As the K Group Food Trends 2017 review* published a year ago predicted, the use of vegetables and new plant-based proteins has continued to grow in 2017. The sales of Pulled Oats and similar plant-based proteins have grown by a staggering 159% this year. However, the growth pace seems to have slowed down somewhat over the autumn, and it remains to be seen where the demand for these products will settle.
The selection of gluten-free, vegan and plant-based options has grown in many product segments this year. We predicted that oat would be increasingly used in various product groups, and in plant-based drinks, for example, it is oat-based versions that have grown the most in popularity.
“People are replacing meat not only with vegetable options but also fish. Fresh fish sales are up by 7% in K-food stores this year. Salmon is still the biggest seller, but shoppers are increasingly trying out other fish, too. The trend of smoking your own food this summer increased the demand for whole natural fishes,” says Harri Hovi, Purchasing and Sales Director for fresh foods.
In last year’s review*, 51% of Finns said they were likely to buy more berries in 2017. Many also intended to buy even more sweet potato (42%) and avocado (34%). The sales of all these products have indeed grown in 2017: the sales of berries are by up 27% and the sales of sweet potato in early-year season by 16% compared to the year before. The sales of avocado have also continued to grow by 16% compared to the previous year, though the trend has slowed somewhat on 2016.
“Buying sliced fruit and berries in ready-to-go containers has been a rising trend elsewhere in Europe for some time, and it could finally reach Finland next year as the popularity of easy-to-grab healthy snacks is on the rise,” says Kenneth Forsman, Purchasing and Sales Director in charge of fruit and vegetables.
Up in 2017:
Pulled Oats and other meat substitutes +159%
Various oat products such as oat drinks +46%
Gluten-free products +20%
Sweet potato in early-year season +16%
Fresh fish +7%
Snack biscuits and snack bars +7%
Organic products +11%
Meanwhile, the popularity of the hit vegetable of recent years, kale, is waning. In dairy, quark and cottage cheese have been the go-to hit products for people looking for protein, but the new protein puddings have soared past them in 2017.
What’s new in 2018?
Here are some food trends that, according to our experts, will gain in popularity next year:
Overall wellbeing. People will focus more on how the food they consume affects their body, choosing, for example, soothing food and food that promotes brain and gut health. People will use natural ingredients such as organic eggs and berries, to promote their personal wellbeing.
Increased focus on what is in season. Consumers will become more aware of and interested in experimenting with a wider variety of fruit and vegetables (e.g. different citrus, grape and apple varieties).
More filling snacks between meals. We will see an increase in easy-to-grab filling drinks and soups. Savoury versions of snack bars will be introduced.
Bug snacks. Edible insects are an interesting new alternative source of protein, and also a good source of fatty acids and iron. The popularity of pioneering edible insect products will be weighed in 2018.
K Group Food Trends 2018 review in Finnish
* K Group Food Trends 2017 review
Kesko sales data from 2017, interviews with K Group experts, K-retailers and store staff.