Health and Convenience will drive global food product growth, a study finds.

Food and beverage products that support healthy diets, weight loss, and busy lifestyles are among the world's fastest growing, according to a new global study from ACNielsen. ACNielsen's latest executive news report, “What's Hot Around the Globe - Insights on Growth in Food and Beverages 2004,” shows that, of the seven categories that experienced double-digit revenue growth in the last year, five offered perceived health or weight-loss benefits. The top two growth categories were soy-based drinks (+31 percent) and drinkable Yogurts (+19 percent), both of which were among the fastest growing in a similar 2002 study.

"Our study shows that consumers the world over are concerned about diet and health, particularly with all of the media attention on issues such as obesity and diabetes," Jane Perrin, ACNielsen managing director and author of the report, said. "It shows that food and beverage companies that develop healthy products which also meet consumer demand for good taste and convenience will find a receptive market for these products."

A closer examination of the fastest-growing food and beverage categories reveals that consumer interest in high-protein/low-carbohydrate ("low-carbohydrate") diets, particularly in more developed markets, was a major factor in category growth. The popularity of these diet plans, and resulting food and beverage purchases, was identified in numerous regions as a key growth driver for certain categories, while negatively impacting others. Eggs, for instance, grew 16 percent globally, while none of the 10 "non-sweet carbohydrates" categories grew by more than four percent.

"What is still in question is whether the low-carbohydrate phenomenon will take root as an important sub-sector of a number of food and beverage categories, or be just a passing fad," Perrin said. For example, in the U.S., where the phenomenon began, there is evidence that interest in products with low-carbohydrate claims is losing steam, Perrin pointed out.

"Product innovation can drive excitement and trial in categories, but only those enhancements that meet more sustainable consumer needs, particularly health and convenience, will enjoy long-term success," Perrin explained.

"Global marketers of food and beverage products need to ensure that they are positioned to capture the many growth opportunities that exist in these developing markets, or risk being left behind," Perrin added.

Web posted: January 30, 2005 -  Meat News