This is always my favourite time of year for two reasons. Firstly we launch our new brands for 2016, and this year we did that through 5 launch events throughout the UK. In addition to that it is “show time” so lots of opportunity to see what new products we might look at later this year or for 2017. Yes, the planning never stops!
So, what do I think are going to be the big winners in 2016? Clearly one of the most talked about subjects within the food and drink sector at present is sugar, so products with lower sugar or even no sugar are set to trend. We have launched a range of spring water drinks called “Just Bee” which are sweetened with honey rather than sugar and developed by beekeepers. Actually anything to do with bees seems to be quite trendy at present.
Drinking soups are set to trend this year. Healthy, nutritious, no sugar again and the ultimate food on the go. Look out for Cho – a gazpacho-style range of drinks from Spain aimed at 20-35 year olds, although I love them too!
Fermented foods have been around for ages – particularly in Germanic and Eastern European countries, but suddenly more fermented food is becoming available to the mainstream in the UK. Love Kombucha is made from adding a culture to sweetened green tea and is also naturally low in sugar. The Cultured Food Company makes the more traditional sauerkraut products but in Ireland and have also added to the range, Kimchi, which is a traditional Korean product.
Finally, where would a discussion on trends be at present without a mention of birch water (TreeVitalise as seen on page 29 of Speciality Food: Drinks Buyer Magazine), which is hoped by some to become the next coconut water. Five brands have launched within the last 6 months, so, for their sake, I hope so too!
Paul Hargreaves, Chief Exec | Feb 2016