Free-from continues to enjoy healthy growthWritten by Anjali Dattani
‘Free from’ is currently the No 1 emerging ingredient trend with 25% of all females, and 16% of all males, purchasing free from, with almost 40% of free from consumers believing that free from products are healthier. The total annual free from sector is now worth around £522m and growing at 14% year on year, with the ambient category – which includes healthier snacking products – accounting for the lion’s share of this at £327m.
‘Lifestylers’ now account for 87% of free from consumers – quite a swing from only 10 or 15 years ago when a gluten intolerance automatically consigned you to an often dreary and restricted diet. Increasingly influenced by, and understanding the benefits of, a free from diet, lifestylers are driving the category like never before.
With over 40 years heritage, Eat Real is the fastest growing ‘Free From’ snack brand in the UK. Eat Real was first launched in 2013 and is now worth nearly 35m, since we have launched, we have won several awards within the Food industry both in the UK and worldwide.
With the popularity of free from and plant-based diets showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, the healthier snacking category has enjoyed another bumper year with growth up 37.5% in value – and according to healthier snacking brand Eat Real, it parallels the choices that consumers are making.
“As consumers experiment with the ever-growing range of free from products available today, they’re realising they deliver big time in terms of taste, texture and health benefits – and this is only going to drive growth long term,” comments Debbie King, Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing at Eat Real.
“The shift towards healthier and free from eating has led to an explosion in popularity with many people actively seeking out great-tasting healthier snacks in preference to more traditional products,” adds Debbie.
Wider social trends in healthier snacking are no doubt driving change but changing shopper lifestyles are also playing a part in this shift in attitudes. With 68% of free from spend coming from under 28 year olds, Millennials are clearly leading the charge.
Time poor, more informed and more likely to snack more frequently than previous generations, Millennials and Gen Z are putting health very firmly at the top of their agendas and actively seeking out more diverse flavours and healthier snacks in preference to more traditional products. They’re also a major force in the growth of all-day snacking.
“More than half the population is now buying into the ‘better for you’ category but they don’t want to compromise on flavour,” adds Debbie. “They’re much more discerning, with lifestyle and dietary choices a priority, and they’re increasingly on the lookout for healthy snacks which fuel their bodies but don’t compromise on taste.”
Eat Real’s wide range of healthier snacks are its Hummus Chips, Lentil Chips, Quinoa Chips and Veggie Straws. Free from all 14 declarable allergens and artificial ingredients (perfect for sharing with no risk of cross-allergy contamination or intolerance), they’re also suitable for Vegan, Kosher and Halal diets and come in a wide range of classic and innovative on-trend flavours.