According to the Hartman Group’s 2013 Reimagining Health & Wellness Report, ingredients added for special health benefits (e.g., added calcium or fiber), and having amounts of nutrients higher than normally present, are the top two attributes that make a food product appear healthy to consumers.
Two-thirds (62%) of consumers are making an effort to regularly use fortified foods; 59% want more nutrients added to foods, per Nielsen’s 2015 Health & Wellness in America Survey. Although a fortified food cannot claim to be natural, there is no evidence that fortification diminishes desirable attributes of minimally processed.
The A.M. daypart still represents an enormous fortification opportunity. In fact, consumers say that getting nutrients in the morning is even more important than avoiding negatives, having real food, or using the best quality ingredients, according to FMI’s 2014 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends. Moreover, 31% of adults eat snacks mid-morning, 18% in the early morning, per IRI’s 2015 State-of-Snacking.
The timing is perfect for the expanded fortification of fresh foods. Multi-sponsor Surveys’ 2014 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge & Consumption confirmed that those who are making a strong effort to consume nutrients, probiotics, fiber, calcium, protein, omega-3s, organic foods and to limit additives—about 30% of adults—are also making a strong effort to eat more fresh foods, suggesting these emerging nutrient-conscious fresh advocates could be very receptive to more widespread fortification of fresh fare.
Lastly, it is no longer just about vitamins and minerals. In 2013, specialty ingredients became second only to vitamins as the nutritionals consumers make a strong effort to consume and feel they don’t eat in adequate amounts; minerals now rank third, per the 2013 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge & Composition.
According to Sloan Trends’ TrendSense model, protein and antioxidants—which are both in the largest mega market phase—show no signs of slowing down in terms of either their marketability or their new medical/scientific research findings. Foods labeled as an excellent source of protein greatly impact purchase interest for 39% of consumers, high in antioxidants 38%, according to Gallup’s 2013 report.
Calcium is a very large Level 3 mass market, but is currently a flat and somewhat softer market than in the past. However, an excellent source of calcium claim greatly influences food purchases, according to Gallup.
Vitamin D remains a fast accelerating and large Level 2 mass market; magnesium continues to gain strength in terms of its marketability and is also at a Level 2 opportunity. Omega-3s have settled in as a strong and stable Level 2 market, but are currently a bit lackluster. A vitamin D added claim greatly impacts shopping decisions for 30% of consumers, contains fish oil/omega-3 for 31%, potassium-rich for 25%.
Although phytochemicals are not typically thought of in food fortification, anthocyanins, which have just reached mass market status, are a big idea. Choline is another important and fast-emerging nutrient for fortification.
Perhaps the most important tool yet to be used in a major way by the industry is the concept of enhanced bioavailability, which has been a strong and growing Level 1 mass market opportunity since 2006.
- 82% feel that fortified foods are a convenient way to get their nutrients; 23% strongly agree (31% of Hispanics). Interest in fortification has remained strong and stable since 2006 (Gallup, 2014).
- Over the past three years, the percentage of Millennials very concerned with the nutritional content of their food jumped 14%, from 23% in 2011 to 37% in 2014 (FMI, 2014).
- 39% of consumers are making a strong effort to get more vitamin D, 38% vitamin C, 37% calcium, 30% fish oil/omega-3s, 28% B vitamins, 22% vitamin A, 21% antioxidants, 20% iron or vitamin E, 18% potassium and 13% magnesium (Gallup, 2013).
- 41% of consumers shopped for fresh food on their last supplement shopping trip (Drug Store News, Jan. 2015).
- Specialty fortified eggs (e.g., omega-3), total > 10% of egg sales (IRI, June 2014).
- Protein drink sales will reach $7.8 billion by 2018 (Euromonitor, 2015).
- Fortified foods/beverages led global growth of healthy foods in 2014, up 10% (Euromonitor, 2014).
- Fortification is very important in food purchase decisions worldwide for 30% of consumers, 50% in Latin America, 43% in the Middle East/Africa, 30% Asia-Pacific, 24% Europe and 23% in North America (Nielsen, 2015).
Foods and beverages continue to be ripe for fortification opportunities. Fortification is an important tool for children’s foods, which are projected to reach sales of $31 billion by 2018, according to Packaged Facts’ 2014 Kids’ Food & Beverage report.
Two-thirds of nutrition bar, 53% of cereal/granola bar and 70% of daily bar users seek foods with nutrients that target specific conditions (Packaged Facts, Nutritional and Cereal Bars in the U.S., 2015).
Four out of 10 beverage executives say that fortified beverages are among the high need/interest beverage attributes for 2015; 42% for performance enhancing drinks (Beverage Industry’s 2015 New Product Development Survey).
Six in 10 consumers buy nutritional meal replacement drinks because they believe they provide nutritional completeness in one serving (Mintel’s 2014 Nutritional and Performance Drinks—U.S.). Nutrients are very/somewhat important to 64% of smoothie users in their purchase decision (Mintel, Smoothies & Shakes, 2013).
Half of consumers eat ready-to-eat cereals because they are fortified with nutrients (Mintel, Cereals, 2013). Vitamin/nutrient-enhancement would persuade 23% of adults to buy one juice over another (Mintel, Fruit Juice & Juice Drinks, 2014).
In addition to pursuing supplements (e.g., bars, powders and meal replacements that are closer to food forms), whole food supplements represent a strong parallel category to fortified foods, with sales growing at more than 14% per year, nearly triple the supplement market’s overall 5.1% (NBJ, Sep. 2015).
From a supplement standpoint, after multivitamins, 40% of users took an omega-3/DHA/EPA supplement, 35% B vitamins or vitamin D, 32% calcium, 28% vitamin C, 15% magnesium or iron, and 14% vitamin E (Gallup, 2014).
Use of vitamin D, magnesium, iron, CoQ10 and biotin were at historically high levels. Magnesium, chromium, selenium, iron and zinc—in descending order—were the mineral “hot spots.” Melatonin, turmeric and multi-herb were the big double-digit winners for specialty supplements.
Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan & Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt
Sloan Trends, Inc.
Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan and Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt are president and chief scientific and regulatory officer, respectively, of Sloan Trends, Inc., Escondido, CA, a 20-year-old consulting firm that offers trend interpretation/predictions; identifies emerging high potential opportunities; and provides strategic counsel on issues and regulatory claims guidance for food/beverage, supplement and pharmaceutical marketers. For more information: E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.sloantrend.com