Market Trend Snapshots: Personal Care, Dairy, Meat, and Frozen Foods

Today’s Take Five video quickly covers a few of the market trends that were discussed at Natural Products Expo West conference including personal care trends, a market that was drastically affected by the pandemic.

Quick hits:

  • Consumer trends and the pandemic are both driving drastic growth and change in the personal care market; last year Amazon personal care orders increased 83%.
  • Labels claims continue to impact sales in multiple markets as they target issues consumers care about.
  • Plant-based offerings are growing in dairy, meat, and frozen markets.
  • Innovations includes harvesting and upcycling ingredients, adaptogens and other “good for you” additions, minimalism, and small batch processing.

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Hi, I’m Kim Overstreet, Senior Content Strategist with PMMI Media Group. Today I’m going to talk about a few market trends that were discussed at the Natural Products Expo West conference this summer.

The first is the personal care market. The pandemic has had a massive impact on this market, especially when taken in step with other consumer trends like concern over sustainable ingredients and packaging practices.

One top line trend perspective is that innovators in personal care are focused on packaging responsibly. Waste and responsible packaging are important to both consumers and innovators, and minimizing a product’s footprint in turn lets consumers feel good about minimizing their own personal footprint. This is a powerful way to differentiate a business and build a loyal and dedicated consumer base.

Another top line trend is how label claims are impacting sales. Consumers are looking to avoid certain ingredients, and that is happening with personal care products as well as food. Products with labels that claim aluminum-free are up 22%, and organic is still a key driver, as are those labeled cruelty-free.

Products that are labeled paraben-free are up 9%, but those that contain parabens are down 7%, so it helps to promote clean label.

Using Amazon data as a beacon of trends can show us what is going to happen in brick-and-mortar stores in about 18 to 24 months. Personal care had a drastic increase last year of 83% year over year growth. The largest Amazon personal care sub-category was shampoo and conditioner, with around one billion dollars in sales in the last 12 months. Body wash was number two, followed by moisturizers and serums, cleansers and toners, and lotions, all with high rates of growth. Moisturizers and serums, for example, had a 64% year over year growth.

Now the growth in these categories can be attributed to changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic. Using more hand soap, or using more lotion for dry hands because of hand sanitizer, combined with stores closing or not wanting to shop physically in stores was a perfect storm for increased sales on Amazon.

Another trend mentioned is called skinimalism, or, using fewer products with a shorter ingredient list in a routine. Using different ingredient sourcing methods like wildcrafting, which is harvesting ingredients that grow naturally, or incorporating upcycled ingredients like coffee grounds or chai tea spices are other growing trends in the natural products personal care market. And products formulated to balance the skin’s microbiome are gaining popularity, as is addressing specific consumer subgroups and their personal care needs, with more products formulated for men or people of color.

In the first segment we discussed personal care market trends, and now we’re going to do a lightening round and try to cover three markets in two minutes.

New Hope Network and Spins provide the data for these market trends, and they said that out of more than 3000 U.S. shoppers polled, 23% reported that they would like to reduce animal-based foods in their household. In the dairy market, consumers want products that provide a unique specialty component or have an added wellness benefit. In the cheese and plant-based cheese category, the plant-based subcategories are growing at twice the rate of mainstream subcategories. Plant-based milks are growing in the double digits, but while the mainstream milk category has slowed as consumers purchase more plant-based options, label claims such as grass-fed and animal welfare are up 18 and 20%, respectively, year over year. Clean label claims on dairy creams and creamers are also making a difference, as those without artificial preservatives are up 17%. Oat is a popular plant-based ingredient, as are functional ingredients such as high-protein, adaptogens, DHA, or MCT oil.

Innovation in plant-based dairy is expected to grow with more gourmet, artisanal, and specialty items that use premium ingredients or new approaches like fermentation. Real dairy is innovating in areas such as nutritional profiles, sustainability, regenerative agriculture, ethical sourcing, and humane treatment of animals, among other things.

When talking about meat alternatives, plant-based seafood is considered the next frontier for meat alternatives. And for brands that have conquered taste and texture in other plant-based meat products, putting a focus on nutrition, with clean or whole-food ingredients, allergen-free, high protein, or low sodium, is the new focus. With regard to real meat, consumers are very interested in certifications such as 100% grass fed, USDA organic, free-range, certified humane, cage-free, and GAP certified, but a clearer understanding and better consumer education of what each of these titles mean is needed.

In frozen foods, brands are incorporating whole food, fruits, and vegetables to address macro and micro nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for on-the-go lifestyles. Meal kits is another trend targeting busy consumers, and plants are also showing up in this market, with plant proteins and hidden plant ingredients, as well as artisanal and small batch approaches to grains and vegetables.

And finally, specialty diet meals such as keto, vegan, and allergen-free are all trending in the frozen section, and this is another area where label claims are impacting sales.

Thanks for watching today's Take Five with Packaging World. 

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