Dressings and Sauces sales trends

Gorging on Gluten-Free

Prepared Foods, June 2013

A study published in the August 2012 American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 1.6 million American consumers follow a gluten-free diet even though they have not been diagnosed with celiac disease. Research led by the Mayo Clinic estimates that approximately 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, and 1.4 million Americans are unaware they have the disease. The key takeaways from the article include:

  • Gluten-free food and beverage sales continue to exceed expectations despite the economic downturn.
  • According to a report from Packaged Facts®, the gluten-free foods market reached $4.2 billion in 2012, and experienced a compound annual growth rate of 28% from 2008 to 2012.
  • Gluten-free sales have grown across all product categories, but the snack and granola bars category has experienced the most growth.
  • Also found in the Packaged Facts® survey, 18% of adults either purchased or consumed gluten-free foods, which was an increase of 3% from the previous survey conducted in 2010.
  • Gluten-free products are generally regarded by consumers as healthier. For consumers diagnosed with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is mandatory.
  • Roughly 80% of consumers following a gluten-free diet are doing so without a diagnosis of celiac disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • There is greater diversity of gluten-free foods and beverages in the market. Soups and sauces have seen a host of gluten-free applications.
  • Packaged Facts® predicts moderate sales growth and projects U.S. sales of gluten-free foods and beverages to exceed $6.6 billion by 2017.

Consumer Food Spending Trends

Prepared Foods, May 7, 2013

The Food Institute released their Demographics of Consumer Food Spending, 2013 edition, which examines consumer spending patterns on food and provides a trends forecast. This data is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2011 Consumer Expenditures survey (the latest data available). The key takeaways from the article include:

  • Feeding a family of four at home will cost approximately an additional $4 each week in 2013 compared to 2012.  In contrast, food away from home is projected to increase approximately $2.40 per week.
  • Nearly a quarter of the projected growth in retail food prices will come from meat, where prices are increasing almost $1 per week from 2012 prices.
  • As a result, overall expenditures for food-at-home are forecast to total about $108 per week this year for a U.S. household of four. 
  • U.S. consumers should be aware that even with increased food inflation, domestic food costs continue to make up only 7.7% of total spending, which is the lowest percentage among almost all nations.

Consumers will buy Smaller Portions if the Price is Right

Food Navigator, March 6, 2013

Recent research reveals consumers are not motivated to purchase smaller food portions unless they are inspired to do so. This research was conducted by Dr. Lisa Young, PhD, RD, a nutrition professor at New York University. Dr. Young has conducted extensive research on the impact of expanding portion sizes on the U.S. obesity epidemic. The key takeaways from the article:

  • U.S. consumers have been conditioned over several decades to equate larger portion sizes with more value for their buck.
  • To convince consumers to choose smaller portion sizes, manufacturers would have to charge a significantly lower price for the smaller portion or make the smaller portion the only option.
  • If the smaller portion is the only option available, manufacturers can charge a little more as shoppers have nothing to compare the price with.
  • Although consumers pay attention to how many calories are in a serving, they are typically bad at estimating serving sizes.
  • Individually portioned products within large packs provide a better means of portion control for consumers. 

Dipping Into Trends

Progressive Grocer, March 2013

Consumer demand for product versatility is a major trend affecting the dip, sauce and dressing category. As a result, manufacturers are inspired to adjust their latest product offerings. Some key takeaways from the article include:

  • As moms aim to provide healthier food options and more consumers snack throughout the day, avocados are becoming increasingly popular.
  • The retailer dietician can serve as a secret weapon for grocers as they reach out and educate consumers on healthy eating.
  • Today’s consumers are savvy and educated on ingredients, but still want delicious products that are easy to use.
  • Product attributes desired by consumers include fresh, natural, clean, sugar-free, gluten-free, low in sodium, use of sea salt, low-cholesterol, and saturated fat-free.
  • There is a greater willingness, especially among millennials and Generation Y consumers, to be more adventurous in their eating and cooking habits. These consumers really like hot and spicy food.
  • Consumers are open to new flavors mostly coming from different cultural groups.
  • This desire among consumers for new and exciting flavors also paves the way for the reinvention of familiar foods such as burgers and sandwiches with new flavors and non-traditional ingredients. 

U.S. Food and Beverage Industry Confident Sales Will Increase

Food Navigator, February 26, 2013

The first annual U.S. Food and Beverage Industry Study surveyed manufacturers and wholesalers/distributors in the food and beverage industry. The companies’ annual sales volumes ranged from less than $10 million to more than $100 million. WeiserMazars LLP conducted the survey. The study’s intent is to provide executives with realistic benchmarks for their company sales compared to the entire industry. The key takeaways from the article include:

  • Survey participants believe the most important industry factors influencing sales growth for 2013 will be new customers (59% of participants), new products (51% of new products) and increased selling prices (40% of participants).
  • These responses are optimistic given a recent SymphonyIRI report on the consumer packaged goods market that shows dollar growth was only around 3-4% in 2012 and unit sales were flat in most categories.
  • The top four trends to impact the industry in 2013 are healthy/nutritious, organic, ethnic/international and private label foods.
  • Food & beverage companies should focus on trends that impact their sector or region, and develop products that leverage multiple trends at the same time.
  • Rising commodity and raw material costs are concerns for the industry.
  • There have been several upwards trends across the food industry – increases on average include capital expenditures (9.3%), expansion or new facilities based on square footage (9.1%), product lines (4.9%), employment (2.1%), and research and development spending (1.7%).
  • The average participant predicted positive growth to continue, 18% of participants indicated profit would decline and another 33% reported that profit would remain flat.