Klara Lynch, Strategic Insight & Planning, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
As discussed in Bord Bia’s most recent Consumer Lifestyle Trends, consumers are placing more importance than ever on their personal Health & Wellbeing. Consumers’ “awareness of the relationships between bodily ‘systems’ … has rocketed recently, with a greater focus placed on proactive, diet-led solutions for mental performance, ageing well, sleep and beauty.” (Bord Bia, 2018). Ireland is no exception to this trend, with over 80% of Irish adults claiming that their diet is either ‘very healthy’ or ‘fairly healthy’, according to Bord Bia’s Periscope 2017 results (Bord Bia, 2017).
While consumers are focused on general health and wellbeing, one area that is currently receiving a lot of attention is gut health. This is most likely due to the recent studies which suggest that there are significant links between gut health and other bodily systems, such as mental health and neurological functions (Irish Examiner, 2018). A result of consumers placing more importance on this aspect of their health is that many are looking at different ways to aid and improve their gut health. One of the simplest and often forgotten ways of doing this is by including more dietary fibre in ones’ diet. Dietary fibre is also likely to be even more interesting to consumers since a January 2019 study showcased the link between consumers with a lack of fibre in their diets and various preventable diseases such as diabetes and even heart disease (Stylus, 2019).
Brands that can fulfill this need are likely to reap the rewards and as such, there has been a range of New Product Developments within this area in recent years. According to Mintel, there has been a 2.3% increase in the number of new product launches that claimed to have high or added fibre (Mintel, 2019). Some of these new products include a pasta launched by the brand Genius, which has on-pack claims referring to fibre’s ability “to contribute to normal gut function” and Ossa’s Ginger and Turmeric Soup, whose pack refers to both the digestive and anti-inflammatory qualities (Mintel, 2019). Fermented foods and drinks are also becoming more popular with consumers and they too have various health benefits related to gut health. In particular, drinks that can make health claims are growing in popularity with the likes of kefir and kombucha gaining notable upsurge in recent years (Mintel, 2019). A product example that taps into this trend is Remedy Kombucha Raspberry Lemonade Organic Kombucha, which is referred to as a live cultured drink and is also said to support gut health. A possible area for opportunity in the drinks market would be looking at high fibre juices, which are becoming more popular around the world and particularly in the US. According to Mintel, 12% of US consumers consider high fibre content as an important factor when choosing juice, which could be aligned to the fact that many consumers do not have a high enough fibre intake (Mintel, 2018).
This trend around the gut and digestive health is relevant both globally and domestically, in Ireland, so if brands can legitimately call out either their fibre content or the other gut health benefits that their products provide, they too could potentially stand out among the broad range of health and wellness products on offer. Alternatively, if brands are looking at New Product Development or product expansion, they could consider including relevant health claims around gut health, digestive health and/or fibre content, to target a new or broader range of consumers.
Bord Bia. (2018). Consumer Lifestyle Trends: Health & Wellbeing. Available from: https://www.bordbiaconsumerlifestyletrends.ie/trends/health-wellbeing/
Bord Bia. (2017). Periscope 2017: Irish and British Consumers and their Food. Available from: https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/manufacturers/insight/publications/bbreports/PERIscope6/PERIscope2017/Bord%20Bia%20Periscope%202017%20-%20Irish%20and%20British%20Full%20Report.pdf
Irish Examiner. (2018). Food to boost your mood: Gut bacteria directly linked to your mental health. Available from: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/lifestyle/features/food-to-boost-your-mood-gut-bacteria-directly-linked-to-your-mental-health-829800.html
Stylus. (2019). European Food Trends: IFE 2019. Available from: https://www.stylus.com/phpjrd
Mintel. (2019). Attitudes Towards Healthy Eating: UK, February 2019. Mintel.
Mintel. (2018). Juice and Juice Drinks: US, June 2018. Mintel.