Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Cold-brew coffee hits the ground running

Posted on:
November 30, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Coffee lovers everywhere will be heartened by new research that gives the green light to drinking several cups of coffee a day.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal on November 22, found that drinking 3-4 cups a day was more likely to benefit health than cause harm. Not only did researchers find that drinking coffee could cut our risk of heart disease by 15% and decrease mortality rates, it was also linked to reducing the incidence of a variety of other diseases and health conditions, including specific cancers.

There’s been no stopping the onward march of coffee and other caffeine drinks, and yet more good news about coffee is only likely to further fuel the sector’s growth (see 10 Key Trends 2018, Key Trend 6, Beverages Redefined). Consumers are seeking more natural sources of energy and ready-to-drink coffee seems to be providing the solution.

Cold Brew has been one of the growth areas of 2017, with Mintel stating that total US retail sales increased by 460% between 2015-17. This artisanal, almost “craft style” method of brewing, much beloved of urban hipsters, is slowly gaining wider appeal, especially with Millennials.

Brands are experimenting with combining coffee with a range of “on-trend” ingredients including coconut oil, nut butters, protein and matcha to provide a more intense and sustained energy hit and a stronger health halo.

The most successful products link to multiple Key Trends, and cold brew coffee brands are linking to the plant-based trend. One example is fast-growing US brand Califia, which markets a range of beverages combining cold brew coffee and almond milk. In Sweden, the Oatly oatmilk brand even launched a Cold Brew Oat latte drink this September.

Consumers are always on the lookout for something that’s new and tastes good. If it also gives you energy, and can benefit your wider health – not to mention connecting to other consumer interests like plant-based – even better.

Coffee has benefited from a makeover that began with Starbucks, and has evolved into a whole new area of innovation. Our love affair with coffee, which began in the 17th century, looks set to run and run.

By Emma Finn

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Bread with legs

Posted on:
November 28, 2017
Julian Mellentin

The innovative Finnish bakery Fazer claims to sell “The world’s first” cricket bread.

There is a new high-protein bread on the block; it’s a world first, and one of its main ingredients has legs – six of them to be exact.

Yes, we are talking about insects. It may seem odd and risky to some, but many signs suggest that insects will be a growing protein source of the future. With a recent launch and new legislation paving the way for bug-based foods, Finland has shown just how aware it is of the insect opportunity.

Innovative Finnish bakery and food service company Fazer – one of the Nordic region’s biggest food companies – decided to take the leap, and last week launched the world’s first commercial insect-based bread, just weeks after Finnish authorities gave the stamp of approval to insects as a commercial food ingredient. The use of insects is still illegal in Fazer’s other major market, Sweden, but the company hopes that this will change in the near future.

The bread contains 70 crickets per loaf, ground into “flour”, and is promoted as a good source of protein, fatty acids, calcium, iron and vitamin B12. According to Fazer “Finns are known to be experimental” and the bread is described by CEO Markus Hellström as “an easy way to get acquainted with the food of the future”.

The product, named Sirkkaleipä, is being rolled out in 11 mainstream supermarkets in the metropolitan area of Helsinki. The aim is to have the bread available in 47 outlets all over Finland soon, once a shortage of cricket flour has been overcome.

Fazer says it wants to create a “diet revolution”. Its cricket bread – which joins the company’s vegetable breads where up to 34% of the conventional flour is replaced with vegetables – suggests a forward-thinking, innovative company in touch with key trends in the market.

Now the question is: how many other companies will dare to jump on this bandwagon? Are consumers ready for a diet revolution as crunchy and challenging as this? Only time will tell.

By: Mikaela Lindén

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Sesame sweet re-born as a dairy-free protein sports snack

Posted on:
November 22, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Keen cyclists are turning halva, a traditional plant-based sweet in the Middle East, into a must-have energy fuel for athletes – offering NPD opportunities in sports nutrition.

“My favorite high calorie bike food is halva,” writes a cyclist on a Reddit online discussion forum. “In addition to my electrolyte drink, I eat things like […] halva,” writes another cyclist on a different online forum discussing the best vegetarian options for keeping up with caloric needs during long-distance competition cycling.

According to Livestrong, one serving (28 grams) of halva has about 131 kcal, 3.5 grams of protein, a small amount of fibre, and significant amounts of minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. The minerals have multiple approved EFSA claims, magnesium for example: “Magnesium contributes to electrolyte balance and a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.”

A sesame-based halva – the most familiar version in Europe and the US – is made of only two ingredients: sugar and tahini (pure sesame paste). Tahini’s popularity is growing in the US thanks to increasing numbers of vegans who appreciate its high levels of protein, calcium, iron, and fibre.

This growing interest is propelling tahini beyond its niche of health food stores, and it’s being reinvented for Western palates. Russ & Daughters Café in New York serves halva ice cream with salted caramel, producers like Brooklyn Sesame and Soom Foods are inventing mash-ups like chocolate halva spread, and the all-sesame business Seed & Mill is helping Americans to develop a taste for tahini.

And for cyclists – or any other athlete – a snack form of halva, like the chocolate-covered bar shown here, offers convenient, light, gluten-free plant-based instant fuel. With such compelling benefits, it’s easy to forgive the very high sugar content (and of course the opportunity is there to develop a halva bar that replaces sugar with a form of sweetener that’s more acceptable to consumers).

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