Meeting the Demand for Organic Food Products Requires Innovative Strides by F&B Firms

demand for organic food
Active consumer lifestyles have driven the recent demand for organic food and snacks. How can F&B companies meet the desire for healthy, on-the-go products?
Image source: Flickr CC user Health Gauge

We’ve previously discussed how Millennials have transformed the CPG food and beverage (F&B) markets. From an intense focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness to an interest in a wider range of flavors, this consumer demographic has more than proven the power of their buying dollars. Now, we’re seeing their preferences affect a specific corner of the food market: snack products.

Because Millennials tend to live active, on-the-go lifestyles, they don’t necessarily have time to sit down for a big meal. Instead, they often graze by eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day. The proliferation of conveniently packaged foods on grocery stores reflects this trend. Despite their influence, however, we cannot concentrate solely on Millennials. The Baby Boomer generation remains a significant consumer base, and their overall desire for healthy-for-you products has also reached the snack food category. When combined with the Millennial preference toward foods with natural ingredients, is it any surprise that we’re witnessing a growing demand for organic food and snack products?

The Demand for Organic Food Products Presents a Major Opportunity for F&B Firms

While natural and organic snack foods make up less than 10% of the snack food market, they are growing six times faster than the entire category overall.1 In addition to the convenience they offer, natural snacks represent an easy entry for consumers into the organic food category. After all, they’re manufactured in smaller portions for people who are busy and constantly on-the-go—making them ideal for consumers who like trying out a variety of food options without having to make a big commitment in the process.

The experimental preferences of today’s buyers allow food and beverage firms to play with multicultural flavors in ways previously unheard of. For instance, let’s take a closer look at an increasingly popular ingredient in snack foods: seaweed. The number of food and beverage products featuring seaweed as a key component rose by 76% between 2011 and 2015. Hailed as the next superfood, seaweed contains a number of vitamins in addition to being a source of plant-based protein. Of the consumers who’ve said they would like more healthy snack options, almost 50% said they would like to try seaweed as a protein source.2 Now imagine combining this healthy food ingredient with the multicultural flavors that are so popular today. Seaweed snacks could come in flavors such as Korean BBQ, ginger spice, and sriracha. What about varieties that veer toward sweeter territory? Cinnamon or pumpkin flavors may sound unusual when combined with seaweed, but they put an interesting spin on what is otherwise a healthy snack. If there’s one thing the current market has shown us, organic and all-natural doesn’t have to mean tasteless or boring!

The potential snack products don’t end there either. Despite the interest in new and unique food sources such as seaweed, potato chips remain the most popular item in the snack category.3 But while potato chips are historically associated with unhealthy lifestyles, that doesn’t mean today’s products need to support that image. Veggie chips have become more common on shelves. Chips made from heirloom potatoes may not necessarily be healthier than more mainstream brands, but they certainly sound like they would be, don’t they? At the very least, they appeal to consumers who want all-natural, sustainable ingredients.

Healthy snack products might not be new, but today’s demand for organic food options has led to an explosion in the category. Not just with novelties like veggie chips or seaweed crisps, but with items such as nutritional health bars. For many consumers, protein bars have become meal replacements instead of mere snacks. Considering the market’s growth rate, food companies will have ample opportunity in the coming years to take advantage of this trend. The key will be having the resources and capabilities to respond quickly and efficiently to changing consumer preferences.

BIOVIA Experiment is a top-tier laboratory informatics system specifically tailored for R&D organizations. It allows researchers to manage, analyze and mine information from their experiments and data. By doing so, it streamlines the R&D process and maintains the pace of innovation required by today’s competitive F&B market. To take advantage of market opportunities such as that presented by the demand for organic snacks, organizations need to be able to leverage scientific data effectively in order to make savvy business decisions. If your F&B firm is interested in a tool that will help your R&D workflow, experimental design and ability to extract crucial insights, then please contact us today to learn more about BIOVIA Experiment.

  1. “Hain winning with millennials,” February 23, 2016, http://bit.ly/1QY2Ahj
  2. “Seaweed ‘the next seaweed,’ says Mintel,” March 22, 2016, http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/New-Product-Launches/2016/03/Seaweed_the_next_superfood_say.aspx?ID=%7B4B356EF4-D352-4E2A-B12E-853D3FECB2AB%7D
  3. “Millennials’ tastes drive growth, innovation in snacks and candies,” May 19, 2015, http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-sweets-snacks-expo-0520-biz-20150519-story.html

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