Innovation at IFE

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simon waringThe one thing which excites all of us at the Green Seed Group is discovering genuine food and drink innovation. While every market has its own particular characteristics and requirements, this is the one thing which buyers everywhere are looking for to drive new growth in both retail stores and foodservice locations. New food and drink concepts – many of which are inspired by health trends from the US and Asia – often come to market first in the UK, then once tested and proven, cross over into other European markets and further afield.

If the UK is now viewed by many as Europe’s innovation hub, then the IFE, the International Food and Drink Event,, which takes place in London 19-22 March, is its industry platform. IFE is the biggest and most important UK food show and takes place every two years. It showcases the widest variety of pioneering food and drink and offers an unrivalled sourcing opportunity.

Health and convenience combine as the main stimulus for new product introductions in line with UK consumer trends: free from foods, healthy botanicals, sustainable snacks and condiments made from produce otherwise destined for waste, compostable packaging, tree water drinks, alternative grains and seeds, fresh meal kits, salad bowls, coconut with everything, ethnic inspiration, protein rich foods – especially vegetable proteins – and an explosion in food to go…. IFE is bursting with inspiration.

Among the 1,350+ exhibitors you will also find producers from 57 world markets in addition to the UK suppliers on show, and a range of stimulating seminars and events taking place.

The full international office network of Green Seed will be at the show and we would be delighted to catch up with you and help with advice, introductions and information.

Click here for free registration

Access to the show is very easy: the Excel exhibition centre is just 1 mile from London City Airport and special air fare reductions of up to 20% have been negotiated with British Airways and Cityjet from a number of different locations, which you can access here.

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

Managing Director – Green Seed UK

ife frise


Pots & Co Bring British Elegance to French Stores

The culinary arm of European integration has continued to flourish during the last year, exemplified by classy British desserts company Pots & Co’s seamless arrival on French super- and hypermarket shelves. Reception of these beautifully designed ‘Exceptional Puddings’, now in Carrefour stores, has been warm, with eager anticipation of listings in further supermarkets and much curiosity focused on their « so-British » origins.

Indeed, with creator Julian Dyer having been dubbed a second Jamie Oliver, it seems that British charm has also played its role in winning the French press over. One could say that the Anglo-Franco love affair has come full circle in the case of Pots & Co when taking into account Dyer’s professional origins as a trainee chef in Bordeaux.

It’s not just the enduring amity between our two countries that has provoked such positive reactions, but also the meticulous attention to detail in terms of ingredients and design which intrigues. Consumers have been encouraged by the press to see the ceramic pots as items to collect, while the brand’s commitment where possible to premium and preservative- and artificial colouring-free ingredient lists has also been noted. The use of Devon cream and Cornish sea salt – comforting, regional British exoticisms de luxe – invited praise from , keeping in with the French trend of liking to know where their food hails from.

It is success stories such as these which encourage faith in British-European market relations after the Brexit vote, and we expect implantation of British products abroad to continue inspiring enthusiasm and confidence in business as they have in the past.

(Sources : Trade Press – Linéaires, LSA &, 2016)

Fairtrade in Growth

UK Manufacturers Doing Well in Nordic Countries

Strong brands at home in the UK are doing well in Nordic countries, performing the same abroad as they have done in the UK. Kettle Chips is the fastest growing brand of premium crisps in Denmark, Cafedirect is expanding its Fairtrade business and Tiger Tiger sauces are going into major distribution. Success is a result of focusing on what you are good at at home, and then adjusting to and transferring this capability into new markets. These achievements are the result of 2-3 years’ preparation

Jakob True
Green Seed Nordic
Managing Director


UK Food To-Go Market Booming

The UK food to go market is booming and growth looks set to continue. It accounts for some 25% of total eating out spend and is the fastest growing part of the market. IFE will showcase dozens of suppliers capitalising on this trend.

According to retail analysts IGD the food to go market was forecast to be worth £16.1 bn for the full 2016 year – an increase of 6.8% on the previous period. Growth is coming from specialist food to go specialists like Pod, with increasingly health-driven menu propositions, but also coffee specialists with wider lunchtime options, evening food and seasonal ranges, and convenience retailers with dedicated food to go counters and changing food offers for different times of day.

Supermarkets are trialing new ideas alongside the traditional sandwich and snack menu, and quick service retailers increasingly offering salad and other healthy options.


The Snacks Market in Spain

The snacks market in Spain is experiencing accelerated growth as compared to other food categories on the back of several factors: innovation in new seasonings, new products for new types consumption and new brands and operators coming into play.
The total market including snacks and nuts has achieved in 2016 a record size of 300.000 tones with a total value of €2,000 million growing 3% in volume and 1.5% in value.

If we focus on the snacks category (125.000 tonnes and €850 million of sales in all channels), a significant growth can be seen in premium presentation of crisps with new seasonings, crisps with healthy attributes, corn based products for dipping and tubes of crisps. The balance of branded products versus Private Label remains stable with a 51 vs. 49 % ratio in the modern trade channel, which accounts for 73% of total sales in volume and 68% in value, with the balance being sold in the strong food service and traditional channels.

The key levers in the developments of this snacks category are:

1. New types of consumption driving extraordinary growth of corn based nacho/tortillas and preformed chips for dipping
a. The Nielsen panel has just issued a report showing the importance of dipping as a vector in socialisation of consumption normally in the afternoons/evenings
b. The so called “aperitif” moment is driving growth specifically in artisanal style crisps
2. The dichotomy of the pleasure versus health driving developments to their extremes:
a. Innovative products based in “pleasure” factor developing new seasonings, BBQ style, cheese based, etc. and packaging as for example crisps in tubes which are growing particularly at a rate of 20%+ according to IRI agency data

b. Innovation based in the “healthy” factor using natural ingredients and fewer preservatives and artificial flavourings. In this sub-segment the “veg crisps” are arriving on the shelves with a significant growth rate

3. The operators are investing again in production and packaging facilities after some years of low levels of innovation. Local companies as APEX, Tosfrit or Grefusa are investing amounts circa the mark of €5 million according to a latest report issued by Alimarket magazine. Also worth noting the introduction of Japanese and South African companies with new snacking concepts based in peas, dried fruit and dried meat or fish.

The Netherlands

UK Company Symington’s Brings Innovation to the Dutch Instant Snacking Category

After a successful start in Jumbo and Superunie member Deen, number one Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has started to work with UK company Symington’s. Since June 2016 the two brands Naked Noodle and Mugshot are available at Albert Heijn in a nationwide distribution. Mugshot is a convenient, tasty and healthy snack for busy and on the go snackers who are still health conscious. Naked Noodle offers different authentic pan-Asian noodle recipes aimed at “foodie” instant snackers and is available at Albert Heijn in three egg noodle and two rice noodles variants. Since the listing both brands have contributed to strong innovation of the category and have been adding substantial value to the instant snack category in Albert Heijn. Symington’s is an excellent example of the potential that innovative UK brands can have in the Dutch market.


Italian Consumers in Search of Premium Products, Despite the Crisis

In Italy, as in the rest of the world, consumers are increasingly looking for products that can attract them both rationally and emotionally. Despite the recent period of economic crisis with 44% of Italians today declaring that they do not consider their economic position any better than five years ago, premium products are nevertheless showing strong growth (i.e. all products with a price 20% higher than the market average). In fact, data shows that the growth of these products is stronger than that recorded in most of the market FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) categories to collectively generate an increase in value of 15.6% over the last year.

It is also interesting to note that this phenomenon is often related not so much to leading brands but to niche ones, that increasingly over the past years have adopted winning differentiation strategies with respect to the rest of the market. These brands have understood that in Italy it is not simply a matter of price; indeed, only 15% of consumers define a product as a premium due to its cost. This scenario is what emerges from the Nielsen Global Premiumization Survey where 30,000 internet users were interviewed in 63 countries, including Italy, to analyze the behaviors and habits of consumers specifically in relation to ‘premium’ products.

What are then for Italians the peculiarities that identify this type of products? In line with other European countries, the quality of ingredients and materials with which they are made is the first requirement for the 45% of consumers. This is followed by the offer of functions / higher performance than other products, the ability to do more things than the rest of the market, but also the offer of a superior customer experience (respectively 39%, 34% and 30%). In line with the trend of recent years, the research also shows how the attributes of “green” products are translated into a strong premium potential. Italians in fact claim to be willing to pay a higher price for environmentally friendly products (20%) and even more for those composed of natural and organic ingredients (22%).

It is therefore not surprising that the consumers surveyed indicated fresh produce as the categories in which they are willing to spend more: 31% for meat or fish, 26% for dairy products (milk, yogurt or cheese) and 23% for bread and bakery specialties. 17% were also willing to spend more for rice and cereals, compared with 9% in France and 8% in Germany.

It is important to remember that there are many different methods to entice consumers to try new premium products. While in fact, Italians personally do research before deciding to buy a premium product (33% of them), 25% make purchases based on word of mouth from friends and family. However, for companies brand image remains essential in order to convey their brand message and emotionally engage the consumer as emotional impulse buys still account for 22% of premium purchases by consumers.


Innovation from the UK

The British food and drink industry has a long and celebrated history in the field of innovation. This was helped by the ground-breaking trends of leading food retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco who recognised earlier than most of their competitors in Continental Europe that the way forward to develop successfully and profitably was to create a valuable brand around the company name, develop private label (building the brand and not just to concentrating on price) and focus on innovation to differentiate from competition.

There are many examples of product categories / brands from the UK where this home-based innovation was proved to be transferable to a strong, price-led market such as Germany. It starts with the whisk(e)y category where malt whisky has developed strongly over the last 20 years. And more recently, Kettle Chips have shown there is strong growth potential for a more discerning target-market in the premium potato chip market. Similarly, in the biscuit segment, Walkers has established itself firmly through a consequent skimming strategy, just concentrating on top quality distribution channels.

Since last year, the UK No. 4 chocolate manufacturer Kinnerton has selected also just a targeted number of outlets for its Magnum chocolate range using the license from the Unilever ice cream brand. British suppliers / retailers are renowned for their skill and expertise in chilled food and in general for short shelf-life products with extremely high taste expectations. A good example of this is GÜ chilled desserts which over the last 5 years have been well received by the German trade and consumers.

A visit to IFE near London City Airport on March 19 – 22, 2017 is a good way for food / drink buyers to see what future trends are and to link this with store visits to see in which direction the market is going.


Jordans Cereals Lead the Belgian Wholesome Category

When Jordans first entered the Belgian market, the breakfast category was still dominated by the traditional jam and spread products. Cereals were still very much in their infancy and centered around the standard flake and children’s offering. Mueslis and granolas, on the other hand, were mainly to be found in specialized health stores.

The British cereal manufacturer quickly established itself as the leader in the development of the wholesome cereal category in mainstream retail. With consumers looking for more authenticity and natural ingredients, Jordans was able to respond to fast evolving needs by offering a high quality natural product range which would soon take prominent place on shelves and be recognized as a category destination.

Highly recognizable from the start in its bag format and strengthened by a very loyal consumer base, the Jordans brand evolved further with its innovation of the crunchy muesli category. Next to its core Original Crunchy and Country Crisp ranges, Jordans has since then successfully launched its Super Berry Granola and Jordans bar products, answering the need for even more wholesomeness.

The wholesome category is clearly growing and supported by a number of macro trends, which will continue to drive its development over the forthcoming years. Health, transparency, simplicity are all but a few of those trends but they cannot come at any price. Brands indeed have to understand that consumers are not prepared to compromise on taste, a fact that Jordans has fully embraced.

North America

2017 Outlook: US Import Opportunities Improve

The 2016 Presidential election saw a period of uncertainty for many importers into the United States; with both candidates promising sweeping international trade policy reform. With major financial market volatility, business planning and capital commitments for international business expansion became even more challenging.

While at this point, it’s still too soon to foresee the total impact of the political change; it’s predicted that conditions for importers from certain trade zones notably the UK and Europe will improve.

For example, the UK and the US, with their newly elected leaderships and shared post-Brexit values, will continue to bolster and support each other’s international economic growth. For UK food manufacturergerms, this foreshadows a great opportunity to expand their businesses overseas to the US.

Another near-term factor is the impact of currency exchange rates on UK and US trade. The current decline in the Sterling against the US Dollar is good news for UK importers into the US.

This is an opportunity particularly for UK food companies to increase their US marketing programs or even establish a US entity to fully reap the benefits of the improved conditions. Also, UK business could see an increased opportunity to be acquired by a US entity.

For more information on this and on expanding your business footprint to the US, please contact Green Seed Group North America at