We asked industry thought leaders to share their predictions for 2017. Here's what Jim Tonkin, principal at Healthy Brand Builders, had to say.
In traditional grocery, including natural and specialty, I see more competition in pricing and pack size changes.
Some inflation may creep into the marketplace, which could grow consumer skepticism around price elasticity.
Product categories growing:
Pre/probiotics, although with a cautionary tale. I am NOT a believer in a standard probiotic load per consumer. That’s because the body has a specific microbiome that must be maintained, and arbitrarily changing it because one thinks their lower intestine is ‘out of balance’ or someone suggests so (except medical practitioner) says RED LIGHT to me.
Muesli/granola and other organic and/or natural cereal: This in the face of major declining value propositions of cereal manufacturers in the U.S.
Healthy bars to bites. It’s time to move away from the traditional nutrition bar, to more on-the-go, resealable bite-size bits and bags holding them. This is great on a price/ounce basis and allows another new marketing opportunity to show off ingredient-healthy product.
Teas (ready-to-drink and other like powders). The market continues to grow around coffee, and new indigenous teas coming from around the world are on top of mind and fun to drink all the while being very health-packed.
Drinkable cold soups. This is a new expanding vertical that will spring up quickly. Amazing soups, organic and not, bringing much-wanted new interest in a slow, otherwise non-innovative category.
Non-animal proteins are new forms of proteins without animal fats and sourcing. Proteins like pea, chia, hemp, rice, nuts of all kind and more are coming at warp speed. These are very cool innovations with amazing taste profiles. They’re great in meal replacements, smoothies and just slam-down goodness in beverages and food.
Stick pak delivery is a new type of healthy market entry against the current, not healthy, sugar-laden stick paks and sachets. This new packaging form will go wild.
Cold-brew coffees and botanicals. Cold-brew coffee has made it to the mainstream, with lots of iterations for sure.
Adaptogens like rhodiola and turmeric are on the scene in everything.
Natural energy. New and competitive beverages are coming to market to compete with Red Bull and Monster-type products.
Relaxation/stress relief. This may be the year for these food/bev/capsule/powder ingredients, nonpharma, to flourish. We need to slow down and chill!