Strawberry jam from Fourayes farm

What does the future hold?

Affordable Treats: 
We first identified this as a growth trend back in 2008/9 and I am pleased to say that we were absolutely right! As consumers moved into the first stages of recession, pressure on disposable income meant sacrifices but in hard times a treat takes on new importance. As the ‘pre-financial-crisis’ treats became unaffordable we believed that people would find new, affordable treats. And they did, in droves: treats such as cakes, biscuits and desserts. The most successful of these added a little something extra to create that ‘special’ element fundamental to achievement of ‘treat’ status as well as bringing them up to date for today’s consumer. Affordable treats meet a number of important criteria – they are special, something to look forward to and, of course, affordable! We think that ‘affordable treats’ are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. But look out for new ways of adding that ‘something special’ – links to the Olympics and the World Cup in Brazil for example or ‘sharing’ treats. We’re even developing a new range of ‘adult’ jams and fillings that blend sophisticated adult flavours from herbs and spices with well-known and well-loved fruit favourites.

Whoever said that ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’ was right in the case of this particular trend prediction. During ‘troubled’ times people hark back to happier memories and a happier past. But time often dims memories and reality is in large part perception so periods such as the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s are often viewed with uncompromisingly rose tinted spectacles. The good news is that they are brimful of great products, great recipes and perceived or actual memories of ‘good’ times. They can be the comforting, warm and familiar lining to that threatening economic cloud. But we predict that heritage products such as fruit pies, sponge cakes and biscuits still need the addition of something ‘different’ to bring nostalgia right up to date. It’s the reason why we first developed our range of ‘Hint of’ jams and fillings including favourites such as ‘Strawberry with a Hint of Jasmine’ and ‘Bramley apple with a Hint of Lavender’. ‘Provenance’ can also be a facet of ‘Nostalgia’ with our Kentish Strawberry Jam being a particular favourite. It’s no coincidence that ‘Nostalgia’ dovetails brilliantly with the growth of ‘affordable treats’. Of course, 2014 sees the start of marking the 1914-18 period. Whilst we would not for one moment suggest this will spark celebrations as such we are, however, very aware that the period from the early 1900s was one of huge interest in food and, in particular, home cooking. Recipes were simple so dishes with great names such as Boodles Cake can be easily brought right up to date as awareness of the period grows over the next four years.

That Latin Vibe!
With both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016 being hosted by Brazil we predict that Latin tastes, flavours and influences will be very definitely on peoples’ minds for a while to come. The good news is that South America is the home of some great music, great food and great fruit! We’ve already developed an Apricot and Chilli jam that’s met with great acclaim. Latin people also love to share which leads us onto another trend that we’ve been watching with great interest:

Sharing and Tapas desserts, platters and treats.
We’re anticipating an escalation of the trend, not only because of the Brazilian influence but also because it plays to values such as socialising and minimising wastage. Look out also for companies marking portion or ‘cut’ lines onto food products to encourage sharing but also to optimise the commercial value for brands.

Food Hybrids:
Thanks to the major coffee shop retailers we are all now familiar with Cronuts, the Duffin (donut/muffin cross) and possibly even the Dosant and the Crodough (answers by email please!) In short, food hybrids have captured peoples’ imaginations. We predict the trend will continue in the short term as coffee shops seek to further differentiate their offerings and increase impulse sales. Our view is that credibility is the key: when the hybrid combinations are too much of a stretch we suspect the trend will start to decline.

Free From:
2014/15 will see ‘Free From’ really going mainstream. As front-of-pack labelling gains momentum debates will increase but our own very top-line poll shows an interesting aspect worthy of further investigation: we’ve observed some consumers focusing only on the nutritional elements they believe apply to their own particular lifestyle – such as Fat, Saturated Fat or Salt – driven by a particular motivator such as dieting for example. We’ve also identified another potential attitude we will be looking at more closely: ‘pragmatism’. Our poll showed people had realistic nutritional expectations, particularly for food products considered as ‘treats’.

Nice and healthy.
The first word holds the key – for mainstream foods and drinks people seem to love ‘healthy’ as long as it tastes great too. Newer protein drinks are about ‘taste’, ‘flavour’ and ‘health’ rather than just ‘muscle’. Veggie juices, Kale and fortified foods are all in evidence now but we’re also looking out for the great-tasting healthy products inspired by other predicted trends such as the rise of Latin American foods and drinks; as well as traditional desserts, known for their great taste, but in new, ‘lighter’ formats.

It’s Chocolate but not as we know it.
High street retailers and boutique online and high street companies are all contributing to the increasing consumer awareness of the vast range of chocolate tastes available today. We predict this will surge as the World Cup and Olympic links with Brazil raise the Latin American profile. Not only do different cocoa beans produce different chocolate tastes they also compliment other foods in different ways. We’re looking to see escalated awareness amongst chefs and the growth of ‘Chocolate Snobbery’ which will bring with it the rituals and enjoyment that has sustained other sectors such as wine and coffee. This trend benefits from linking strongly with the predicted Brazil trend and the affordable treats trend, so watch this space!

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