Free From, Functional Food Expo

Our Strategy & Insight Consultant Marit Veenstra was present at the Free From, Functional Food Expo in Amsterdam to spot new trends and get the latest market insights that we would like to share with you!

Many innovative brands were presenting their product portfolio and they all had something in common: FREE FROM – from free from allergies to free from unnecessary chemical ingredients. Well-known brands such as Nick’s (SE), Leev (NL) & Naturli (DK) were present, but we focussed our visit on discovering the new players on the market. Read below what we learned and who we spotted. 

What did we learn?

A presentation from IRI presented how the health market is developing in the Netherlands. Some of the insights:

1. Health oriented categories and claims in Dutch supermarkets have grown 34.1%, accounting for +12.7% of the total supermarket turnover.

2. Highest growth is observed in the categories of Zero Drinks, Lactose-Free & Sugar-Free. This shows how consumers are aiming to reduce their sugar intake in relation to their health goals.

3. Dutch consumers mainly define ‘quality’ as a tasty, natural product that contains good quality raw material & includes packaging that respects the environment. The fact that a known brand produces it is the least critical factor. In our view, this might be related to the growing private label market in The Netherlands, where private label brands are way more focused on innovation through healthy & natural products with limited ingredients (e.g. Albert Heijn Private Label).

What exciting innovations did we spot?

First of all, we noticed an increased use of seaweed in innovations to boost nutrition, flavour & sustainability. Examples of products were plant-based tuna by Bettaf!sh, salads & seaweed cubes to add umami flavour & nutrition to your meals or smoothies (B2B).

Another category that seems to be growing in innovation is the snacking & indulgence category. We already represented the trend of Permissible Indulgence in our 2021 Global Game Changers Report – combining the indulgent aspect of unhealthy foods with healthier ingredients and a better nutritional value, so consumers don’t have to compromise anymore. Some of the innovations we spotted:

Ration – Convenient oat /yoghurt bars for on-the-go that fuel both body & mind

Oikia Oats – Crispy snacks based on oats, focussing on high fibre & low fat

Skarø – Clean label ice cream with just a few ingredients, without salt but instead using algae as the umami ingredient

And of course let’s not forget about our friends from Ohpops!

Last but not least, we noticed many innovations in the beverage category focussing on creating healthier beverages, for instance, through a lower sugar content. Interesting innovations we spotted:

Pécsi Brewery – Authentic crafted organic gluten-free beer

Yügen Kombucha – Organic kombucha brewed with herbs & juice, focussing on lower sugar content & natural ingredients

Friendly Viking’s – plant-based alternative beverages to dairy with lower sugar content & great taste.

In conclusion, the beverage and snacking categories really make it happen to connect to the trend of permissible indulgence – connecting health, indulgence & naturalness. Also, sustainability is becoming part of the permission to buy for consumers as they find this increasingly important. Including ingredients such as seaweed or algae that nutrition, flavour but are also sustainable might be the right approach for this…

Do you need more information? Or do you need help to make it happen for your brand?

Feel free to reach out to our Marit: