Immunity, science-based improvements and the importance of mental health are set to be key drivers of product development in the year to come
Innova Market Insights has released its top trends in dairy for 2021. The company suggests product development will be driven by the natural and nutritious image of dairy products, despite the challenge posed by rising interest in plant-based diets and environmental concerns.
One trend identified in the report is “In Tune with Immune”. Ongoing anxiety stemming from the pandemic is pushing consumers to prioritise immune health. Innova’s 2020 Consumer Survey indicated 54% of global consumers claimed to have spent time educating themselves on ingredients that could boost their immune health.
Dairy products such as yogurt and fermented drinks have long been associated with immune health, largely as a result of the development and mainstreaming of probiotics. More recently, Innova says, interest in the immune benefits of antioxidants has increased also.
Another dairy trend in the report is “Nutrition Hacking,” referring to the fact four-out-of-five global consumers said they believe science can spur progress in food and beverages.
Traditionally, popular claims included increased protein or fibre, or reduced sugar or fat. However, Innova points out, claims are evolving toward more complete balanced solutions. Products such as dairy drinks offering “advanced” or “complete” nutrition are becoming more commonplace.
Another trend Innova discusses is the importance of mental health. Dairy NPD around mood is reportedly seeing rapid growth, with rising use of on-pack claims relating to specific mood platforms.
Calming/relaxing and energy boosting are the most established platforms, while sleep promotion is still niche, but growing from a smaller base and showing potential for further innovation. The use of adaptogenic herbal extracts for combating the mental and physical effects of stress is also increasing.
“There is clearly ongoing potential for the dairy market,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “It remains one of the world’s most valuable food sectors, with a healthy, nutritious and versatile image and the potential for ongoing added value. However, the recent struggle with Covid-19 and a generally tougher consumer environment may prove challenging.”