Snacking with a conscience: Free from and ethical messages gain importance in the organic sector

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Millennials are willing to pay more for organic snacks. Pic: GettyImages/ViewApart
Millennials are willing to pay more for organic snacks. Pic: GettyImages/ViewApart

Related tags Mintel Organic free from Ethical consumerism vegan plant-based Health and wellness Millennials Generation Z Environmental impact

Mintel research has revealed organic products launches with free from and ethical claims have experienced impressive growth over the past decade, especially in Europe.

According to the global market researcher, the number of organic NPDs in Europe with ‘suitable for’ – or free from – claims has risen from 20% in August 2009 to 43% in July 2019.

Likewise, the number of NPDs positioned as ethical and environmental increased from 23% to 41% over the same period.

Katya Witham, global food & drink analyst at Mintel, said organic claims are increasingly becoming part of the wider health and sustainable positioning, hence the popularity of launches with free from and ethical claims.

“Veganism/plant-based is one of the hottest trends in food and drink right now, so it seems natural that organic producers are linking the two. Plant-based organic brands are taking their lack of animal-derived ingredients to the next level, highlighting a more holistic approach,”​ she added.

Organic goes mainstream

There has never been so much choice for fans of organic products across the globe.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), new product launches with organic claims has risen from 6% to 10% in the past 10 years.

Producers are satisfying Europe’s ever increasing hunger for organics, with almost a fifth (17%) of all food and drink products launched today being organic.

Leading innovators include France (accounting for 22% of all organic launches in Europe between August 2018 and July 2019), Germany (20%) and Spain (9%).

However, it’s not just Europe enjoying a greater variety of organic products; North America, too, has seen a rise in the number of organic launches from 9% in 2009 to 15% in 2019.

Organic innovation is slightly less remarkable in Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, with only 4% of all launches between August 2018 and July 2019 being organic.

Mintel research found millennials and Generation Zs in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland are willing to pay more for organic goods and are the most likely to purchase them.

87% of Italian millennials claim to buy such products, followed by their German (86%), Spanish (85%) and French (81%) counterparts. Polish Gen Zs, on the other hand, are the crowd who are most interested in organic, with 83% claiming to buy such products.

“For younger generations, the social and environmental impact of consumption is of great importance and this is likely to help fuel future growth of the organic sector,”​ said Witham.

“Moreover, the prevalence of foodies among younger consumers creates an opening for more premium organic convenience products that are designed for the food-obsessed who want to eat well on-the-go.”

As such, although organic has gone mainstream, there is still room for more innovation across numerous categories, she noted.

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