Smoothies have grown from a niche market in the 1990s to a £1.5 billion industry, according to research firm Mintel Intelligence Group. They are a mainstream snack or meal replacement for millions.
Last year, the food and drink was the largest manufacturing sector in the UK with a turnover of £76 billion. There are over 8,000 companies in this industry and they employ about 400,000 people. The industry invests in research and development (R&D), which results in about 10,000 new products being introduced to the market every year. According to Mintel Intelligence, most people who drink juice do so because they find it an easy way to get one of their five a day and because it is healthier than many alternatives, such as fizzy drinks.
Fruit juice, as compared to smoothies or pure juices, has accounted for around half the volume market, with 45 percent of consumers now drinking fruit juices once a week, last year the report revealed. Driven by the trend for value-for-money food and drinks with broad appeal, fruit juice proved popular amongst consumers purchasing products for breakfast and lunch out-of-home. This is thanks to a high-impact marketing and awareness campaign.
Furthermore, Pure juice held on to its position as the second largest sub-category, with Tropicana retaining its position as the number one brand; however, Own Label held the largest value share of 51 percent. The research also showed evidence that three in four Britons want to include more fruit in their diet, Mintel has recommended that drink makers need to explore options to make fruit juice drinks with decreased levels of sugar.
Consumers were also motivated to purchase health propositions, with Vita Coco experiencing the highest value and volume growth. Boosted by celebrity endorsements and the introduction of its first multi-pack into the grocery channel, the natural coconut water continued to grow ahead of the segment and soft drinks category, rising by 125 percent in value. Premium offers such as Copella and Innocent increased both value and volume sales. Furthermore, sales of organic smoothies or those with added health benefits rose. The Naked range of antioxidant and ‘super-food’ smoothies saw the fastest growth, with value sales rising by 71 percent.
The report also stated that UK consumers are generally happy to try new products. The 5 largest retailers place an average of 8,500 new products in their stores each year. Other products are changed as the retailers react to the change in demand from customers. Change in consumer preferences and lifestyle choices offer new opportunities for food and drink businesses and entrepreneurs. Consumers have busy lifestyles and as a result a new convenience food market is emerging in the UK. As one of the major growth areas, its value is predicted to rise to £46.2 billion by 2018.
Looking towards Europe, the EU has the largest single market in the world, with a population of nearly 500 million and UK food and drink sector is an important trading partner with Europe. Two thirds of the UK’s estimated £7.5 billion food and drink exports go to the EU.
In addition, the Big Restaurant Report by Taste of London has identified a move away from the gastro-comfort food of recent years with the opening of more specialty health shops and restaurants. They also believe specialty health shops and restaurants are also key, particularly gluten-free establishments, as the country’s first paleo and gluten-free restaurant. This comes as Pure Taste in London’s Westbourne Grove, opened in December. The report also noted the arrival of cuisines inspired by other Asian territories such as Malaysia and Thailand. The report also revealed that the next big gastronomic hotspots are spreading towards south London with Lewisham, Merton and Wandsworth tipped to become the capital’s next dining Meccas.
What are the benefits of being more health conscious about beverages?