10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2015

This is the trend analysis which companies around the world - from corporate giants to 2-person start-ups - use to guide their health and wellness strategy.

This is the only trend analysis which focuses on the long-term trends that create worthwhile growth opportunities.

The most successful brands and ingredient companies in the world use our Key Trends report every year to make sure they get it right – shouldn’t you be one of them?

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Recent Case Studies Chocolate giant shows it “gets” snacking Hershey, America’s biggest chocolate confectionery maker and one of the biggest in the world, in January 2015 announced the acquisition of Krave, possibly the fastest-growing meat snack brand in the western world. read more Flagship brands of breakfast cereals, hit by “perfect storm” of trend changes, start to sink The dramatic decline of Special K breakfast cereal underscores how the big breakfast cereal brands suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the big trends. read more What does success look like? Imagine that you want to set up a business that will become a powerhouse in nutrition for skin health. What do you need to do? One strategy would be to create a partnership between a company that excels in branding and marketing in skincare – such as L’Oreal. read more Arla’s protein satiety drink fails to take wing If you think that protein drinks are currently “going mainstream” in Europe, think again. It might happen – but the signs are that their emergence from the committed frequent exerciser lifestyle group is still some way off. read more Coca-Cola’s bold bid in low-sugar dairy Coca-Cola, which has long had ambitions to have a presence in dairy – just like its long-time rival PepsiCo – has taken its first big step, focusing on the fast-growing US market for high-protein drinks. But one of the greatest marketing gurus of the 20th century sees problems ahead. read more Sports nutrition spun around by Cyclone Milk The appeal of the amino acid creatine – up to now an ingredient confined to products targeting elite sportspeople, and now backed by an EU health claim for its benefits for short bursts of exercise – is about to be tested with the first “creatine milk”, a convenient RTD beverage that combines creatine and protein and is aimed at everyday exercisers. read more Bold brain health message for beverage Targeting “anyone with a brain”, a convenient beverage based on green tea extracts is using inventive communications, such as an on-pack pledge to donate to Alzheimer’s and dementia research, to establish a link with cognitive health. read more Antioxidant message for pomegranate pioneer’s return to TV advertising For the first time in the three years following its dust-up with US FTC over advertising health benefits for Pom Wonderful, the pioneering juice brand is running TV advertising, billing the drink as “Crazy Healthy”. At the same time it has strengthened its line of iced teas with extra flavours and a name change that leaves no doubt as to its better-for-you credentials. read more Energy drinks still buzzing but slide sets in for shots After a stellar performance over the last couple of decades, energy drinks are slowing to more normal levels of growth – the category remains healthy despite premium pricing and scare stories about caffeine over-dosing. In shots, though, it’s a different story, with sales sliding and some saying they’ll decline even further. Have shots lost their way? read more Hummus keeps growing as market nears $1 billion Sales of hummus have continued to expand at a strong double-digit-percentage rate as the protein- and fibre-packed, highly versatile chickpea-based spread solidifies a boom that has seen US sales roughly double in five years. And now the leading hummus brands are borrowing a page from the success of Greek-style yogurt by diversifying formulas, flavours and packaging in an effort to extend their success. read more Guilt-free, gluten-free indulgent protein brand edges into breakfast Gluten-free, low-sugar bar ThinkThin hit the right note at launch with its softer “weight wellness” message, avoiding the sort of heavy dieting platform that increasingly looks like a thing of the past. Now, using a humorous ad campaign and several new products including one aimed at breakfast, it’s hoping to increase consumer awareness in a clogged category. read more
Has a tech-inspired consumer shift pushed Weight Watchers into a spiral of doom?

Has a tech-inspired consumer shift pushed Weight Watchers into a spiral of doom?

A year ago, every warning light was flashing red for weight management giant Weight Watchers, whose sales fell by 6.3% in 2013. In response, the company’s CEO announced that, “We are confident that we are on the right track to execute a successful transformation.”

But one year later, Weight Watchers’ decline is accelerating and the signs are that, thanks to a massive shift in consumer behaviour, things can only get worse.

Born in 1964, Weight Watchers meetings and motivational groups were the first of their kind. Its weight management programme is clinically proven – and actually recommended by health authorities in the US, UK and elsewhere. But what Weight Watchers offers is losing consumer relevance.

There was no good news in the company’s results, announced last week:

  • In the year to January 3rd 2015 sales were down 14%.
  • Fees earned for weight management meetings – the face-to-face support groups which the company invented in the 1960s and which account for 50% of total company revenue – fell by 12.2%. This followed an 8.9% decline the previous year.
  • Even the company’s website – hailed as a way of developing the business in a market in which online is taking over from face-to-face interactions – saw its users decline by 16.7%, following a 6.7% decline the previous year.

Technology has been one of the strongest challenges to the Weight Watchers business model. The proliferation of free apps and online programmes has undermined the value to consumers of paid-for weight management programmes offered by Kellogg Special K, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig, all of which have seen sales plunge.

And that’s not the only problem. Food manufacturers in the US and Europe market products under the Weight Watchers brand (paying Weight Watchers a license fee). But if something says “Weight Watchers”, it is no longer a “normal food” in the eyes of today’s consumers. And hence it’s unsurprising that sales of Weight Watchers branded foods are also falling. In the UK, for example, sales were down 12% in 2014, following a 12% fall in 2013.

The whole weight management market has undergone a massive shift:

  • Weight Watchers has to compete against free alternatives online
  • thanks to modern work patterns and demands, fewer people are able to make the time commitment to turn up at a meeting each week
  • weight management has switched from being something specific and separate to an everyday concern with “weight wellness” top-of-mind in people’s everyday eating choices
  • “specially designed” weight management foods are falling out of favour.

Short of a massive shift in its strategy, it’s difficult to see how anything can save Weight Watchers from further declines.

Read more on the blog

Julian Mellentin

Industry Events
In-depth analysis of trends and excellent insights. The case studies provide solid market data and I refer to them often and in particular when starting new initiatives. Mary Parsons VP Global Platform Development, The Hershey Company

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