Private Label,

PLMA – Private Label Manufacturers Association Expo – Amsterdam – 2024

Within the world of Private Label supply the Amsterdam PLMA show continues to be one of the hottest tickets in the retail Private Label calendar, bringing international buyers, best in class contract manufacturers and food consultants all together to share food and understand the latest trends driving growth opportunities. It runs each year and it’s great to see what is new, what is growing and the opportunity to meet new and existing businesses within the food, drink and non-food industry who all produce for Private Label.

Some of the key trends and themes that were apparent this year were not necessarily new, but the nuances had slightly moved on or taken a different direction as the trends become stronger and more widely adopted.

Plant Based

Plant based food remaining widespread but not as prominent as previous years. Cashew gaining popularity as a core ingredient generating a more indulgent or creamy mouth feel as a base for cream type bases in preference to coconut. With applications from cheese to cooking cream. I tasted cashew cheese in varying styles and flavours and probably be the best plant-based cheese I have tasted (and I’ve tried a lot)

Protein

Protein claims remain of high interest and were evident in nearly every product group from the established protein bars to water, mug cakes, sweet spreads and snacks. This is a nutrient claim that does not seem to be waning across all consumer groups and demographics. A great understanding internationally by todays consumers supporting higher protein innovation opportunities across multiple food groups for the food and drink sector.

Healthy Snacking

We are in a world where snacking or grazing throughout the day is now as important and part of the diet as the traditional 3 meals a day which means they need to provide more than simply food on the go, consumers are requiring more from their snacks in taste, sensory experience, responsibly sourced and added benefits or functionality. The category dynamics are changing innovative healthy snacks were once those seen only by challenger brands, with many retailer’s own label now targeting this areal due to the ubiquitous nature and mass of different targets consumers. Ultimately, it’s a high growth area disrupting adjacent categories and attractive to supply.

Wellbeing & Boosted Health Focus

A rapidly growing category within the wider snacking category that is growing in interest and product capability within branded and Private Label are functional foods and snacks that have a specific health or well-being claim. Nootropic and adaptogen ingredients are being used to support target areas alongside natural ingredients high in certain vitamins & minerals. Examples include fruit and nut mixes marketed as a power boosts which include almonds and cashews, high in magnesium. Biogena moments are a range of filled cracker snacks developed to provide a functional benefit such as beauty bites, immunbites and calm down bites all leading on the specific need of the consumer at that moment in time. Food is not just fuel but becoming a medicine or a tonic.

Penny in Italy are entering new ground launching a cancer prevention range that include vegetable burgers, ready meals and snacks.

Reducing Sugar and Increasing Veg

Alongside the rise in healthy snacking the focus on reducing sugar, whether processed or natural sugars continues to be reflected across an increasing number of categories, this is influences flavour selections towards savoury flavour profiles. Fascinating product innovation in this area already and a trend expected to grow. Torr bar showcased pressed bars with olive and seeds, tomato & pineapple & Beets & coconut. This trend is growing within the toddler and kids’ area too with products such as breakfast puffed rice with added carrot and toddler biscuits made with beetroot. Exciting, stimulating and one to watch as it grows rapidly

New Sensorial Experiences

A trend that has been rising over the last few years is that food is more than just a necessity, it’s an enjoyment and different sensorial experiences entice and interest consumers. New technology is driving this experience. Some inspiring new products that were showcased were freeze dried confectionery gummies that in the process grow in size and create an aerated texture, freeze drying isn’t new but using the technology in this different way creates a new sensation. Another new technology that has been showcased within Private Label as well as brand are airnuts, peanuts are ground down mixed with a touch of rice flour and seasoning and then put through an aeration process. Amos sweets showcased the Peelerz banana sweets, that had been trending on TikTok, the interactive confectionery line has an outside shell that can be peeled to reveal the softer centre. Another social media trend of bubble tea had been transformed into an ice cream to create those bursts of juiciness within the mix.

Air-Fryer

With the excitement and growth in air fryers it was possibly no surprise that products are being developed and targeted for them. This is an area where consumer demand for innovation is strong and building momentum. Consumers understand the cooking technology and the added or claim health benefits which combined with the sensory experience are each fuelling demand. Eye catching examples included nut mixes and seasonings to be heated and finished in the air fryer to create a warm and homemade snack and Pizzas and spice blends developed and marketed specifically to be cooked in the air fryer.

Looking for New Sources

Sustainability and food scarcity remains an important subject and it’s insightful to see varying ways business and new brands are looking to find solutions, connect with consumers and drive brand growth. A product showcased in the innovation lounge was Sea Water. A canned water that has been processed from using sea water and de-salinated, using renewable energy sources. Will this ever take off due to consumer perception of taste of salt, or does it feel too labour intensive or is it that its absolutely necessary to ensure there are more sources of water on the planet other than natural springs. Whatever the thoughts it’s interesting to see how businesses are looking at development and innovation and is always great to see.

Sea Water Private labelling

 

Prof. Provides Food Consulting Services for Your Business

As consumers and regulators drive change, Prof will continue to digest and provide our interpretation of the updates alongside the outlook and opportunity for growth.

In an increasingly competitive market, being prepared and innovative is essential. Understanding consumer desires, the competitive landscape and regulatory compliance, are key strategic notions to have considered.

Katharine Shipley, this blogs author is a UK based Associate of Prof Consulting Group, specialising in Customer driven Product Innovation and represented Prof at this years Amsterdam tradeshow

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