The taste of tomorrow – A sugar free look at taste
There is an increasing consumer demand for food and drink products that are not only healthier but also include added benefits.
Within the soft drinks market, functional drinks sales have increased by 30% since 2011 and the protein-based snack market is growing by an incredible 50% year on year.
Damien Kennedy, CEO of Wheyhey started creating sugar-free protein-packed ice creams from a kitchen at his Brixton flat using a simple consumer ice cream machine. The core driver was frustration with big companies making promises based on trends and not truly delivering on them but rather manipulating recipes or reducing pack size to make claims such as ‘reduced sugar’. Wheyhey saw an opportunity and have executed a range of products to suit a particular consumer need – Naturally sugar-Free ice cream which contains high levels of protein.
The Ice cream category has been stable for a number of years with very little signs of innovation. Companies like Wheyhey are seeing that big brands rely on price promotion to drive sales however new and unique products like their sugar-free protein ice cream are able to command a consistently higher price point due to its unique proposition.
Health & wellbeing is becoming a primary consideration for a larger population of consumers when purchasing food and drink. With an increased awareness of processed foods and how they might affect our physiology, the mantra of clean unprocessed food gives my body what it needs to be its best has never been stronger.
Digestive health, cognitive health, and sleep are key areas where consumers are looking for ways to improve. Products to help consumers relax from the strains and stresses of life are becoming more appealing in this social media and always connected world.
Reducing sugar is key to healthy food and the starting point of a healthier food revolution. Established brands are being forced by the recent sugar tax to accelerate their shift towards what is best for the consumer. They have a real challenge on their hands, as they will need to work hard to ensure any change in recipe does not impact the current consumer experience or they will risk losing appeal.
Taste testing is the lighthouse guiding you on a safe path and helping you to avoid damaging collisions. It will confirm your product is meeting the expectations of consumers and confirm your money has been well spent on product development or it will warn you your product is not ready saving a poorly executed costly launch.
The alternative for the established products in the market is to reduce the pack size if the sugar content cannot be reduced without significantly changing the product. Coca-cola has taken this approach however with a reduction in their core range they have diversified and created new ranges with the likes of Coke Zero and Green Cola to maintain if not continue to grow their categories.
This does mean it is an exciting time to be a food innovator or small business with an authentic promise as there has never been a better opportunity to disrupt big brands than now.
If this sounds like a journey your business is currently on and would like to know more about how consumer testing and product development can help please feel free to contact Good Sense Research for friendly advice and guidance.