How Natural Became the New Norm

June 14, 2019

The year is 1989. A third grader gloomily opens his lunchbox, less than thrilled to see his natural peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread with an apple as the side. He looks around to see all his friends feasting on fluffernutters on white bread, Butterscotch Krimpets® and Ecto Coolers. Fast forward to 2019, and that third grader would no longer be in the minority. Most parents today pack lunches made with whole wheat bread, fresh fruit and veggies, and organic drinks. Today’s supermarket is quite different than it was 30 years ago, when shoppers were not really worried about obesity, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or consuming processed foods.

Most of us are conscious participants in our own health and wellness and are aware of how eating habits contribute to a longer, healthier life. Consumers want whole foods made with natural ingredients whenever possible. A 2018 report from International Food Information Council (IFIC) stated that 7 in 10 consumers would be willing to give up a familiar favorite product for one that did not contain artificial ingredients. Of those who would, 4 in 10 would be willing to pay 50% more for it. The same report found that 78% of consumers made a change in their eating habits based on a conversation with a healthcare professional.

Leading the healthy eating revolution? Not surprisingly, it’s millennials. The largest U.S. age bracket, millennials are in the workforce, getting married and having kids (and packing those healthier lunches). As grocery shoppers, they look for healthy, organic, sustainable products for themselves and their kids. 52% of those who buy organic produce are millennials, and they are also driving a global shift towards plant-based diets. Often categorized as more open-minded and curious than previous generations, millennials are also more willing to try new foods. They enjoy new flavors, ethnic foods, locally sourced with a rising shift towards and vegetarian and vegan products.

RELATED READ: Frozen Foods Making a Comeback, Thanks to…Millennials???

Given the ongoing trend towards healthy eating, manufacturers and retailers are giving more shelf (and cooler) space to healthier, more flavorful food and snack options. According to a recent report from Nielsen, food growth in 2018 was driven by consumers’ demand for transparency, convenience, healthy solutions and flavorful snacks. “Healthy swaps” are one of the key trends on the rise – for example, cauliflower instead of rice or all-flour pizza crust, mixing mushrooms with beef for a healthier burger, or barbeque jackfruit as a substitute for pulled pork.

The healthy eating trend is here to stay, and it offers both manufacturers and retailers an opportunity to increase sales exponentially. Since cold and frozen products (especially single-serve products) are some of the highest margin items they produce and/or sell, featuring healthy products in prime locations within the store increases brand visibility and drives sales.

Instead of trying to compete with all of the other healthy or natural items in built-in coolers and freezers, brands can use a compact, solid state refrigerator or freezer to showcase their healthy products in highly visible areas (places where their competitors are not). Such placement at high-traffic, high-impulse locations increases brand awareness, interest and sales. And unlike the antiquated, compressor-based refrigerators and freezers of the past, solid state coolers are compact, quiet, clean and safe, with greater capacity, unrivaled temperature stability and smarter resource consumption.

With Phononic solid state cooling, you can take advantage of today’s healthy food trends by storing more of your healthy products and placing them where consumers are most likely to see them, such as on the checkout counter. Want to find out more about solid state cooling for your products? Get in touch with our Food and Beverage team.