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30 July 2019

Winning the war on sugar and the implication for brands

Our founder and ECD Simon Forster hopped across the pond recently to attend the NYC Fancy Food show. Here's what he had to say: "Fancy Food is USA’s largest speciality food show, it's where we heard loud and clear that the western world is over its sugar addiction. As food and drinks manufacturers have changed their recipes to meet new guidelines, consumers’ pallets have started to adapt, with full sugar products falling out of favour. Brands are responding accordingly. We’re seeing Pepisco launch innovation such as Bubly, it’s unsweetened sparkling water, but the show was full of smaller niche brands that respond to this consumer need too. We met speciality drinks producers developing flavours such as pink peppercorn and tarragon as an alternative to sweet flavours and fruit producers developing freeze dried fruit covered in chocolate as a permissible treat. Indulgence is no longer ‘bad’, and treats can make up part of a balanced diet, it’s not a ‘this or that’ choice anymore.

This trend is emerging in the UK too. One niche, forward-thinking product to hit the mainstream is Bells & Whistles, an indulgent, free-from cakes from Lazonby that we created the brand and position for. It’s a nut and berry-based product that tastes amazing, but happens to be vegan, gluten free, milk free and wheat free, all the things that modern consumers are starting to demand.

What’s interesting and was apparent in New York, is that these smaller, speciality brands are responding to this consumer trend for healthier treats in an agile way and because of the size of the market in the US, just a couple of listings means success. It’s a smaller market in the UK so smaller businesses must work harder to cut through, which is where brand comes in. Having that point of difference to stand out above competitors is what’s going to help these emerging food and drink brands succeed and be fit for purpose for the future."