Ten major trends in food, nutrition and health for 2012 have been noted in the latest edition of New Nutrition Business’s annual trend-spotting report. Grains already benefit from a consumer perception of being “all-natural” and healthy, even when they’re incorporated in highly-processed foods such as breakfast cereals. Many grains also benefit from a perception of a natural and intrinsic health benefits, such as the link between oats and heart health, the report indicates. One example of successful marketing using the “good grains” message has been Belvita, Kraft’s breakfast biscuit brand.

Says Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business and author of 10 Key Trends, “With Belvita, Kraft has achieved annual sales of €63 million in France since the brand was introduced in 2001, and sales of £21 million in the United Kingdom since its launch two years ago. This has predominantly come off the back of a marketing positioning that highlights the whole-grain content of the product and how this equates to ‘slow release’ energy. It’s a strategy that appears to have succeeded, and Kraft is now gearing up to bring Belvita to the U.S. market in 2012.”

Mellentin points out that consumers have also shown themselves to be particularly willing to try out new and innovative grains, which provides companies with a welcome opportunity to innovate. “There’s been a steady increase in the numbers of products launched based on new and more esoteric grains, such as the so-called ‘ancient grains’, like amaranth and quinoa,” he says. “People appear to be open to trying these novel grains, just as they are open to trying new fruits and vegetables. Differentiating with grains isn’t easy, and alternative grains can provide companies and brands with that much sought-after point of difference.”

“Good” grains are also well positioned to move further into the mainstream based on the growing evidence in favor of low glycogenic index (GI) diets. This data specifically includes the recent Diogenes study, a major piece of European research, concluded that high- protein, low- GI diets are the most effective for weight management. “This is good news for those making foods with a high content of whole grain, products such as dark breads, oats and breakfast cereals,” says Mellentin. “Because of the quality and scale of the Diogenes study, it is already having an impact on food marketing. More and more product developers will be looking at how they can ensure that their products have a low-GI value. That will accelerate the existing trend to use good grains in product formulation.”

The 2012 report identifies and analyzes 10 major forces that could define the food and beverage industry this year. The key trends are:

  • Naturality
  • Energy
  • Digestive health
  • Feel the benefit
  • Weight management
  • Movement
  • Senior nutrition
  • Who needs health claims when you have fruit & vegetables?
  • Dairy
  • Good grains

Mellentin says that, “For us, a key trend is one that is very clearly a growth opportunity–a trend that a company can connect to in order to earn additional volumes, additional sales and extra profits. We focus only on those trends that are the underlying key drivers for our industry–not fads or short-term developments with no long-term meaning.”

More information and excerpts of the 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2012 are available by contacting Miranda Mills, Ingredient Communications, at +44 (0) 20 7193 4167, or miranda@ingredientcommunications.com