Innova Market Insights highlights “massive opportunity” for simple and affordable nutrition
13 Feb 2023 --- As global inflation continues to grow, health-conscious consumers are increasingly feeling the bite. In an upcoming webinar, Innova Market Insights’ global insight director, Lu Ann Williams and Kamel Chida, advisor to VC Nucleus Capital and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will discuss how the industry can meet this challenge.
NutritionInsight speaks with Williams about the trends taking place in the affordable nutrition space in advance of the webinar and industry strategies to help budget-conscious consumers eat healthily.
“Affordable nutrition is a very big topic,” states Williams. “Thinking in terms of the consumer, there are many buyers in Europe and North America that find themselves struggling with inflation.”
“Across the 11 countries we studied, 70% of consumers, across all regions, tell us they are looking for simple and affordable nutrition solutions,” she continues. “That’s a massive opportunity for the food industry.”
The need for affordable nutrition
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently announced that the cost-of-living crisis would be the most pressing global issue over the next two years. Moreover, a US-based study revealed that the crisis was having a significant impact on one of its most vulnerable populations, with three-quarters of people over the age of 50 now experiencing food and nutrition insecurity.
A separate US study revealed that dollar stores – stores which sell items for US$1 – have become the country’s “fastest growing food retailers.” Additionally, the study points out that households purchasing more at dollar stores often have a lower income and that the food items sold in dollar stores are usually high in calories, fat, salt and sugar and low in nutrients.
“Two weeks ago I read that 10% of people in Amsterdam say they aren’t able to afford food,” Williams explains. “We have also worked on projects in low to middle income countries where affording nutritious foods is a much bigger challenge.”
Williams points to shifting priorities in light of the current crisis. “We know taste is king, but health and affordability top the list when you ask consumers what food companies should prioritize when making new products. For some income groups, [the demand for] natural [foods and ingredients] drops to fourth place.”
Meeting consumer needs
The WEF also acknowledges that the cost-of-living crisis, as well as the energy crisis, will improve in time, yet it highlights the opportunity to fortify food systems. Williams also underscores the chance for industry innovation in affordable innovation.
“This is a topic that has come up over and over in the past year, especially in regards to inflation and supply chain challenges,” states Williams. “When you are faced with finding the simple solution in the short term, it’s hard not to think around shrinkflation.”
“It’s the obvious quick fix. But moving forward, applying innovation to improve the nutrition profile of more foods should be the focus.”
How consumers are responding
According to Innova Market Insights’ 2023 Trends Survey, one in two consumers worldwide are spending more on food and beverages since the onset of the pandemic, while, at the same time, 70% say they are actively trying to save money. Additionally, Innova highlights food security fears and how many brands are aligning themselves with nutrition and food security-related causes.
“I have seen retailers offer lower prices on certain staple items, food manufacturers offering consumer recipes and solutions to better use what’s already in their fridge, help with cooking at home – there are many solutions on offer,” says Williams.
“There are many opportunities on the macros to start with,” she concludes. “Low-calorie soft drinks with low sugar is a great example. Consumers have shown us they are willing to accept less sweetness and there are ways to boost flavor.”
The webinar will take place on 22 February at 4 PM CET.
By William Bradford Nichols
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