14 February 2007, 14:57 PM
  • In its latest report, AC Neilsen examines the future of the food industry and looks at what will be hot in the coming years.

The research, ‘What’s Hot Around the World – Insights on Growth in Food & Beverage Product’, examines the fastest-growing categories and product areas across 66 key markets around the world, provides an insight into the future direction of global food development.

“The changing of our world population affects our food and beverage products,” said the report. “As populations age in developed markets, consumers have become more concerned with eating healthier – losing a few pounds, reducing their cholesterol and increasing their fibre. At the same time, newer, emerging markets are showing signs of building infrastructure to modernise their food distribution channels.”

The report reveals that a number of healthy items dominate the list - yogurt, dairy, fish and salads, as consumers continue to focus on health and freshness, the need for convenience and the continuing need for value.

At 18%, yoghurt-based drinks topped the list in terms of value growth, fuelled by single-serving products and health trends toward probiotics. Second on the fastest-growing global categories list, was fish and seafood at 12%.

“In contrast to the 2004 study, which found meat to be a fast grower, fresh fish is now growing faster,” said AC Neilsen. “Consumers looking for protein in their diets are moving to perceived healthier options.”

Alcoholic cider was the only alcoholic beverage on the fast-growing list, driven mainly by increased sales in Europe. In contrast, the mixed alcoholic beverage drinks category went on the decline overall.

As with drinkable yoghurt, dairy-based drinks also made the list of fastest-growing categories. AC Neilsen said that new packaging, brands, and flavours helped boost this category around the world.

The AC Neilsen survey underlines the fact that the world is changing – and that food manufacturers must react to these changes in order to maintain their competitiveness. The overall message is that while these changes present challenges, they also open up new opportunities.