BioFach 2023: Fruit d’Or addresses market differences in US and Europe, spotlighting labeling limitations
16 Feb 2023 --- Canada-based Fruit d’Or, the second-largest producer of cranberries globally, highlights regional differences between European and American markets, notably how US consumers are “bigger snackers.”
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with Anne Létourneau, VP of sales – ingredients division (US), and Gregory Ford, sales director for Europe at Berrico FoodCompany, from the show floor of BioFach 2023, in Nuremberg, Germany.
“In North America, snacking is a key trend that is evident,” flags Létourneau.
“Our no-added-sugar cranberry. It’s more like a candy or a snack, but it’s healthy,” she discusses, adding how consumers in North America are bigger snackers than in Europe.
At this year’s event, Fruit d’Or brought two new products to the stand. A new wild blueberry with no sugar added and a cranberry with no added sugar, which is soft, moist and more crunchy.
“We are tapping into the demand for clean label and products that have less sugar but are as close as possible to the real fruit,” continues Letourneau.
Organic demand creeps up
Berrico FoodCompany works with Fruit d’Or to distribute cranberries in the European market. According to Létourneau, both companies were “born because of the demand for organic cranberries.”
Meanwhile, Ford believes that organic is part of a key strategy for retailers.
“If you have a high penetration of organic produce, these are generally related to dairy, yogurt, then vegetables and meat and then it goes into convenience foods and final products.”
Letourneau believes that the US market will become similar to European markets from an organic standpoint, “but in ten to 15 years.”
“We see a big trend in Europe that the European organic certificates are no longer enough for the organic market,” notes Ford. “The market is further fragmented with different types of certifications. Different retailers are taking themselves out of the organic sector by saying they do not commit to organic but instead to ‘natural’ applications,” he says.
So, this means that the number of products that can go into the organic sector will differ; some can participate, but others can’t. “So, it will be interesting to see how these commitments to these additional certifications will affect the organic market as well,” Ford comments.
According to Letourneau, you don’t see this in the US. “It’s the regular certifications, which is enough. They don’t have additional requirements, but if you can sell your product in Europe, you can sell it around the world.”
“The standards here (in Europe) are the highest in the industry,” she says.
Cost impacts on impulse purchases
Notably, impulse buying is where the snacking takes place, he asserts. “However, impulse buying is reducing this year, compared to last year, where we are seeing a rise in demand for cheaper food solutions,” notes Ford.
“Consumers are more likely to spend their money on bread rather than snacks. But we are optimistic that it will bounce back again, but organic growth has good potential. ” he explains.
Undoubtedly, the Nutri-Score system used in Europe favors “proactive nutrition,” adds Ford. But he also suggests that many national dishes “would not be scored very well, and ultimately seen as unhealthy.”
“The culture is very much involved in that, so it is rebranding, something that this perceived might be different, but overall, it’s a tendency for some markets.”
For instance, the UK is “well-ahead” of other markets in terms of high fat sugar and salt (HFSS), and Ford believes this is causing the organic markets to be very compliant, meaning that this will become the new norm, he concludes.
By Elizabeth Green, with additional reporting from James Davies live from Biofach, Nuremberg
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