Top 5 global consumer trends to watch for in the dairy industry 


Our team at NZMP, Fonterra’s Global Ingredients business, has identified the top five trends for the dairy industry in 2019.

1. Digestive health to the fore

The concept of food as medicine and the focus on the natural goodness of certain food ingredients continues, with digestive health taking much of the spotlight this year. According to market research companies New Nutrition Business and Mintel, the importance of the microbiome (a community of micro-organisms living together in a habitat like our gut) and how it can positively affect our overall health and wellbeing is making foods that support digestive health increasingly sought after.

Beyond this, a more interesting watch out is how digestive health will evolve. We are expecting a move from digestive comfort to how holistic wellness starts from the gut. This covers a range of benefits from weight management, to immunity, to brain health. We’ll see more of a rise in ingredients like probiotics, fibre, plant, A2 dairy and fermented products.

2. Wellness goes beyond the physical

More and more we will see a move towards consumers being mindful of their overall health. Mind, body and soul wellness will become a more common and mainstream concept.

This is a shift from the concept of physical health to that of lifestyle-based health. Be it cutting down on sugar intake, supporting sustainably sourced products, consuming more protein, or adopting a plant-based diet -- the aim will not simply be to stay healthy, but to be able to lead the lifestyle that one desires.

In line with this trend, we expect to see more collaboration between seemingly disconnected or independent categories, such as foods and gadgets and apparel and beverages.

3. Snacking is its own occasion

We are getting past the point of snacking being simply a means of satisfying hunger on the go, through convenient formats. Snacking has now become an established meal occasion in its own right – having a share of around 40% of food and beverage consumption in some markets. And as consumption increases, the demand for quality snacking increases. Consumers will aim to seek more added value out of their snacks and will be less compromising on quality.

According to Innova, healthy snacking options are showing the fastest growth for new product development in the last five years.

Beyond healthy snacking, snacks that will benefit in 2019 are those that offer a new sensory experience (taste, texture) and are more natural.

4. It’s all about ethics

Increasingly consumers will want to contribute to causes that benefit the environment and society. While consumer interest in ethical sourcing and sustainability continues, it will also evolve to extend across the whole supply chain.

We will be seeing an extension to the story of “grass to glass” as it becomes “grass to glass, to bin and beyond”.

On top of purchasing socially and environmentally responsible products, consumers will more actively participate in this cause by being more mindful, not just of what products they consume, but how they consume them.

This results in a more minimalist and less wasteful mindset with greater thought given to how they dispose of products and packaging afterwards. This offers opportunities for manufacturers to push their sustainability and social and environmental responsibility credentials. 

5. Adventurous consumption

A survey by GlobalData indicated that 60% of consumers globally rank trying new experiences more exciting than trying new products. Indeed, the way many people consume food and beverages these days has evolved from simply trying to satisfy hunger or to hydrate.

Eating has increasingly become a showcase of how we live (or aspire to live).

It’s now about the experiences we are having rather than just a showcase of what we are eating - from ‘Instagrammable’ food, to unique textures and food preparations we rave about on social media.

New experiences as part of food and beverage consumption will remain and consumers will continue to want to push the boundaries. Value will be placed on the authenticity of these experiences over generic products, andmore emphasis will be placed on higher quality, unique and differentiated offerings.

The globalisation of food (global foods adopted and adapted for local tastes) that started years ago will be given a boost and we will see a lot more ‘ethnic’ food being introduced.

By this we don’t mean food from the west going east. The exchange will go both ways. Whereas in the past we talk about westernisation of diets, in the future we will see western foods becoming one of many ‘ethnic’ food choices. More consumers will use food to experience new cultures without even leaving their homes. Adding an element of surprise through packaging or at moment of consumption and activating the senses with hybrid flavours.smells or textures can all be strategies to tap into this trend.


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