Insights for Retailers

Vegan UK leading the way, but not quietly

A report commissioned by environment secretary Michael Gove shows the extent to which a vegan diet can have a real effect on greenhouse gases. Mintel says the UK has toppled Germany from its top spot in vegan new product development. A third of UK consumers reduced their meat consumption in the six months to July 2018.

All looking good so far if you exclude the megaphone warriors who picket our supermarkets, including Brighton’s HISBE which deserves better for its ethical and local standpoint. And as Veganuary draws to a close, hats off to the charity which has made a massive impact at the start of 2019.

Michael Gove’s report says that a population turning to healthy diets could result in a 12% reduction in greenhouse gases, moving to vegetarian 26%, and adopting veganism 36%. A pipe dream of course, but it shows the potential impact on food and farming when you consider that the UK generates the equivalent of around 1bn tons of CO2 a year.

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Indies hold the whip hand in cosmetics sustainability

Beauty and personal care brands (BPC) must change their approach to sustainability and zero waste or die, according to Mintel’s 2019 Global Beauty & Personal Care Trends report.

“Some companies are already discussing totally circumventing packaging,” says Mintel. “This is not just a trend, it is a movement.”

Independent retailers already have the lead as big companies that put current profits ahead of investment in zero waste solutions will lose out in the long term. “Indie brands already have the edge as they have built their business practices around ethics,” says Mintel.

“High-profit BPC brands that aren’t investing in this area are already condemning themselves.”

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Source: Euromonitor

Why the VMS category is in good health

Modern lifestyles and growing health awareness are providing a rosy future for VMS sales, according to market research carried out for Solgar®.

Add to that consumer concerns about the side effects of medicines together with demand for ‘natural’ and ‘functional’ products, and the steady growth of the VMS and sports nutrition categories will continue.

Sales of vitamins and supplements are estimated to have reached £442m in 2018, a rise of 6% from £417m in 2013 (source: Mintel). The sector is predicted to see a steady rise in value sales over the next five years, with the market forecast to grow a healthy 8% to reach £477m in 2023.

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Sunshine Vitamin named UK bestseller

Vitamin D has been crowned Britain’s favourite single vitamin supplement, overtaking vitamin C, following research by Mintel.

Sales rose a glowing seven percentage points in 2018, bought by 33% of VMS users, up from 26% in 2017.

While usage has ticked upwards for all age groups, people aged 35-54 were the main drivers, with usage rising from 22% in 2017 to 35% in 2018 among this group.

The UK’s top five single vitamin supplements are Vitamin D (33%), Vitamin C (27%), Vitamin B complex (15%), Vitamin A (12%) and Vitamin E (10%). Meanwhile, well over half (56%) of VMS users take multivitamins.

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Why sustainability is changing retail businesses

Consumer sustainability focus will change the way retailers do business, according to Mark Childs, Senior Retail Consultant at digital services pioneer Capgemini.

The explosion in concern over plastic use has been impossible to miss in 2018 as public scrutiny of plastic waste and its widespread usage has reached mainstream consciousness.

“Within our industry, the problem of plastics has gone from an environmental niche to a subject that is firmly on the agenda of retailers and suppliers alike,” says Childs.

“A recent Greenpeace study found that 72% of consumers think supermarkets are not doing enough about packaging to tackle the plastic problem. As we enter 2019, the expectation for all retailers to develop a solution will only intensify, and the increasing sustainability awareness will require businesses to revisit their environmental goals and timelines.

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What’s hot for health-conscious older people

Healthy ageing is emerging as a food and drink opportunity in 2019. Preparing for a longer, healthier lifespan is particularly relevant as consumers view health and wellness as a holistic, proactive and ongoing pursuit.

This is one of the findings in the Mintel Global Food & Drink Trends 2019 report, highlighting the importance of self-care, a habit identified in Mintel’s 2018 trends report.

Food and drink manufacturers can look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy ageing product development that is centred around positive language across life stages and age demographics, rejects terms like ‘anti-ageing’ for its negative connotations, and addresses longevity-related health concerns.

With more consumers taking an active interest in their long-term health, expect to see more ‘nootropics’, a broad group of supplements like L-theanine, B-vitamins, choline and omega-3s that claim to enhance brain power, focus, alertness and general wellbeing.

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Buzzwords for 2019 – gut-friendly, vegan and ‘unpackaged’

Champion health blogger and author Fab Giovanetti spotlights the key trends for health food retailers in 2019.

At the end of 2017 we saw the rise of miso, kimchi and kefir products from artisan brands and bigger companies. As the BBC named 2018 as "the year of gut health" with a rise in pickled and fermented vegetables, the next step was meant to be affordable and easy-to-consume solutions for busy people. Brands like Happy Tummy Co are pioneering with ranges of food-to-go across London, and this is just the beginning of a new era for gut-health food. Gut-friendly food is a trend we'll still see going strong in 2019, with no sign of slowing down.

Boosting current products with healthy bacteria is something we can see happening in different areas of the supermarkets, getting the general public more and more accustomed to the idea, just like the first cultured ice cream by the Cultured Ice Cream Company. Dairy-free, grain-free, sugar-free creaminess made from cultured kefir coconut cream.

Vegan is a growing segment of the market – being vegan is all about being part of a community, something I know very well from the research I covered in the book Make an Impact, uncovering the six habits of highly influential people. One of those habits is nurturing and participating in a community with a mission that goes beyond the individual, which is something most vegans can easily relate to.

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Loyalty, plastics, local and prices are key influences on retail in 2019

IRI, the analytics and insights provider for FMCG, OTC healthcare and retailers, has published its FMCG trends for the year ahead.

1. Loyalty programmes.

Paul Hinds, IRI’s Senior Vice President of International Retail Solutions, says: “It’s not loyalty, but impactful customer engagement that retailers need to focus on. Loyalty programmes remain an important component of the customer experience, but they are increasingly commoditised, with customer usage driven by habitual collection of points rather than meaningful engagement with the retailer and its brand. This lack of purpose and differentiation is a challenge for retailers who need to derive value from their programmes to justify continued investment, especially with disruptive online retailers and specialist ‘clubs’ able to develop one-to-one relationships with the customer without the need for a traditional points-based programme.

“Understanding the what, when, where and how customers buy and then making a quick, impactful decision to drive growth that can also be accurately measured, is still beyond the reach of many retailers. Those companies who get this right, embedding a customer insight-driven approach across the entire business, will be the ones that lead the pack.”

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CBD is physical stores’ golden opportunity

CBD sales through UK retailers currently stand at around £50 million, primarily online. According to one supplier, that’s likely to grow by a factor of 20 to reach £1bn by 2020, and traditional independent retailers stand to reap the rewards as consumers realise the need to help them make informed choices.

Henri Sant-Cassia of CBD Virtue says: “The online retail space is becoming saturated and constrained as some companies have chosen to suspend trading in CBD. This is pushing customers towards traditional retail.

“There is also an increasing variety and quality of products, which mean consumers need help, so independent stores are becoming the front line in this ballooning trade.

“Thirdly, the demographics of buyers are changing. Initially it was either younger buyers who took their inspiration from Colorado and California, followed by vapers and e-cigarette users who are currently the majority of buyers.

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TV doctor cautious about the latest health and wellbeing trends

Last year we were Fitbit obsessed, spinning took off, and everyone was getting personalised vitamin supplements. But this year, CBD oil sits alongside veganism as a megatrend to watch, says Dr Sara Kayat of GPDQ, the UK’s first GP-on-demand-app and resident GP on ITV This Morning's ‘Second Opinion’.

She emphasises to patients that CBD does not have the psychoactive effect of THC and as such is one of the few cannabinoids that is not considered a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

But she is cautious about the way CBD is promoted.

“CBD has been hailed a cure-all, with claims of improving Alzheimer’s, anxiety and arthritis,” she says. “However, the studies thus far are minimal in terms of human trials.

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The rising power of plant protein in sports nutrition

A report by Lumina Intelligence highlights the shift away from animal protein sources in sports nutrition. This sector is now regarded as mainstream and no longer the preserve of serious athletes and body builders. Claims such as “100% plant protein” and “vegan” are crucial in order to captivate consumer attention.

Lumina Market Intelligence’s sports nutrition data captures over 2,600 unique brand variants and 750 distinct brands across 20 countries. It concludes that flexitarianism is fuelling demand for vegan proteins as consumers aim to reduce animal-derived foods in their diets.

The personal health aspect is also important as there is a growing body of research attesting that plant-based diets are much healthier, substantially reducing chronic disease risk.

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Meat alternatives – bring on the super-sub!

The meat substitute market will reach global sales of £4billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research. The growth of ‘flexitarianism’ and demand for plant-based protein are leading to better-for-you alternatives in the form of protein-enriched snacks and meat substitutes in most European markets.

Meat substitutes such as seitan, tofu and tempeh are increasingly well-recognised and accepted by consumers, especially those committing to cruelty-free diets, according to food ingredients company Ingredion.

Meanwhile, busy lifestyles have fuelled consumer demand for healthy on-the-go snacks. Industry commentators believe the increased focus on supply chain transparency and a desire for natural claims on packaging is leading shoppers to seek products made with ingredients perceived as natural.

Ingredion’s report on the savoury market says manufacturers are shunning the conventional practices of using corn or potato and are turning to ingredients such as lentils, parsnips and even seaweed in producing nutritious and crunchy snacks.

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New hope for migraine sufferers

Migraine is the leading cause of disability among all neurological disorders with more than 50% of migraine sufferers unhappy with their current treatment. Now a double-blind randomised controlled trial of live bacteria supplements in both chronic and episodic migraine sufferers has shown dramatic improvements in symptoms.

The trial, published in January 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Cephalalgia, involved a new supplement, Bio-Kult Migréa, and is the first successful controlled trial showing a benefit of a probiotic in the management of migraine headaches.

The Migraine Trust reports that the disease is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined and affects three times as many women as men, with this higher rate being most likely hormonally driven.

Research suggests that 3,000 migraine attacks occur every day for each million of the general population. This equates to over 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK.

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Taking a digestive approach to beauty

Shopper behaviour analyst Kantar Worldpanel sees a ‘crossing of lines’ between the health and beauty sectors with manufacturers using their knowledge of one to tap into the other.

Although this is seen as a US trend, based largely on the Korean K-Beauty movement that focuses on health and hydration, the UK and European markets are experiencing a similar shift with products recommended for different complexion factors, hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle choices.

The US trend is towards a more natural look as consumers become more invested in fixing beauty issues instead of covering them up – 66% of 18 to 49 year-old women in the US say they prefer a natural look, up 4% since 2016.

The ‘beauty from within’ trend also finds its source in Asia where the idea of beauty is strongly linked with health and wellness, moving skin and haircare regimes away from a topical approach and towards a digestive one.

Kantar quotes examples from Burt’s Bees whose general manager Jim Geikie promoted beauty “from the inside out” when launching plant-based protein powders, and several mainstream beauty lines adding supplements to skin and hair products.

Consumers get the good gut message

‘Total Wellbeing’ tops the list of Mintel’s trends to watch in 2019 in a consumer landscape driven by themes of privacy, individuality, wellness, convenience and connectivity.

Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs, according to the market intelligence giant.

And they are focusing more than ever on improving their gut health: “In 2019 and beyond, growing consumer curiosity with the microbiome shows no signs of abating. From gut-friendly fermented foods to probiotic skincare, consumers will demand products that balance and boost the natural bacteria found in and on the body,” says Mintel.

“Consumers are looking externally to their surroundings and internally towards their physical and mental wellbeing, expecting holistic approaches to wellness. [They are] are increasingly seeking personalisation and, in the UK, as many as 42% of British consumers are interested in a personalised diet based on their genes/DNA.

“Developments in health monitoring, such as skin sensors or ingestible capsules, will satisfy consumers’ demand for this personalised approach, while also building on scientific research in these emerging fields.”

GB packaging attitudes

Two-thirds of British shoppers identify with retailers that clearly demonstrate their commitment towards using less packaging, respect the environment and demonstrate fairness, transparency and integrity. That’s according to shopping analytics firm IRI in its latest European Shopper Insights Survey.

Responses from British shoppers scored higher than their European counterparts, with 73% stating that they would prefer to buy products with packaging that could be recycled and 67% prefer to buy products that respect the environment.

Meanwhile in Ireland, figures from Nielsen show that shoppers there are willing to educate themselves when it comes to environmental awareness and recycling grocery products, but they believe it’s the responsibility of retailers to reduce the amount of packaging.

Half of Irish shoppers actively seek products with minimal packaging (48%), look for products in recyclable packaging (46%) or products with no packaging (46%). But 91% believe retailers should do more to reduce the amount of packaging used on grocery products.

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