ofi’s global team of innovation and culinary experts weigh in on where the pendulum is swinging this year. Crucially, having the right ingredients and know-how can create a recipe for success.
As high inflation continues, value is of ever more importance to consumers. However, its meaning changes from person to person, with some trading down to reduce spending and others elevating to reduce frequency of purchase. For example, convenient options can help add a touch of luxury for consumers replacing expensive takeout with at-home cooking. Consumers are also seeking out small affordable treats like indulgent chocolate to help alleviate some of the stress. Nearly two thirds (63%) of global consumers have significantly increased their food and beverage spending post-lockdown.
ofi’s deZaan premium cocoa brand can unlock luxury possibilities, including organic options. Pair with the range of nut protein powders for delicious plant-based chocolate that can offer good hardness, snap, taste and melting properties. Our nut ingredients can also be used to deliver an entirely new sensory experience beyond milk chocolate look-alikes – consider walnut-based chocolate for example.
Beyond cost savings, private label offerings are being recognised as high-quality and desirable in their own right. Most APAC, EU and US shoppers (60%) believe private label products are as good as national brands when it comes to quality, innovation, sustainability and delivering on claims. In tandem, retailers are looking at multiple large-scale brands and tailoring their product offerings to make them their own. This year, consumers are turning toward food and drink purchases as pick-me-up experiences, seeking out rich flavours and textures.
One-off premium purchases like elevated condiments, beverages or snacks can help spice up monotonous days. Meanwhile, limited editions can create food experiences worthy of social media sharing. Capitalise on this with ingredients like ofi’s Moonlight extra white cocoa butter, which enables stark visual contrast in everything from white chocolate to delicious fillings – perfect for those close-ups.
Nostalgic dishes or ingredients with perceived mood-boosting properties also provide comfort such as a warming plant-based turmeric latte made with almonds and cashews, for example.
In 2023, companies will create experiential food and beverages, thinking about the way a consumer feels when they are eating. One way to do this is by adding sensory inclusions. Dark chocolate with a rich dark colour or extra-indulgent ice cream and milkshake creations combined with crunchy roasted almond or cashew pieces are proving to be popular. This year is also bringing a new wave of plant-based foods and beverages, with the company’s proprietary research finding that 63% of US shoppers expect to use more plant-based products over the next two years. This interest is also reflected in Europe, where 58% expect it to increase.
Curiosity is a large driver for consumers trying plant-based products, with our EMENA research uncovering that 65% of consumers buy plant-based dairy alternatives as an opportunity to try something new. ofi’s nut ingredients can contribute to achieving the right flavour, texture and functionality for innovative plant-based alternatives such as a barista nut milk.
It’s time to get to the root of your ingredients – consumers are looking for demonstrable sustainable farming and regenerative practices. This means companies should be digging into production metrics like water consumption, agricultural inputs and diversion of waste streams. Manufacturers can also partner with suppliers and growers to support environmental causes.
ofi’s sustainability initiatives in the cashew, cocoa, coffee, hazelnut and almond supply chains are one way we’re working toward our purpose: to source, grow and produce ingredients that are good for consumers, farmers and the world around us.
For example, Cashew Trail is the company’s declared 2030 sustainability targets across the cashew supply chain from farm to factory. These are in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and include an ambitious goal to fight poverty and create economic opportunity by improving the livelihoods of people living in cashew communities and growing farmer yields.
With ofi’s expertise across cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts and spices, the company is well-positioned to help food and beverage manufacturers make the most of these trends. For more visit ofi.com