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Insight of the Day: Five Trends Shaping Cooking Ingredients and Meals

Five Key Trends Shaping Cooking Ingredients and Meals in 2024:

  1. Growth of Plant-Based Options:

  • Vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based claims are increasingly common, especially in sauces and soups.

  • Low penetration of these products still leaves room for growth, particularly with familiar tastes and ease of use.

  1. Emphasis on Health Features, Even in Indulgent Categories:

  • Demand is rising for cooking ingredients and meals with nutritious ingredients, such as reduced sugar, gluten-free, and lactose-free options.

  • Sweet spreads are seeing a surge in demand for lower sugar content and added fiber or protein.

  1. Continued Premiumization:

  • Despite the cost-of-living crisis, consumers still seek high-quality, gourmet products for convenient meal preparation.

  • Focus on improving the overall product experience remains important.

  1. Increasing Importance of Sustainability:

  • Consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability, leading to a rise in organic and responsibly sourced products.

  • Sauces, dips, and condiments have seen a significant increase in responsible marine sourcing labels.

  • Expect to see more products with diverse sustainable sourcing claims, focusing on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and packaging.

  1. New Retail Solutions Gaining Attention:

  • Pure ready-meal stores and innovative vending machines are emerging to offer convenience and choice to consumers.

  • These solutions cater to shift workers with limited food choices and provide opportunities for direct consumer feedback.

Overall Outlook:

The cooking ingredients and meals industry is expected to remain dynamic, with modest sales growth. While affordable solutions like bulk offers and private labels will be in demand, there will also be a growing need for higher quality and improved product experiences. Post-pandemic, consumers will seek healthier options for their dietary needs and products that elevate at-home dining. Market players must stay vigilant to meet these changing demands and explore various shopping channels to optimize sales opportunities.

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