Kosher, gluten-free and natural remain the Top 3 wellness claims, according to a report compiled by Todd Hale, retail insights thought leader and former senior vice-president, consumer and shopper insights, Nielsen. Organic food products also are on the rise, according to Innova Market Insights.
Bakers seeking a place among niche products should look at newer items hitting the shelves such as organic bread for children; organic, vegan, gluten-free and non-G.M.O. macaroons; and a line of square-shaped clean label buns.
“In 2017, strong niches will continue to be: more alternative ingredients, no additives or preservatives, non-G.M.O. and organic,” noted Cara Figgins, vice-president, Partners, A Tasteful Choice Co., Kent, Wash., in Baking & Snack recently. “This differs from some of the prior niche marketing — ‘gluten-free’ or ‘free from’ as a single product attribute.”
Partners launched its first gluten-free line of crackers and brownie thins under the Free for All Kitchen banner. While there is much emphasis on millennials, older Americans are addressing specific health issues related to aging. As these consumers become more educated about the relationship between nutrition and health benefits, niches such as increased fiber and whole grains will continue to evolve.
“Niche consumers tend to gravitate to products that are created as ‘natural’ and ‘performance based,’” said Kara Nielsen, an independent trend market analyst who researches for firms like Packaged Facts.
However, she cautioned, “There is an ‘authenticity gap’ when brands or companies try to replicate the success of another original product that offers new enticements. Not every brand can recreate the magic and gain customers if it just copies the success of some other product that successfully found a niche.”