Private Label Innovation: Connecting To Millennials

Private label brands are manufactured by a particular company under another company’s brands. Over the past few years, private labels have seen a growth in market share. In fact, during the Private Label Manufacturer Association show last year in Chicago, the association indicated that the business continues to grow by 5%.

Private labels are available in different types of industries from cosmetics to food. They are mostly lower cost alternatives to other types of brands. Nielsen noted that the store sales of private labels are estimated to be at $120 billion. Private label company giants like Aldi and Save-A-Lot have catered to retail store companies like Trader Joes and Whole Foods. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, most consumers tend to patronize private label brands because they are cheaper than others.

Why Private Label Is Innovating

The popularity of private labels has presented opportunities to manufacturers of major brands to create products that appeal to private label shoppers. For example, Hormel Foods is launching its latest commercial retail team to help partners grow their private label strategies.

Private labels also need to take a step further to meet the demands of their customers. Private label brands are also venturing into healthier products. For instance, Ohio-based SmithFoods have started producing almond milk aside from traditionally manufacturing milk and other dairy products.  On the other hand, Perrysburg from Ohio manufactures not only private label frozen pizza and snacks but also “better for you” products with organic and gluten-free ingredients.

Millennials Are The Future Consumers

Neil Stern, a senior partner from McMillanDoolittle, noted that most food retailers in the United States are updating their private label offerings to meet the demands of their customers. For now, these private label brands are focusing on producing organic and natural products.

The direction towards healthier options is being driven by younger consumers in the market. Younger or millennial shoppers are now warming up to startup brands especially those that offer healthier choices. Millennials are considered the most aggressive of all types of consumers.


In a recent survey conducted by the PLMA, millennials agreed that they have the knack to try food created in different ways. Meaning that they opt for healthier options that are prepared in the most sustainable way. Their food choices have also reflected their eating habits. However, Millennials do not like to spend an exorbitant amount of money to buy their food. According to the same survey, 75% of millennials tend to shop in the supermarket, where bakery goods and dairy items top their list.

With this data, supermarkets can experience big payoffs by innovating their private labels to meet the eating habits of Millennials.  Store brands have the opportunity to compete with the well-recognized national brands and in some cases, win.

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Mintel’s 2017 Global Food and Drink Industry Trends

Now that 2016 is over, it’s time to look at the food and beverage trends shaping up to make an impact in 2017. Mintel recently announced the top six trends that they believe will see fast growth this year. Check out their predictions below!

1. Traditional Processing

While our food today is made using modern processing, many people are now opting for foods made by conventional processing techniques. Companies are looking at using age-old formulation as well as classic flavors. People tend to view these foods as safe, reliable, and recognizable. This trend can be attributed to the recent rise of ancient recipes, cooking practices, and traditions that have resurfaced to incite the feeling of familiarity in the kitchen and food.

2. Plant-Based Formulation

Plant-based diets are becoming more popular, and Mintel expects this to be a huge area for growth in the industry. As a result, the food and drink industry is developing more products that emphasize using plant-based ingredients. This trend will not only be perfect for vegans and vegetarians but also flexitarians. We predict there will be an increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains and other botanical products.

3. Zero Food Waste

The year 2017 will be the year of the environment. But how does that relate to food? The answer is zero food waste. Today, many food manufacturers and restaurant owners want to address the growing problem of food waste. There will be an increasing awareness among people to use “ugly” produce as well as repurposing food ingredients to avoid wastage.

4. Night Shift Market

In today’s fast-paced life, many people have to work at night when we are all asleep. This lifestyle creates a new market niche for food manufacturers. Companies are developing products that are solely dedicated to nighttime workers as well as those who stay up late at night. Products such as teas made from lavender and chamomile are now introduced to night owls so that they can relax better just before their bedtime.

5. Healthy Food for Everyone

In the past years, only people from the higher income brackets could afford to eat healthily. Fortunately, 2017 will be the year when even lower-income consumers can afford to eat healthily.  2016 helped drive this change with companies like Annie’s leading the Everybunny campaign and other organizations lobbying for subsidized fruits and vegetables to keep prices low.

6. Convenient Healthy Foods

Convenience has been driving change in food for over 30 years, but the new opportunity is in creating fast, healthy foods. People want to eat food conveniently so many food and drink manufacturers are developing new ways to deliver their products faster without compromising the taste and nutritional content.

If you have noticed, the trends of 2017 revolve around the idea of eating convenient, healthy, and reliable foods. It’s not that surprising if you’ve watched the market over the past few years. It will be interesting to see which companies take advantage of these growth opportunities in 2017 and beyond.

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Nutritional Sprays: A New Mode of Delivery for Supplements

Pharmaceutical and supplement companies are constantly looking for ways to make it easier to deliver drugs and supplements to the body. Currently, the most common delivery system is pills and capsules which go through the oral route.

However, innovations are making it possible for people to see new changes in the scene of pharmaceutics. Gone will be the days when people only rely on pills and capsule supplements.  A French company, Erbalab, is banking on the idea of nutritional sprays as an alternative way to deliver nutrition to the body. Headed by Nicolas Brodetsky, the company has launched 16 sprays that use airless pump bottles similar to those utilized in the cosmetic industry. The company is developing different products including herbal extracts to improve overall well-being.

What Is a Sublingual Spray Nutrition?

As the name implies, the sublingual spray nutritional spray is made from herbal extracts and is delivered through a sublingual format which is placed at the base or back of the tongue. The extracts are kept inside a specialized spray bottle that comes with a mister so that the back of the tongue can be easily targeted.

The tongue has hundreds of capillaries. Thus the nutrition can be quickly taken up directly by the tiny blood vessels. Unlike traditional pills and capsules, the oral nutritional sprays contain potent mixtures of herbal extracts. Users only need to spray a small amount to get the results.  The oral nutritional spray is equivalent to taking ten pills or capsules, which makes it very convenient.

Why the Sublingual Route?

The company emphasizes on the sublingual delivery of the oral nutritional spray. Many pharmaceutical experts view sublingual delivery as a promising alternative to the traditional capsule route. In a study conducted by researchers from India’s Kurukshetra University in 2011, it has been noted that this mode of delivery is useful for people who have problems with swallowing, such as the children and the elderly.

The rapid release of the active compounds directly into the bloodstream also promotes immediate effects. Conventional pills that are delivered through the oral route need to be broken down by the stomach acids then transported to the small intestines where the active ingredients will be slowly reabsorbed by the body. Because there are a lot of reactions involved, the potency of the pills are typically reduced in half. With a sublingual delivery system, the supplements can take effect within 10 to 15 minutes.

Benefits of The Sublingual Nutritional Sprays

Many consumers associate pills and nutrients as drugs even if they are just supplements. This negative connotation makes taking pills and capsules highly unattractive to many patients. When customers brand pills and capsules as “pharma,” they get two perceptions: (1) the products are more effective or (2) they may cause a lot of side effects. With sublingual nutritional sprays, people will not associate them with drugs at all. The fear of medicine and pharma solutions are then lessened.

Nutritional sublingual sprays look very promising. It will be interesting to see how they are applied in medicines and nutrition in the future.


Vegetable Powders: A Game Changer in The Healthy Food Movement

The whole food movement has increased people’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. This trend has also led food producers to offer fruit and vegetable powders that are used to flavor and enhance food and beverages. Dehydrated vegetable and fruit powders are more practical than their fresh counterparts for food manufacturing. They have a longer shelf life and some powders like NutriFusion are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
While powders are high in demand, the problem is that most of them exist with bland flavors and washed out colors. This is caused by poor extraction, processing, and storage. The developing food powder industry uses different drying techniques to produce vibrant fruit and vegetable powders.

vegetable powder fruit powderSensient Natural Ingredients, a company in Turlock in California, manufactures fruit and vegetable powders. They use methods like air, vacuum, and freeze drying. The drying technique employed depends on the types of ingredients used. For instance, air drying is utilized to dry herbs while vacuum drying is used to retain more nutrients from the dried food.

Challenges in Making Whole Food Powders

Drying fruits and vegetables is not a walk in the park. Several types of fresh fruit and vegetables can be powdered, and manufacturers face a few obstacles. For instance, high sugary foods are difficult to process because they stick to everything. Moreover, the sugar found in sweet fruits can be difficult to deal with in high-temperature drying because they burn even from the start. Drying leafy greens and herbs are also very delicate to handle and are more at risk to spoilage or decay.

The problems encountered during the drying process drive manufacturers to optimize their harvest timing by processing the materials within a short yet specified time frame to prevent spoilage and decay. They also use technology like infrared light to kill pathogens and preserve colors, nutrients, and texture.

The Future of Fruit and Vegetable Powders

fruit powders vegetable powders greens powders vitamins mineralsOver the next ten years, we will see a lot of fruits and vegetables turned into powder for nutrition, flavor, and texture in our packaged foods. One of the reasons why this trend will continue to flourish is because of the convenience. Whole food powders like NutriFusion tend to last for a long time without losing their nutritional value. They can be used in augmenting the nutrient content of the food that you are cooking or can be utilized as emergency food.

Astronauts will not be the only ones to benefit from powdered fruits and vegetables. The industry is already buzzing with wild dried fruits and vegetables like powdered coconut water, watermelon juice powder, tart cherry, and shiitake mushroom powder. NutriFusion separates itself from the pack by delivering blends of fresh fruit and veggies for optimal nutrition content. In many of our blends, you will find apple, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, shiitake mushroom, broccoli, tomato, carrot, orange, spinach, beet, and strawberry. The combination of those fruits and vegetables can deliver up to 12 different plant-based vitamins for food and beverage brands.

Food manufacturers also see an increasing trend in superfoods being turned to powder. Ingredients like acai berry, Camu Camu, cranberry, goji berry, and acerola will be mainstream in the future. The challenge here for food scientists is how to maintain a high ORAC value (an indicator of antioxidant capacity) despite the drying process.


NutriFusion Fruit and Vegetable Powders Nutritional Claims FDA

Packaged Facts Reports Stable Growth in the Natural Food Industry

Modern consumers are no longer driven only by the price and taste of food. With most consumers seeking healthy foods, their shopping behaviors have also changed. Today, American consumers consider safety, experience, social impact, transparency, as well as health and wellness when it comes to purchasing food. This is the reason why organic and natural foods are a growing niche in the food industry.

According to the report titled Natural and Organic Foods and Beverages in the US (5th edition), most consumers value the transparency and eco-conscious models of how their foods are made. Opting for natural and organic foods fulfill the needs of the customers.

Research Director of Packaged Facts, David Sprinkle, noted that this new behavior of consumers resulted in the rise of the organic and natural foods market. Packaged Facts estimated that the industry would earn $69 billion by the end of this year. This is 11% higher than the sales from last year.

The Industry Shift to Organic And Natural Foods

The growth of the organic and natural products has outpaced the sales of conventional food items. It is forecasted that the growth will be up to 70% from 2016 to 2021. This is the reason why big food manufacturers are shifting towards the natural and organic food niche. They hope to achieve this by overhauling their products or creating a new portfolio in the hopes of attracting consumers who lean towards natural and organic foods.

But what most big companies do not realize is that integrating organic and natural foods to their established brand can be quite challenging. While the market for organic food products is rising, it still has big shoes to fill. Conventional companies might find it difficult to look for clean ingredients because the suppliers are not quite there yet.

Big Food Companies Making Changes

Although there are some challenges present, investing in the natural and organic food niche is worth it. In fact, many big companies have seen stark improvements in sales after jumping into the natural and organic bandwagon.

For instance, Campbell Soup Co. announced to remove all artificial flavors and colors in its products by the end of 2018. Other companies that have plans to remove its artificial colors and flavors include Mondelez, General Mills, Mars Inc., Kraft Heinz, and Hershey Co. On the other hand, companies like WhiteWave Foods have pledged to use only organic ingredients in their products.

The food manufacturing industry has come a long way from using artificial flavors and colors in the past to using only natural ingredients. As consumer behavior continues to lean towards clean ingredients and healthy foods, the other main food manufacturing companies will follow suit–an action that will not only benefit food manufacturers but consumers as well.

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Premium Packaging: The New Trend in Private Label

The food manufacturing industry is highly competitive right now, and private label brands are keeping big brands on their toes. Aside from using clean ingredients, another industry trend is premium packaging.

Packaging is considered by most the brand and forms the first impression of products at the shelf in stores and online. Private label is adopting premium packaging to increase the perceived quality of their products and increase brand loyalty.

What Is Premium Packaging?

Big retailers are relying on cutting-edge packaging to enhance their brands. Premium packaging is all about improving the presentation of the product to make it distinguishable from competitors. It reinforces the identity of the brand, thereby making the products more appealing to the consumers. But it is important to take note that premium packaging is not only about using heavy-duty and expensive materials, but it also considers convenience and sustainability.

The Elements of Premium Packaging

Creating premium packaging can be a challenging task. Companies need to consider many things in the design of the packaging to sell their product, identity, and brand. Certain things should be taken into consideration when creating premium packaging, and these include the following:

  1. technical design innovation
  2. the durability of packaging
  3. convenience
  4. consumer health and wellness
  5. eco-friendly materials

For instance, thinking about the use of eco-friendly materials is necessary for creating premium packaging since so many people are now conscious of the green movement. Today, many manufacturers look into the sustainability of their packaging as they aim to produce less waste.

Convenience is also another factor especially if the product is designed for a particular target market. For instance, products that are created for the elderly should be convenient enough so that they can open the packaging without the help of others.

The Benefits of Premium Packaging in Private Label

The idea of presenting a product or brand as “luxurious” depends on the type of packaging used. People opt for luxury products to maintain a certain social standard. But more than social standards, luxury packaging can also improve the consumer experience. Private label companies are interested in premium packaging for this primary reason. They are already beating competitors on price, but they want to compete on experience now.

For instance, when the first microwavable meals became popular, demand increased because of the attractiveness of quick meals. Today, microwavable meals are no longer attractive and are commonplace. The use of ceramic pots to contain microwavable meals are used to create a better eating experience.

It is inevitable for companies to change their product packaging. It is one of the marketing strategies that companies should do to ensure success. With the constant evolution of product packaging, it will continue to push private label manufacturers to innovate and stand out from the crowd.

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Consumers Looking for More Plant-Based Proteins

Where do you get your protein? The usual answer would be from meat and other animal products. Proteins are also found in plant sources, and they are gaining a lot of traction. In fact, 63% of Americans want to eat healthy by better understanding the ingredients found in their food. The preference of most consumers for natural and simple foods has led them to explore other food alternatives such as plant-based proteins.

Plant-Based Protein Beast Burger Beyond Meat NutriFusionPlant-Based Pulses: The New Meat

Although the sales of lean proteins in the United States have increased by 4.8% or $19.6 billion, many consumers are also buying pulses or grain legumes. Pulses are edible seeds made up of aggregates of peas, lentils, chickpeas, and other dried beans.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen, about 61% of the respondents opted for foods that have both high protein and fiber content where pulses are clearly spot on. And with the many health benefits attributed to eating pulses, it is no wonder why the United Nations declared this year (2016) as the International Year of Pulses.

Pulses are not only perfect for vegans and vegetarians. In fact, even carnivores can also take advantage of the many health benefits of pulses. But aside from nutritional and health benefits, people are now shifting to pulses because of its taste and eating convenience.

Why Are People Eating Pulses?

Health is becoming a priority for many American consumers these days. One of the most popular superfoods for health-conscious individuals is pulses.

There are different categories of consumers that consume pulses, and they vary in their income levels, dietary preferences, and life stages. However, the recent study conducted by Nielsen Homescan Consumer Moments indicated that most people who consume lentils are women who make up 70% of the respondents.

It is also important to take note that the manner of consumption of pulses indicated that consumers eat them at home.  In the study, 86% of the respondents consume legumes at home, and more are preparing them not as side dishes but as the main entrée. This means that many consumers today are taking control of their personal health by making time to cook their meals.


The Future of Pulses

Although there has been a rapid increase in popularity, the overall sales of some legumes have dropped significantly this year. For instance, while lentils and chickpeas are still dominating the sales chart with 11.1% and 64% growth respectively, other lentils like red, black, and white beans are on a steady decline.

The market for pulses in the United States is still very young. While the market is still experiencing slow growth for some of the seeds, well-known seeds like lentils and chickpeas are dominating the market. As more and more people appreciate the benefits of eating lentils, this food trend will continue to persist for years to come. It’s up to manufacturers to develop new plant-based alternatives that are tasty and excite consumers.

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Developer Creates More Visual Food Data With Interactive App

More consumers are reading food labels than ever before. Customers expect packaged foods to contain the appropriate and promised ingredients. A developer has reinvented food data by launching a new web app, Sage Project. Co-founded by Sam Slover and backed by the FDA, the Sage Project is an online platform that gives food data and labels a new visual understanding of what we are eating.


The Sage Project

The project deconstructs thousands of food products–both fresh and packaged–into a personalized, interactive platform that contains necessary information you would find in conventional food labels. The information accessed with this app includes nutrients, calories, allergens, vitamins, and ingredients. But aside from providing food data, the developer wanted to communicate the nutritional content and what it means in the context of the health of an individual. The app also contains information on how it affects the fitness goals and activity levels of a person.

The app itemizes all the ingredients regarding weight in a list. While it is straightforward enough, the developer also ensured that the ingredients and nutrients also change depending on the serving size. This gives consumers a clear idea of how much of a particular ingredient or nutrient they are getting from the food in a specific amount.

Why People Are Not Reading Food Labels

There is a big reason why most consumers do not read food labels. While it takes some time getting used to reading food labels, conventional food labels are downright boring to look at. In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, they revealed that one of the biggest reasons why people are not looking at labels is because they do not have strong visuals.

To solve this problem, the Sage Project deconstructed the traditional food label into an infographic. A list of the five most abundant nutrients of the food product is located at the top of the page, while an analysis of the nutritional content is found beneath it.

The app also features the types of exercises needed to burn off a particular food item when eaten; while an annotated list of ingredients including allergens is found in the lower part of the screen. Since most of the consumers are not familiar with some of the ingredients used in making a product, there are information icons beside each ingredient that you can scroll through to understand that particular ingredient better.


The Drawbacks to The Sage Project Food Data

The Sage Project provides a lot of information, which is one of its drawbacks. Some people just want their food labels to be straightforward. With so much information, some people may find the entire app overwhelming. However, the visual appeal of the data makes it easy to comprehend for the more data savvy generation, millennials.


According to Angela Lemond from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consumers might experience information overload when using this app. But nevertheless, this app can be customized to fit any customers’ dietary restrictions as well as health goals. What matters is that this app can help a lot of people make the right health decisions when it comes to their food.

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