Trends driving growth according to ADM: SupplySide West 2022 report

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At SupplySide West 2022, ADM released its report on Global Consumer Trends Driving Market Growth.

At SupplySide West 2022, ADM released its report on Global Consumer Trends Driving Market Growth. Some highlights from the trend report include Expanded Protein Choices, Balanced Wellness, Proactive Personalization, Earth-friendly Production, and Trust and Traceability, and Social Impact.

With Expanded Protein Choices, ADM found that 52% of consumers are flexitarians, and therefore looking for an expanded range of protein choices that include both animal-based and plant-based proteins. Among plant-based proteins, pea protein is among the most desirable, but the marketplace has a number of options that can satisfy a range of consumers. Sometimes, combining different plant-based proteins can create a product with the most desired taste and texture. Consumers also want to feel good about their choices, therefore plant-based proteins offer an alternative that is free from the association of animal exploitation, but animal-based proteins from the right sources can still communicate sustainability and positive animal welfare practices to capture consumers who want a guilt-free way to consumer animal-based proteins.

This feeds into the importance of Earth-friendly Production, Trust and Traceability, and Social Impact. Consumers want minimal impact on the environment and humane treatment of animals, a supply chain that can be traced back from the finished product to the source, and fair conditions and wages for the workers.

“Consumers are increasingly tuned into sustainability. They think about sustainability more broadly than they historically have,” said Brad Schwan, vice president of marketing at ADM to Nutritional Outlook. “For consumers, there’s the angle of sustainability which is about environmental sustainability and the angle which is about social sustainability. People care about where their food is grown and who’s growing it, and their wellbeing.”

Consumers’ ideas about health and wellness are broadening as well, said Schwan. The balanced wellness trend exemplifies the new mentality consumers have about what it means to be healthy. “Historically, people have thought about wellness being much more about their physical bodies, but now it has expanded so wellness [includes] physical, mental, emotional, [and] spiritual [wellbeing],” Schwan explained. “Consumers are thinking about it in such a bigger way. [For example,] consumers are really interested in sleep, rest, and recovery…as part of their overall wellness.”

According to Schwan, the broadening concept of wellness is making consumers more interested in the microbiome and ingredients that support the microbiome, with 58% of consumers perceiving gut health as having an influence on their entire body. That said, consumers are also looking for an overall product experience.

“We’re seeing consumers who are looking for specific ingredients like microbiome supporting ingredients ­– fibers, probiotics, postbiotics – but then the flavors and the colors that contribute to that overall product experience because that’s part of what contributes to these overall sensorial experiences that the consumers are enjoying,” explains Janice MW Rueda, PhD, vice president of nutrition science business development at ADM. “So, if they’re trying to support sleep, it’s probably not just a singular ingredient they’re looking for, they’re looking for that whole experience. The chamomile, the lavender, the glucose to get their brains through the night. All those things combined.”

Interest in the microbiome also feeds into the trend of proactive personalization. People are realizing that there may not necessarily be a one size fits all solution for achieving health and wellness. The microbiome is a good example because it can vary so widely from person to person. And now, because so many people understand how the gut can influence the rest of the body, consumers are looking for products they believe will fit their specific needs.

“It’s really about choices – that’s the operative word – and the ability to have those picks and make those picks for yourself and personalize with those choices,” said Vaughn Dubow, global director of microbiome, ADM. The microbiome space will only get more diverse as demand continues to grow and more money becomes devoted to research and development. Of course, this relates to a wide range of nutraceutical ingredients that continue to evolve.

Ultimately, consumers know what they want, and manufacturers should be listening. “Ten years ago, dietary supplement or food companies told consumers what to take, whereas now they’re asking consumers what they want to take and saying, ‘Here you go, we’re building what you asked for,’” explained Vaughn. “And that personalization has really shown through lately with people having so many choices.”

While there are a number of ways to get more granular with personalization, it’s not always necessary. “Everyone feels like they have unique needs compared to someone else so as long as you have those right claims, right ingredients, and can fit those consumer needs, that’s personalization,” said Vaughn.