Which are turmeric’s biggest product opportunities?

October 21, 2020
Mike Straus

Nutritional Outlook, Nutritional Outlook Vol. 23 No. 7, Volume 23, Issue 7

One market researcher talks about emerging categories for turmeric.

Consumer interest in turmeric continues to grow as media outlets and wellness brands report on the ingredient’s functional benefits. Turmeric is showing up not only in functional foods and supplements but also cosmetics. As turmeric gains popularity through consumer media coverage and promotion by online influencers, brands are diversifying their product lines in response. Here are some of the products in which turmeric is growing its presence.

Snacks Go Nuts for Turmeric

Snack foods are fertile ground for turmeric. Innova Market Insights data indicate that turmeric products have held steady in snack food launches for several years. Snacks with turmeric or curcumin in the ingredients list accounted for 9% of all new turmeric product launches in both 2015 and 2019. One recent white paper on snacks by Cargill (Minneapolis) notes that turmeric is one of several emerging ingredients that brands are using to add functional benefits to snack products. While snacks have previously incorporated ingredients like protein and fiber, the report notes, the next evolution of snack food will involve ingredients that offer advanced functions and taste great.1

One example of this evolution is a mango turmeric cashew and pistachio nut mix by Nature’s Heart (London, UK). Launched in February 2020, this packaged snack mix includes cashews, pistachios, and mango chunks in a light coating of coconut sugar. With product claims like “vegan,” “plant-based,” “high-protein,” and “gluten-free,” this snack mix is one example of how brands are positioning turmeric snack products as a smarter way to satisfy a case of the munchies.

Spicing Up Vegetarian Ready-to-Eat Meals

Ready-meals accounted for a full 18% of all turmeric products launched in 2019, according to data provided by Innova Market Insights. As consumers’ lives become busier and more complicated, health-conscious consumers are looking for ways to supercharge their diets with healthy ingredients in as little time as possible. Much of this trend is being driven by Generation Z, who are 26% more likely to eat frozen breakfasts and 29% more likely to eat microwave dinners than consumers in other age categories. Despite their preference for convenience meals, though, Gen Z consumers consistently express a strong preference for healthier foods with claims like “organic,” “natural,” “vegetarian,” and “additive-free.”2

Brands are responding to this trend with turmeric product launches in convenient, ready-to-eat formats. For instance, in February 2020, Bio-Zentrale Naturprodukte (Wittibreut, Germany) launched its pre-packaged Lunch ’n Go Vegetable Paella with Curcumin. As consumers increasingly come to expect healthier options in the convenience foods market, brands that can package functional ingredients into a healthy convenience product will thrive.

Drink Up: Turmeric Teas, Juices, and Waters

Turmeric is appearing more often in beverages of every kind, both inside and outside the ready-to-drink sector. In January 2020, for instance, Clearspring (London, UK) launched its organic Japanese matcha turmeric tea. Turmeric is even finding its way into coconut water with the March 2019 launch of Cocofina’s (London, UK) organic Coconut Water & High Strength Turmeric.

While turmeric beverages still remain somewhat rare, data provided by Innova Market Insights indicate that new turmeric product launches in hot drinks and soft drinks grew by 1 percentage point from 2015 to 2019. Turmeric drinks remain a relatively niche product for the moment but likely appeal to particular subsets of health-conscious consumers.

Turmeric Products See Double-Digit Growth

Turmeric is quickly gaining ground, capitalizing on western consumers’ curiosity around exotic flavors and desire for healthier ingredients. While turmeric remains relatively unknown in product categories like spreads, according to Innova data, other categories are prime for innovation. Food and beverage launches involving turmeric grew by 10% per year from 2015 to 2019, according to Innova data, with the most popular applications involving ready-meals, sauces, and seasonings. As more brands launch turmeric products across various categories, consumers will become more familiar with turmeric, laying the groundwork for future segment growth.

References

  1. Cargill report. “Snacking solutions: Understanding the modern snack-food consumer.” Published online March 2020.
  2. Packaged Facts. “Gen Z adults seek foods fitting their busy, yet health conscious lifestyles.” Published online February 12, 2019.

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