special’ way because of extra care
taken in the growing process, more handcrafted production, smaller scale production, etc,” said Demeritt of The
Since organic is often seen as synonymous with premium, organic processors have a starting advantage in the
gourmet category. Adding more specialty ingredients allows
organic processors to take this to the next level. One way to
do that is to add higher quality ingredients that taste better
or have a better mouthfeel—for example there are now
organic chocolate chunks that stay soft in ice cream or a
frozen coconut milk which maintains more flavor than
canned coconut milk.
With the growing fascination of world flavors, ethnic
ingredients are also a part of this trend. Amy’s, Seeds of
Change, Devya and others have launched specialty Indian
sauces recently and REI even introduced a dehydrated meal
called “Thai Fusion” for the backpacker with a more
refined palate. Old-world ingredients are making a resurgence as well, including heirloom tomatoes and herbs and
heritage grains like kamut, quinoa, amaranth and millet.
One other trendlet within premium we are likely to see
more of as well are name brand ingredients. Sambazon
Açaí, Amazing Grass and Dagoba chocolate are leaders in
this, but more companies like gourmet fruit grower Frog
Hollow Farms are joining this trend as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that for consumers premium is not only about the flavor or the quality. The Hartman
Group’s new study, “Premium Experiences: Understanding
3. ALLERGY AND SPECIAL DIET ALTERNATIVES
“Free-Froms.” Sometimes it’s not what your product has
in it, but rather what it doesn’t have. The International Food
Information Council has reported that an estimated 11 mil-
lion Americans have a true food allergy. In response to this
many companies are formulating
products know as “free-froms.”
According to Mintel, the two
largest areas of new product devel-
opment in this category are
gluten-free and dairy-free. Gluten-
free products alone are expected
to reach over $1.3 billion in sales by 2010. In addition, The
Natural Marketing Institute(NMI) found that 46 percent of
integrated users of organic products (those who use organic
products at least once a day) are looking for dairy-free
products and 42 percent of integrated users of organic
products are looking for gluten-free products.
Going allergen-free can be challenging though. Gluten,
for instance, is found in all forms of wheat as well as rye,
oats and barley—which severely limits options for formulators. However, creative processors have found ways to swap
these out with ingredients made from white and brown rice,
potato, corn, quinoa, almonds, beans, buckwheat and more.
Oats may soon be an
option as well. Although
oats are naturally gluten-free, most are contaminated with wheat in the growing and processing stages.
However, there are now
conventional oats available
that have been grown and
processed in a controlled
environment. Bob’s Red Amy’s new gluten-free, dairy-free
Mill uses these in their gluten-free oats, and has seen an
amazing consumer response. They are currently working
toward developing the product in organic as well.
Whether it is for gluten or any allergen, finding ingredients made in a “dedicated facility” that doesn’t process
foods with allergens that you are seeking to avoid is certainly an important step in ensuring safety.