2017 Natural Food Trends

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The beginning of a New Year provides an opportunity both to look back and celebrate what we’re thankful for, and also an opportunity to look ahead to what’s next. As we are on a continuous mission to create foods that inspire and power people to dig into life and do more, I wanted to take a moment to share four natural products trends I see for 2017.

Better-For-You Desserts

While we started to see this trend make waves in 2013, it’s now in full swing with options that alleviate the guilt trip that comes along with indulging in a sweet treat. From cookies to candies, desserts now serve a functional nutritional purpose. Specifically in dairy, this trend is manifesting itself with a variety of better-for-you ice creams like those launched by Halo Top and Enlightened that deliver important nutrients, along with lower levels of sugar, fat and calories. Halo Top specifically focuses on offering a low calorie option, and Enlighted focuses on low sugar. However, these offerings don’t always win on clean ingredients or taste. Our existing ProYo High Protein Smoothies play well into this trend by delivering 20g of protein and 3g of fiber in a 140-160 calorie serving (varies per flavor). Coming this year, we’ll have exciting news to share about a new ProYo offering that’ll knock out the competition in better-for-you ice cream when it comes to protein and taste!

What’s exciting to see in ice cream is growth similar to the bar category, which originated with PowerBar and Balance Bar, but was not fully established until brands like Clif and Kind came in with natural, nutrient-dense options that delivered on consumer demands. As new players entered the market, the whole category had to elevate to better deliver for consumers. With the proliferation of new offerings in better-for-you desserts, particularly ice creams, I believe this is a trend that’s here to stay and that will continue to offer consumers better options.

Clean Labels & Transparency

In 2017, successful brands will not only have clean labels, but will also clearly deliver on a consumer need. As reported recently in Dairy Foods, clean and transparent labeling is now the global standard. This extends to both the ingredients you use, but also all practices back along the supply chain, from sourcing, to production and packaging. Consumers also want to know the purpose behind your company. At ProYo, we’re working to find the balance between delivering “High Protein Awesomeness” in the form of great-tasting, protein-packed products made from the most exceptional and natural ingredients possible, while also being on a larger mission to deliver nutrition people need to heal and thrive.

Every Second Counts

For millennials like me, time is a precious resource. Mintel trends research outlines how time will be a factor in the purchase-driving decisions for food products in 2017, especially for those of us who now crave convenience and prefer to eat more mini meals. Those products that can be enjoyed on their on on-the-go and deliver complete nutrition, and/or that can easily be added to a healthy recipe, will win big in 2017. Examples of this trend include the plethora of meat-based snacks hitting shelves, RTE nut butter packs, simple smoothies and pre-cut, single-serving fruits.

Big Brands Go Natural

Larger CPG companies are purchasing smaller, proven brands to expand their portfolios to meet consumer demand for natural and organic options. From General Mills purchase of EPIC, to Hormel’s purchase of Justin’s and the WhiteWave Foods merger with Danone, there was no shortage of these deals in 2016. Often, these acquisitions happen because larger companies can’t innovate as quickly as young brands built for a purpose. With so many innovative brands hitting the market, and larger CPG looking for ways to fill gaps in their product innovation pipeline, I expect this acquisition trend to continue in 2017.

What trends do you think will drive the natural products industry forward in 2017?