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Insider View: October 2016

Insider View: October 2016

….new tastes, new brands and some surprises from old favourites demonstrate the renewed vitality of the UK marketplace.

Winners of this year’s Grocer New Product Awards provided a telling snapshot of the latest food trends, with 2016 seeing the need for a new Coconut category prompted by the range of coconut based entries.  The emerging winner proved to be a novel and healthy snack that particularly appealed to younger testers: Ape Crispy Coconut Curls, Lightly Salted.  There were also three separate Gluten Free Categories, including a biscuit category reflecting the huge interest in new GF products, a theme continuing this month with a further 7 gluten free variants tested.  These included GF Hobnobs and more niche variants like GF Kale Crackers – 3 Seed, and Ancient Harvest GF Lentil and Quinoa Pasta from the Quinoa Corporation.  Then there was Easy Bean Chickpea Crispbread: Moroccan Spice Flavour and Curry Flavour Free From Instant Rice Noodles from Tesco. OK, some of these are very niche products – category outliers – but even so there is no denying that the food landscape is a very different place from a decade ago.  Who would have thought that a Batchelors Cup a Soup would be launched including Black Olives?  That there would be Indian Curry flavoured Crunchy Olives from a Swiss company, or a very highly regarded Cream Cheese with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives from M&S?  Olives were for other people; now they are for everyone it would seem.  Even Iceland surprises nowadays with Clams in a Mediterranean Tomato & Herb Sauce and a £7.50 Beef & Pancetta Lasagne, part of their Chef Incredible Food Range.

These are exciting times in the Food and Drink industry with fresh thinking, new ideas and new products available from many sources, not just imports, but from a changing UK retail scene as they adapt and confront the highly successful Discounter model.  This is further squeezing the branded sector as they struggle for a share of fixture space and to match changing consumer tastes, but the Winners in this year’s NPA’s showed it can be done. The relatively new Breakfast Occasions category was won by Belvita’s Soft Bakes Red Berries, a brand that has carved a new sector in the biscuit aisle. Convenience was also a driver of winning entries, with a Roast in the Bag Whole Chicken taking the top spot in the Meat category, Urban Noodle Street Food (perfect for those seeking a quick lunch) and the Laughing Cow Mini Cravings a handy lunchbox or bite-sized snack. Evidence too of the interest in home cooking with two flavour enhancers taking top spot, including Oxo Stock Pot’s Chicken with Garlic and Thyme which was described as a ’store-cupboard essential’.

Cambridge MR can help you navigate the hurdles in successful product innovation, development and launch.  Contact Heather Baker on 01223 492053.

  • Symington’s have broadened the appeal of the Look What We Found! Range with Smokey Bean with Bacon Soup at an everyday price.  (Showcase Product of the month Review 161002).

  •  Waitrose ticked another ‘well-being’ box by adding Brazil, Hazel and Walnuts to its instant Nutty Porridge providing an innovative edge over more traditional alternatives. (Review 161001)
  • Incredible Food Beef & Pancetta Lasagne from Iceland proved a winner with testers who used words like Artisan, Funky, Gastro and indulgent to describe a £7.50 Chef recipe. (Review 161018)
  • It looked ‘modern and upmarket’ and tasted ‘creamy and smooth’, with ‘a good balance of flavours’ Tomato & Black Olive Cup a Soup from Batchelors surprised. (Review 161013).
  •  Heaps of praise for Aunt Bessie’s Toffee Sponge and its ‘good balance of toffee to sponge’ – which proved to be super comfort food and ‘a great treat’.  (Review 161010). 
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