Health is a big topic these days, whether it be ongoing debate around a sugar tax or brands clamouring to offer the best in the latest buzzword category. That could be ‘organic’, ‘superfood’, ‘free-from’ or a host of other terms. I think the longevity of this type of eating has proved it isn’t a fad, but a long-term lifestyle choice for both people with particular nutritional needs as well as those concerned with general health.
While there are many more products that cater for people cutting certain ingredients out of their diet, it can still be a struggle to follow a strict diet. No eating occasion makes it more difficult to stick to decisions than breakfast - a meal dominated by many of the ingredients that are out of favour. Many cereals are laden with hidden sugars, Continental options are full of gluten and the traditional English is dripping with fats. Consumers may need a little help to stick to their chosen dietary plan.
Next week marks National Breakfast Week (24 to 30 January) and with a spotlight on the most important meal of the day,an opportunity for retailers to revamp their breakfast products.
It is key to be on top of the trends to know which food types are currently out of fashion, or the one receiving the most negative press. While supermarkets, and even smaller stores, now have dedicated free-from sections, there is an argument for mainstreaming specialist products alongside their full-ingredient counterparts. Last year gluten-free brand Genius was trialled in the main bakery aisle of Asda and I believe this could be the way forward for these products. While many people are making the switch already, I think giving all products a level footing alongside each other will demonstrate the whole spectrum of products that are available more clearly to the consumer.
New year resolutions traditionally revolve around self-improvement and, of course, this often means weight loss and dieting. A 2015 YouGov poll found that 35% of respondents intended to lose weight while 31% planned to eat more healthily. Breakfast is just part of this, with consumers welcoming easier decisions and a more streamlined grocery shopping experience whenever they need throughout the day. Retailers that help their customers keep their resolutions going will improve customer loyalty.
In more than 20 years of trading Tree of Life has witnessed demand for health foods go from strength to strength. We have seen sales of natural, organic and health foods increase by around 10% year on year. Brands such as Navitas Naturals, Or Tea? and Lucy Bee’s have reported incredible growth. The health mantra is here to stay and retailers can help their customers eat breakfast like kings.
John Weaver is managing director of Tree of Life