Functionality/performance, globalization, health/wellness, low carbon economy four 'mega' trends that are likely to drive developments in Europe's food, beverage industry in 2012, forecast says

LOS ANGELES , May 30, 2012 () – Functionality/performance, globalization, health/wellness and the low carbon economy are four “mega” trends that will likely drive developments in Europe's food and beverage industry in 2012, according to a forecast by market analyst firm Frost & Sullivan Inc., Food Manufacture reported May 28.

In Europe, food and beverage suppliers will likely continue to focus on bakery ingredients. In this region, health concerns — in particular a “[n]eed for prevention and better health care” — will drive the functional food and beverage segment, the report said.

The functional food and beverage sectors that deal with digestive health, heart health and weight management will experience the largest amount of growth, the report added.

Weight management is the largest sector, driven by strong demand in the developed world, Christopher Shanahan, Frost & Sullivan’s global program manager, food ingredients practice, said.

Health markets tend to have higher growth rates as they mature, Shanahan noted. In Europe, which is an innovator and leader in terms of food trends, the ingredients health market is mature, he added.

Food and beverage suppliers are also focusing on emerging markets, in particular Brazil, China and India, Leatherhead analysts predicted. Emerging markets, which are benefiting from food research that the developed world has performed for decades, are also turning to European food regulations as a guide for their own policies.

More than one-fourth of U.K. consumers indicated that they consumed functional products in a Leatherhead SenseReach survey conducted last summer. A majority indicated that they would like to see more definitive proof regarding manufacturers’ health benefit claims, in particular the substantiation of said claims via independent science.

Existing users are more likely to generate consumption growth in the functional sector than new consumers. A key component of driving market growth is the efficacy of health benefits claims, the survey said.

In another report, entitled “Key Players in the Global Functional Foods Industry,” Leatherhead Food Research wrote that the expansion rate of the global functional foods market has fallen slightly in certain parts of the world during the last several years, driven largely by the global economic downturn.

In comparison to products that have been positioned as part of a more general wellness platform, premium-priced functional products are less appealing to price-conscious shoppers, the report noted.

The primary source of this article is Food Manufacture, Montpellier, France, on May 28, 2012.

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