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2015 NBJ Special Diets Report

  • April 2015
  • -
  • Nutrition Business Journal
  • -
  • 145 pages

We have become a nation of food tribes. A whopping 44 percent of adults now say food restrictions, food allergies, or avoidance of certain ingredients dictate what they eat, according to a 2014 Packaged Facts report. Of those, one in three is trying to get off sugar, one in four is on a “high protein” diet, and 6.5 percent are “lactose free.” Many are motivated not just by a wish to lose weight but, rather, a “new lifestyle” inextricably linked with their social circles and stances on environmental and animal welfare issues. Nearly 1 in 3 adults is trying to go gluten free; one in 10 millennials is vegetarian or vegan; and as many as 3 million people identify with the “ancestral health movement,” a.k.a. Paleo, recent surveys show.

Executive Summary
Simply rejecting the standard over-processed American diet in favor of fresh food and home cooking used to be victory enough. But the special-diet landscape has fractured into massive subsets shaped less by outsider status than by forces of scale, consumer trust, and consistency. The gluten-free tribe represents a roughly $22 billion market segment, paleo has ridden CrossFit into the mainstream, organic is now an expectation, and entire brands live and die by adherence to—or avoidance of—terms like “non-GMO,” “plant-based,” and “local.” Overall, NBJ estimates that the special-diets category will reach $144 billion by 2018, a scale that has massive ramifications from farm to shelf. Last year alone, sales reached $92 billion, nearly 50 percent more than the estimated $64 billion total spent on natural and organic products. It helps to think about the path we’re on—as individuals and as an industry—in terms of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. Here we replace Maslow’s third and fourth levels—“love and belonging” and self-esteem,” respectively—with “health/body issues” and “food tribes.” For the purposes of this report, we’re focusing on that latter group, where food choices have moved beyond issues of hunger, availability, or even a vague desire to be “healthy,” to personal values and questions of actual identity. Diets in those the three levels get at how people eat. Those in the green section get at how people live and how they define themselves.

Unlike consumers—and this is important—brands that serve higher levels of the pyramid don’t have to cede the broad markets below them. Vegan products can be a gateway for consumers just waking up to ideas of healthy eating; free-from products can appeal to weight-loss dieters; and local beef works for anyone who wants a burger. It all depends on brand-level choices about positioning. Products and label claims that hit the intersection of the four remaining trends can be marketed to all or most consumers. (Think: organic, non-GMO.) Conversely, those that identify with specific trends trade potentially broad appeal for more dedicated consumers who are willing to pay a premium. (Think: sprouted grains, paleo, local.) There are certainly other consumer demands to consider. Sustainability and trust are two big ones. But those manifest in myriad
ways when it comes to food purchases. Some consumers might prefer almond milk due to concerns about sustainability in the dairy industry, while others who identify as sustainability-minded might shun almonds over concerns about California’s water crisis. Then there will be those carbon-footprint shoppers whose primary concern is that the almonds were grown within 100 miles of them.

This is all by way of saying that food tribe motivations range from health to emotions to ethics to personal identities. It’s a complex but fascinating landscape, and one rich with opportunities for brands who are clear about whom they are serving and why. This report hits at those questions with consumer surveys, interviews with industry executives and observers, and market data from NBJ and other sources—all compiled with the aim of quantifying important trends and identifying key opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers.

Table Of Contents

2015 NBJ Special Diets Report
Special Diets Overview 5
Executive summary .6
The food tribe landscape .8
Consumer survey 15
The emotional and psychological forces driving food tribe participation . 19
Gluten-free . 21
The gluten-free diet and its top drivers 22
Market overview and S.W.O.T. analysis .23
Product trends24
Sales and growth .26
Channel sales . 27
How brands differentiate in gluten-free 29
Gluten-free foods and the booming business of the microbiome 32
Mergers and acquisitions in the microbiome space .35
The gluten-free backlash in popular culture 36
Paleo 38
The paleo diet and its top drivers .39
“Peganism”: Opportunities in the paleo-vegan crossover .39
Market overview and S.W.O.T. analysis 40
Product trends42
Sales and growth 44
Channel sales .45
Paleo: Separating fact from fad . 46
Vegan . 48
The vegan diet and its top drivers . 49
Market overview and S.W.O.T. analysis 50
Product trends 51
Sales and growth .53
Channel sales .54
Infographic: The dairy-alternatives market 56
Plant-based brands finding success by reaching beyond the “vegan” label . 58
Biohacking 60
Biohacking and its top drivers . 61
Sales and growth .63
Channel sales .66
Sports nutrition . 68
Personalized medicine .69
The back-to-basics movement in sports nutrition 70
The cult of Bulletproof Coffee 71
Raw . 72
The raw diet and its top drivers 73
Market overview and S.W.O.T. analysis .75
Product trends 77
Sales and growth .78
Channel sales .79
Company Profiles 81
Amy's Kitchen 82
Bakery on Main 84
Beyond Meat 87
Boulder Brands 90
Brad's Raw Foods 98
Enjoy Life Foods .100
Epic Bar . 102
Gardein .104
Go Raw . 107
Hail Merry .109
Hampton Creek 111
Hilary's Eat Well 113
Ian's Natural Foods . 115
Lactaid/HP Hood . 117
Nature's Path 119
NoGii 121
Pamela's Products 123
Purely Elizabeth . 126
SO Delicious Dairy Free 129
Solazyme 132
Tofutti 134
Tolerant Foods .137
Definititions and Acknowledgements 140
Acknowledgements 141
Methodology 141
Disclaimer 141
Copyright .141
Definitions 142
Special diets . 142
Product categories . 142
Food and beverage . 142
Dietary supplements . 143
Sales channels 143
Supply Chain .144
NEXT Trend . 145

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