Companies taking a different approach to success

Posted on:
March 23, 2017
Julian Mellentin

The UK’s biggest and most important food & drink trade show – International Food & Drink Event – was this year all about vegan, 100% natural, free-from and low in sugar. In the middle of this environment-friendly, sustainability and free-from craze, there were a few companies that stood out.

Oumph! Founded in 2015 in Sweden, Oumph already has sales of about $6 million (€5.5 million). When asked what makes this company different, Djani Skrgo “Master of Key Relations” says, “Even though we produce vegan products, we are not a vegan company. We’re not trying to target vegans. Nobody’s perfect – in fact, almost nobody of our employees is vegan. We’re only trying to decrease our meat consumption and encourage that in others. We’re trying to create a new food logic and make people think about our planet.”

Oumph is retailed in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. “We’re currently active 50% in food service and 50% in retail and we’re here at IFE to find the right partner to expand in the UK. We believe that we have a unique product thanks to the long fibers which makes the texture and taste very similar to animal protein”, Skrgo said.

And he wasn’t lying – the small bites they were offering at the show truly did taste like meat.

What A Melon. Even though there were plenty of fun products and stands, it didn’t compare to the What A Melon stand. If it was an Instagram picture, this would be the caption: When you’re trying to run a business but also wanna have fun.

The entire stand was very simple and fun: one disco ball, bright colours, great music, employees on roller skates, and no messages whatsoever on any posters.

They were not attracting visitors with the now popular free-from claims, but with simplicity and an escape from their everyday activities. Visitors were asked to hula hoop and dance with them – everyone was taking pictures and What A Melon was not having trouble with getting attention and promotion.

“There are so many coconut waters around, but a lot of people have a problem with the taste. Watermelon is an alternative. It has all the electrolytes as coconut water which makes it a great hydrator. It also has lycopene which is great for the heart. Last March, we were the first to launch a tetra pack watermelon water in the world and we’re hoping to launch a 1L size bottle soon,” Will Rhys said.

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A ground-floor growth opportunity presents itself

Posted on:
March 6, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Blog post fermentation google 2Social media is buzzing about fermented foods – even in countries with conservative food cultures, such as France, where industry will be tempted to dismiss the development as something weirdly American and not what sensible French people are interested in.

The restless, food-explorer consumer can find a wealth of bloggers and online sources recommending kombucha and other fermented teas, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, pickles, vinegars, tempeh and a host of other fermented foods for their digestive health benefit. Against this tide of more interesting alternatives, yoghurt looks like a less exciting option.

Against 0.5% growth for the $6.9 billion US spoonable yoghurt market in 2016 (IRI), kefir experienced 16% sales growth, for the third year in a row. Vinegars, a $544 million market, grew 11.7%, with an average annual growth rate of 9% in the past three years, and kombucha, now a big and established business, grew by 7%.

Fermented beverages offer consumers a way to get the benefits of good bacteria – and avoid the sugar that they associate (rightly or wrongly) with fruit yoghurt – and give a pass to dairy which, as the surging plant-based milks and desserts markets illustrate, is struggling to keep the loyalty of the ultra-health-conscious.

Smart companies will seize the fermentation opportunity now, at Day One.

Digestive wellness, the strongest and longest-lasting trend, is key to the success of fermentation. Consumers need to “feel comfortable inside” and they are increasingly opting for lactose- and gluten-free products, and plant-based drinks.

Smaller categories offering more interesting routes to digestive health are achieving greater sales growth than dairy-based probiotics. Innovative start-up Rhythm Health spent nearly a decade developing a probiotic formula that would thrive in a coconut-milk based kefir drink. Its flagship product, a non-dairy kefir shot, is marketed as “100 percent natural” and with no added sugars, connecting with the widespread consumer belief in “naturally functional”, and the need to lower sugar intake.

Fermentation also connects to the plant-based foods trend. Companies have already tapped into this need by creating single-serve vegetable-based snacks – a format that fits well with fermentation.

Fermented vegetables are a well established idea in consumers’ minds – they’re a traditional food format, such as kimchi or tempeh in Asia. Offering a fermented chilled vegetable-based snack that is ready-to-eat can connect to that idea of traditional use and be credible.

Fermented beverages and foods are slowly on the way up – even in France.

You can find out more by New Nutrition Business’ new report Fermentation: how to make a trend into an opportunity at (

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Seize the day in digestive wellness

Posted on:
February 23, 2017
Julian Mellentin

digestive picIt’s a sign of the times. A small sign, admittedly, but as is so often the case in business, the smallest signs turn out to be some of the most important ones.

As the picture shows, healthy-and-natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market has created a special Digestive Health section within the chiller cabinets of its UK stores.

Fitting in neatly between the milk and the yoghurt, it’s a section devoted to one of the biggest consumer needs (along with sustained energy).

One third of people suffer from some form of digestive symptoms – the most common ones being bloating and constipation (Source: World Gastroenterology Organisation (2016)) and maintaining digestive wellness becomes a bigger focus as people age.

Digestive wellness has consistently been a key driver of growth for the food and beverage industry for 20 years, lying behind some of the biggest shifts in our market:

  • It’s a trend that has spawned some of the world’s biggest and most successful probiotic dairy brands (Danone Activia and Yakult, to take just two examples, with combined sales of $6 billion).
  • It’s the consumer quest for digestive wellness that has – without any question – been the driver of the gluten-free, dairy-free and lactose-free trends.
  • It’s the quest for digestive wellness that has been the main driver of growth for plant milks – most almond milk and other nut-milk brands reference the benefit of “digestive comfort” on the label or in marketing.

The field of digestive health, like many others, is fragmenting and people are becoming more open to digestive benefits from a much wider variety of products.

It is this openness of consumers to new experiences that is behind the rapid growth of a new market for fermented foods and beverages

When PepsiCo, the world’s second-biggest food and beverage company, bought small fermented drinks maker KeVita in late 2016, it sent a clear sign that fermented foods have reached a tipping point (

Smart companies will seize the digestive health and fermentation opportunity now, at Day One.

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