2022 trends are “dance” between industry and consumers, flags expert roundtable
04 Jan 2022 --- At the start of the new year, industry is abuzz with predictions of what the year will hold for nutrition – with sustainability set to be an especially strong theme. NutritionInsight dives into the origin of trends as industry experts debate the bidirectional relationship between companies and consumers.
Leif Jago, junior marketer in Symrise’s flavor division, and Matevž Ambrožič, marketing and PR director at PharmaLinea, both emphasize the importance of the consumer.
“We have a clear opinion here: No consumer, no trend. Symrise aims to anticipate future trends or to prognosticate which trends will go from niche to mainstream,” says Jago.
He adds that one thing remains certain – it is always a consumer need that industry tries to respond to.
Ambrožič adds that in most – if not all cases – demand comes originally from consumers. “We cannot pretend to be so almighty as to create needs from scratch.
Industry explores new avenues
However, Ambrožič notes that industry likely has a hand in establishing the notion that supplements in general, or particular ingredients, can address these needs.
Vicky Davies, global marketing director, performance and active nutrition, FrieslandCampina Ingredients, also argues that both consumer demand and influence from within the industry itself are responsible for driving trends.
It’s the role of the nutrition industry to explore new avenues and share knowledge, she continues. When consumers receive this information, the trend grows at a much faster rate, creating huge demand for solutions.
Translating data to NPD
Jago also explains that industry can respond to the trends and take part by developing the right products, processes and services, which are tailored to the underlying consumer needs.
“For example, we developed the analytical method ProtiScan, which helps us understand alternative protein sources by linking sensory and consumer-driven data to develop consumer-preferred taste solutions when masking protein off-notes.”
Meanwhile, PharmaLinea uses several tools in the same vein as Google Trends and social media listening to keep in touch with consumers.
“We can detect their needs to create new product launch projects before they seem like a good opportunity through sales data,” explains Ambrožič.
“It is great to be able to combine digital consumer insights with the more traditional data sources such as sales data and new product launch databases, to be able to serve consumers better and faster,” he adds.
For example, “PMS gummies” started exploding as a search term in January 2020, allowing companies to be able to address that need in 2021.
Spotlight on microbiome
Davies points to the gut microbiome as an example of trendsetting in action. “Scientists have been exploring the microbiome for some years, but interest among consumers has only recently exploded.”
Ambrožič also points to probiotics, highlighting how they can address mental well-being through the gut-brain axis.
“The need to support mental health was definitely there, but I doubt consumers would’ve spontaneously demanded probiotics to address it. I believe this is the dance between consumers and the industry. Following consumer needs and educating them actively on ways to address them in order to create demand for supplements,” he explains.
In December, Innova Market Insights’ global insights director, Lu Ann Williams, also emphasized the need to look at how consumers and industry interact when looking at trends individually.
In part two of this conversation on 2022’s top trends, Davies, Jago and Ambrožič unpack the impact of environmental demands and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as exploring rising mood health demands.
By Katherine Durrell
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