- Still more evidence that U.S. consumers are moving away from processed foods and toward healthier, more natural foods has been documented by a recent report from Fung Business Intelligence Centre, "The Middle-Aisles Exodus: US Shoppers Flee to Healthier, More Natural Foods."
- More than three-quarters of companies reported increased sales of health-related products in the past year, according to the 2015 Whole Health Survey from Supermarket News, cited in the report. Sales of products that were gluten-free, local, organic, and/or non-GMO rose the most, the survey said.
- The report said that this trend will likely "trickle down to mass-market consumers, and economic recovery is likely to strengthen them."
The report predicted that the industry will see more acquisitions of health foods companies in the coming years, such as General Mills' acquisition of the Annie's health food brand last year and Hormel's acquisition of Applegate Farms earlier this year. Fung said that these brands "have long been dependent on middle-aisle categories as they seek to tap growth elsewhere."
Many major food and beverage companies are looking to smaller, fast-growing manufacturers creating products that health-conscious consumers support. These larger companies can capitalize on that sales growth and absorb the talent and ideas that could contribute to expanded product development in those categories, both for the smaller and larger brands. At the same time, these major companies are balancing these efforts by also trying to make some of their own staples healthier and free from artificial ingredients.