Feedback from SIAL Paris

It is always inspiring to attend SIAL Paris, especially for its insights and research on worldwide consumer behaviour and expectations, food trends and new food concepts. This year was of particular interest in terms of the industry’s transitions and key issues emerging post-COVID. (Most exciting is when you realise that your company is on trend with its offerings and new developments).

You are what you eat. Consumers are increasingly opting for functional foods, in fact, since the pandemic, two thirds now choose products or ingredients designed to boost immunity. 71% of consumers have changed their behaviour over the past two years, mainly towards a healthier diet.

Tea, just like food, is no longer about simply satisfying a basic human need. It has evolved in line with health tendencies to blends containing active health ingredients. People also exhibit a greater desire than before to ‘get out there’ and experience pleasurable eating and drinking, expecting food not only to be visually pleasing but also to engage the senses. This has resulted in a much greater awareness of taste and good quality combined with new and innovative experiences. At the same time they expect authentic, natural foods that are healthier and safer to consume. This was evident in all the displays.

The drinks section at SIAL Paris was one of the most innovative on show.

  • Sugar has gone out of fashion, consumers want healthy and natural drinks.
  • Trend for tea-based drinks (white tea, Darjeeling, Ceylon, rooibos) with functional ingredients.
  • Natural flavoring used or real fruit/botanical extracts/concentrate (no sugar added)
  • Drinks based on collagen, moringa, mate, hemp and superfoods. Rich in antioxidants, minerals and trace elements.
  • Bold colour packaging and colorful liquids.
  • Cold brew tea with bold fruity flavours are big.

Product naming was specifically aimed at the health benefit, clearly telling the customer what to expect. Names such as Slimming tea, CBD Relax tea, Energy tea, Diabetes Control etc. abounded. Cold Brew teas, very popular in our hot South African weather, were very prominent and then the ever-present smattering of occasion teas, i.e.. Limited editions and ingredients, generic Christmas retail carton designs and Happy Birthday tea box gifting.

Ingredient trends still favoured ginger, hibiscus, turmeric, moringa and mint with a strong elderflower presence, Indian superfoods/Ayurvedic (an ancient natural system/science of medicine) teas, tulsi (commonly known as holy basil) and ashwaganda (or winter cherry). Popular flavours included blueberry, lime, passionfruit, peach, mango, strawberry, berries and watermelon.