Retailers from around the world are attempting to get on board with the growing ‘free-from’ trend and have a larger variety for customers to choose from.

For example, this month Tesco has increased its plant-based meat range with brands such as Vivera, Beyond Meat, Heck and The Vegetarian Butcher in more than 350 branches in the UK. Also this month in the US, Burger King has released the plant-based Impossible Whopper, which is proving to be successful.

Foods using alternative ingredients such as vegan meat and organic sweeteners continue to grow, especially in the retail and foodservice sectors.

These food types are appealing to younger consumers (new shoppers) because of their growing need for a balance between health and indulgence.

The retail industry is seeing a new type of shopper that is more health concerned, which is affecting product choices.

When people were asked about the most influential factors for their grocery store selection during the GlobalData 2018 Q3 global consumer survey, a majority of millennials (62%) globally chose the availability or range of healthy and nutritious products, which proved to be one of the most popular choices. Their interest in nutrition was also considerably higher than the Silent Generation (52%).

This simply demonstrates the worldwide interest in health and nutrition, which is one of the main value propositions in free-from foods.

According to the same global consumer survey (GlobalData 2018 Q3), 72% of millennials globally either completely or somewhat agreed with the statement “I enjoy snacking between meals”, compared to 34% of the ‘silent generation’ (those born between the 1920s and 1940s). The globally-shared enjoyment of snacking for the younger generation indicates that foods free from gluten, for example, can fulfil shoppers’ needs for indulgence, without worrying about the bloating sensation or other side effects associated with regular foods

Food experts are identifying a growing concern among new shoppers for free-from products, where consumers are demanding more natural and simple ingredients rather than artificial ones. To keep this trend afloat, manufacturers would need to focus on providing organic ingredients to be more aligned with the new shoppers’ preferences.

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