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3 Big Ingredient Trends You Should Know About

Food for a happy mood?  The ‘perfect’ sweetener?  A natural source for satiety?

Those are some of the beliefs around three ingredients that are gaining consumer popularity.  Here’s the (brief) lowdown on each of them…

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Photo by dmourati

1)  Hot Peppers

Remember the Sriracha fumes kerfuffle of 2013?  When the court said ‘no’ to closing down production of the popular chili sauce, die-hard fans everywhere were relieved. However, it may be more than just taste that keeps them wanting to ‘feel the burn’ of the Rooster-branded chili sauce in their favorite dishes and on their tongues.

Based on the science of how spicy foods affect our bodies, it seems that when we eat them, our endorphins kick up. Result:  a natural mood booster.  Clever food marketers are tapping into this and introducing all kinds of spicy new products to tempt our palates and keep us happy and loyal.

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Photo by tJj

2)  Stevia

Recently there’s been a resurgence of sugar bashing.  It’s been blamed for everything from obesity to aging.  Along comes Stevia — sourced from the rebaudiana plant — minus many of the scary health warnings that have been attributed to sugar and other sweet substitutes. Nowadays you can even find Stevia among the packets of Splenda, Sweet N’Low and sugar in many restaurants.

According to Food Business News, the use of Stevia in products may double by 2017. However,  a big challenge, according to the The New York Times (and not unlike other sugar substitutes) is keeping Stevia ‘natural’ while adjusting it for consumers’ taste.

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Photo by CIAT

3)  Protein 

Unconventional ‘bars’ are popping up all around big cities, catering to cravers of niche products and services like specialty juices and upscale manicures — even hair blowouts.   Recently, I came across Protein Bar  — a one stop shop for protein-packed meals.

What has protein done lately to merit its own retail chain?   Well according to Food Business News, Americans are eating protein in copious quantities.  They believe high protein products are a healthy source of energy and keep them feeling full and satisfied.

Plants, in particular, are increasingly being touted as a healthy protein source.  One of several benefits is that they’re naturally low in fat and cholesterol. Bloomberg describes a plant-based high protein source called  ‘pulses’ — legumes that include dried peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils — being used by food manufacturers in both sweet and savory products.

So now that you’ve read this, are you craving a spicy, sugar-free, kidney bean smoothie?    More importantly, are your marketing efforts incorporating these ingredient trends?  If not, are there ways you can capitalize on them?

Technology Manufacturer Success Story – Researching New Markets Led to Competitive Differentiation

The adage “look before you leap” certainly makes sense when it comes to new market expansion. That’s why early stage market research is a very worthwhile investment.

In addition to avoiding major pitfalls, exploring the current landscape is a smart way to uncover areas of greatest opportunity.

Here’s a perfect example…

Recently, we worked with a global manufacturer looking to expand their services. Specifically, they wanted to add an integrated solution for their core market.

This initiative made sense. Their reputation was stellar and their current product line was a natural fit for this market. But before moving forward, they took the time to conduct an in-depth market assessment. This gave them a first-hand look at customer expectations and the degree of satisfaction with current vendors.

Research revealed what was currently marketed as an ‘integrated solution’ wasn’t truly integrated in the minds of customers. While they offered quality design, equipment and installation, most vendors used third party components which they assumed no responsibility for.

Therefore, post-installation, ultimate accountability was non-existent. When something went wrong, customers didn’t know who to contact for help. This caused unnecessary downtime, confusion…and a lot of finger pointing.

This market desperately needed a vendor who would provide a consistent, single point of contact from conception and beyond.

Obtaining this vital information allowed our client to…

  • Pinpoint a critical market need they could effectively address
  • Establish a true point of difference from their competitors
  • Create a compelling message to communicate this difference to target customers

By understanding the bigger picture from the customers’ perspective, our client identified a great opportunity – one that competitors had missed because they were focused only on their specific link in the value chain.