As consumers increasingly look to fit in meals around their busy lifestyles, interest in nutritious and convenient snacks is growing, fuelling the idea of smoothies as meal replacements. According to Mintel research, nearly half of German 16 to 24 year olds consider smoothies as a suitable alternative to breakfast. As a result, the market has witnessed the rise of a new generation of smoothies, with brands drawing on on-trend ingredients seen in the food sector in order to upgrade to “healthy snack” status.

Innovation in this segment has focused on the inclusion of plant-based proteins, which are increasingly embraced by consumers as they aspire for healthier and “cleaner” diets, as described in Mintel’s Global Food & Drink Trend Power to the Plants. Superfood ingredients such as quinoa, chia seeds or wheatgrass are high in protein, fibre, iron and calcium, helping to transform a regular smoothie into a naturally functional, tasty meal supplement.

Rabenhorst        Smoothie       True Fruits        Vegan to go

The current focus on plant-based protein has also opened the ground for innovation around smoothies enriched with popular non-dairy milk alternatives. Non-dairy milk alternatives have seen a strong rise in popularity over the past few years. With demand driven primarily by younger consumers, dairy alternatives have evolved from mere “substitutes” to products which are bought for their own sake. While still niche, non-dairy milks – in particular coconut milk – have made their way also into the smoothie sector, tapping into the plant-based protein trend while also adding to the richness of flavour.

Innocent, for example, has launched Protein Smoothies as part of its successful Super Smoothie range which is available in a number of European markets; the products are made with coconut milk and soya protein. Germany’s Alnavit has introduced two coconut milk-based smoothies which are said to provide the full superfood load. Another interesting example comes from Littlelunch, a German start-up company. Making overt advances into lunch territory with its brand name, the Little Lunch Organic White Smoothie is based on coconut milk, while also containing banana, dates, and energizing maca powder.

Innocent    Kakaozeit 1  Fruechtezeit Little Lunch

In an increasingly crowded field of smoothie innovation, “superfood” offerings are fast becoming standard, with brands having to look to fresh, on-trend ingredients to let their products shine. Protein-rich smoothies address modern consumer demands for both naturally functional drinks as well as for filling snacks that are easy to consume on the go. Beyond protein, there is an opportunity also for healthy fats, such as coconut oil, avocado, or nuts, to be added into smoothies for health benefits as well as an indulgent, creamy texture.

Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in delivering insights on issues affecting the German food and drink market, providing analysis across a range of food and drink categories. Previously Trend & Innovation Consultant at Mintel, Julia was responsible for providing tailored product innovation analysis and client support primarily to Mintel’s German speaking clients.

 

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