Trends Spotted in the Netherlands

Trends Spotted in the Netherlands

Ever wonder what the inside of a shop inside Amsterdam looks like? Now you can get a little taste! Our intern Sydney took a trip to the Netherlands recently, and she took some snaps of awesome packaging that she saw. Here are a couple trends she spotted abroad. JUST ADD ______   There were a lot of pre-packaged goods that combined ingredients for ready made drinks and snacks. Teas with sweetener loaded onto a spoon waiting to be mixed into a cup of hot water were a favorite. “Festival in a Bottle” was an innovative way to add some excitement to a plain bottle of liquor with dehydrated fruits and spices. And for a delightfully simple mix-it-yourself refreshment, there were kits that included everything you’d need for a fresh gin & tonic.     QUITE THE CHARACTER The Dutch are embracing bright and bold colors, in contrast the modern packaging we typically see in the States. These eye-catching hues were seen in shelves all over stores. There were chocolate bars that sported vibrant, contrasting patterns that worked together in perfect chaos. In addition, there were a lot of whimsical illustrations and characters – even in products that aren’t necessarily marketed toward children. The shifty eyes on bottles of Karma Kombucha couldn’t be ignored when walking past the refrigerated section!      IN THE SPIRIT OF TRANSPARENCY One trend that’s clearly a hit across cultures is transparency – both in the literal, visual execution of packaging solutions, but also in the key messaging that brands are sending. The desire to eat “clean” has spurred a movement that pushes companies to lay everything out on the table – particularly ingredients. It...
The Growth of Nut and Seed Butters

The Growth of Nut and Seed Butters

Peanut butter is a classic protein packed snack that’s versatile enough to be combined with just about anything. For a long time, it was the only kind of nut butter that people knew of. With constantly evolving consumer dietary needs, we’ve seen a boom in “butters” made from all kinds of different nuts and seeds. Here are a few aspects of this growing category that brands are taking into account: Source PRESENTATION The demand for peanut butter alternatives has resulted in an influx of “butters” made from ground almonds, cashews, pistachios and more. Often at a higher price point, it is common to see companies touting the healthy benefits of their product. Nutraw’s pistachio butter features packaging that is more elevated than what you might associate with a typical peanut butter jar, reflecting the minimal ingredients (stripped down to just pistachios, coconut oil and vanilla). Similarly, butters are increasingly being made from seeds – even ones you may not have ever thought to eat. Sunflower and pumpkin seed butters have been heralded as friendly options for consumers with nut allergies. Watermelon seed butter is unconventional yet intriguing. Sakara’s version appeals to consumers based on its aesthetic alone. The cream colored product is complemented by equally clean packaging, suggesting its simplicity and quality. Source INCLUSIONS Inclusions and unique flavors set brands apart in this ever growing category. Sesame seed butter is traditionally known as tahini, a main ingredient in hummus, but it’s making its way more and more into the butter category. Ilka’s Chai Sesame Butter appeals to create a more memorable and unique experience when spread over toast or fruit. Big Spoon Roasters also offer various nut butter flavors, like Espresso and Vanilla...
Organic Snacking Reaches New Heights

Organic Snacking Reaches New Heights

Organic is a term synonymous with fresh, high quality foods that are free of harmful additives. Over the last twenty years, the consumer demand for organic foods has steadily increased, and thus the range of available options has grown exponentially. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry, with sales growing from $3.7 billion in 1997 to more than $43 billion in 2015, according to a recent report by the The Environmental Working Group. The fresh food spaces like dairy and produce have contributed quite a bit to this, because they are staples we can easily imagine making that “farm to table” transition. Yet, one of the most highly demanded organic categories right now is snacks. Lots of on-the-go snacking options are highly processed – the ingredients required to preserve, color and flavor them are often a far cry from natural, let alone organic. However, busy lifestyles with a health conscious mindset have set the desire for quick and healthy food options at an all time high.   Ahead of the Game The organic snacking movement gained a lot of its momentum in the form of small companies with big personalities, often breaking away from their conventional competitors with unique offerings.  There continues to be a huge space for these types of brands. Hippeas are satisfyingly crunchy and savory snack featuring an unconventional chief ingredient: chickpeas. Similarly, Barnana pushes boundaries with good-for-you indulgence in the form of “upcycled bananas”. Both are focused on sustainability and conscious eating. By consistently finding ways to bring unique options to the table, companies are keeping organic as fresh...
Interact Category Specialists: Chips

Interact Category Specialists: Chips

This beloved aisle in conventional and high end grocery stores alike, inevitably makes its way to everyone’s heart (through their stomachs). The chip aisle offers an abundant assortment of everyone’s favorite indulgent snack. Today, brands are doing a stellar job of catering to the new health trends and overall dietary needs of the masses by incorporating new, interesting oils into their recipes or just simply changing the main ingredient (which was once limited to just corn or potato.) A consumer now sees everything from root vegetables (notably done well by Forager) to chickpeas, to beans, to sweet potatoes, to rice. There is something for everyone (and more importantly, every diet).     GO AVOCADO One notable shift is how Avocado Oil replacing the previous big hit, Olive Oil. Various brands have jumped on this healthy oil kick such as chip industry darlings, Boulder Canyon and Kettle Brand Chips. Avocado Oil offers up benefits such as a heathy dose of Oleic Acid (a uniquely healthy omega 9 acid,) it has properties that lower cholesterol in your blood, has a high amount of Lutein (which is eye health happy) and the additional benefits for skin health are endless.     FLAVOR ADVENTURE We’re also noticing an increase in the varied amount of new flavors being added to the lineup. The list for different BBQ names alone could be a page long. Lay’s has created a reputation for coming up with fun and bizarre flavors over the years, such as Shrimp Cocktail and Southern Biscuits and Gravy, but are now in good company when it comes to testing the flavor chord. Kettle Brand stood out...
Trend Watch // Healthy Rainbow Food

Trend Watch // Healthy Rainbow Food

There’s something magical about adding some vibrant color to the foods we eat every day. Though we may now realize that artificially colored and sugar packed cereals are not the greatest choice for breakfast, we can still choose health conscious options with a little whimsy sprinkled in. Enter Vibrant and Pure’s Unicorn Toast. At first glance, it’s a slice of bread adorned by food colored cream cheese applied in a dreamy, painterly fashion. Upon learning more, we find out that those colors are derived from natural ingredients, like beets, tumeric and chlorophyll. These combinations of ingredients might not sound appealing by the sound, but it is truly a treat to look at. The End in Brooklyn, New York is serving up unicorn “lattes” – colorful concoctions that give a natural and healthy energy boost. These drinks get their beautiful blue hue from spirulina extract, which is known for its health-giving phytonutrients that stimulate the body and mind. While being vegan-friendly and containing nutritional powerhouses, these drinks have some serious appeal Is this simply a passing food fad, or is it the start of a long lasting trend? We could see this spilling over into the cold pressed category, and definitely the healthy snacking spaces for kids and adults alike. What do you think? Email us at blake@interactonshelf.com   Cover image source: Vibrant and...
Interact Category Specialists: Cookies & Candy

Interact Category Specialists: Cookies & Candy

As consumers grow more health-conscious, one might think that the cookie and candy category has seen its heyday. But has it? A revolution of alternative solutions for how we satisfy sweet cravings is underway – be it for advanced palates, discerning sweet tooth’s, or health conscious foodies.   GROWN-UP FLAVOR PROFILES As candy and cookie lovers have grown up, so have their tastes! With more adventurous palates, consumers are leaning toward sweet foods with exotic and complex tastes, often with contrasting flavors such as sweet, spicy and salty. These unexpected flavors are coming from all directions. Big brands like Toll House, Oreo, and Ghirardelli are releasing flavors like blueberry lemon, jelly donut, and bourbon caramel. Smaller brands like Little Secrets, Chuao and Smash Mallow now offer flavors like pumpkin pie, spicy maya and lemon chia seed.     PREMIUM SWEETS Sharper looking brands excite and inspire consumers by standing out in busy retail environments. As this category becomes more competitive, innovative sweet brands must not only provide solutions for a limited retail space, but also tell more of a story than their CPG counterparts. Small batches and niche followings give premium bakers and confectioners the flexibility to try new things without much risk. The demand for premium sweets is at an all-time high, with provenance and origin being key to their stories. We are seeing plenty of brands are adapt to consumer desires through elevated product positioning.   BETTER-FOR-YOU INDULGENCE Ultimately, consumers want to have their healthy food and eat their cookie, too. If you ask the average person whether he or she wants to eat healthier, the answer is almost always yes. However, not everything associated with cookies is trending toward Crossfitters and marathoners....