Avocados, flexitarianism and wellness are more than just millennial stereotypes, new Nielsen data for The Grocer’s annual Top Products survey has revealed. In fact, these lifestyle trends – most notably the rise of ‘clean living’ and cutting back on vices – are having a profound impact on the nation’s eating and drinking habits. Here are the top findings from the data.
The buzz around veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism is making its mark on sales, with meat-free products fuelling the extra £41.9m spent on chilled ready meals.
In a nod to the vegan trend, dairy-free is also booming. The top 11 dairy-free brands in the data amassed collective growth of £59.4m (24.9%). Finally, we’re eating more of our veg – volumes are up 1.4% as an extra 73.4m units were sold – while meat volumes are down 0.3%.
Nielsen’s research reveals free-from is now the fourth fastest growing category by absolute value, representing the health-conscious state of the nation. Meanwhile, sports nutrition is the fastest growing category by percentage, up 20.8% to £119.1m. Superfoods are also booming, with avocado volumes up 8.4% and blueberry volumes up 16.6%.
Cutting back on vices
It’s not just what shoppers are choosing to eat that is improving: smoking is also losing its appeal. Tobacco is no longer the fastest growing category in grocery, now sitting behind spirits, soft drinks, beer and free-from. Even the rise of the soft drinks market – up by £247m – is slightly deceptive. The rise in value comes amidst the introduction of the government’s soft drink levy in April, as volume consumption has remained flat. In line with today’s emphasis on health, the most sugary products are down as shoppers opt for healthier options.
When it comes to alcohol, consumers are going for quality rather than quantity and turning to smaller, more experiential alcohol brands. The fastest growing alcohol brands under £50m include the likes of Estrella Damm, Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin, and Diageo’s Hop House 13.
Fastest-growing grocery products of 2018
|Product||Actual growth (£ millions)||Percentage growth|
|2||Gordons Premium Pink||84.3||2586.4%|
Source: Nielsen Scantrack