Katya Witham
Katya Witham is Senior Food & Drink Analyst, identifying and exploring the major trends across various FMCG categories, giving invaluable insights into the German market.
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As demand for healthier biscuits grows in Germany, vegetables can provide a much-needed boost to the perceived health credentials of sweet and savoury biscuits.

The role of plants in food and drink is expanding at an accelerated rate, as Mintel’s 2017 Global food and drink trend ‘Power to the Plants’ states: the desire for healthier and ‘cleaner’ lifestyles is motivating consumers to prioritise fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and other plant-based ingredients in their diets. Younger consumers especially embrace the veggie-trend. They are more health conscious and care more about the environment than previous generations, leading many of them towards a plant-based diet.

Spotlight on vegetables

Vegetables, in particular, are playing an ever-growing role in the food and drink industry, making their way into a variety of product categories. Most notably, vegetables are increasingly pushing into sweet categories, from yogurt and ice cream to breakfast cereals, bakery and chocolate confectionery. In some cases, vegetables can also be used in place of fruits, often replacing fruit because of consumers’ concerns about sugar content.

The use of vegetables in savoury biscuits is well established in Germany. In 2017, vegetables as a flavour component were seen in 10% of German savoury biscuit launches, making it the fifth largest flavour subgroup behind seed, cheese, spice and herb. Harnessing consumer interest in superfoods and plant-based nutrition, savoury biscuit brands are increasingly experimenting with current ‘trendy’ vegetable ingredients, such as kale, spinach, zucchini, sauerkraut and various botanicals.

Vegetables have yet to find a new home in sweet biscuits in Germany

The role vegetables play in sweet biscuits is still extremely limited at present, with less than 1% of sweet biscuit launches featuring vegetable flavours in Germany in 2017. One possible reason for the lack of experimentation with vegetables in the sweet biscuit segment could be the fact that the concept of a vegetable overtly appearing in the title of a sweet biscuit product may run the risk of being off-putting for some consumers.
However, it is to be expected that consumers – and particularly younger and health-conscious ones – will become increasingly open to vegetables in sweet products, looking for new and interesting ways to incorporate more vegetables into their diets. As demonstrated by a number of novel products that have recently appeared in the European marketplace, sweet biscuits that include flavourful picks such as beetroot, squash, carrots, pumpkin etc., are primed to be a way to connect with sweet biscuit eaters who are looking for better-for-you attributes.

With a dedicated field of focus on Germany, Katya draws on her comprehensive knowledge of this market to identify and explore the major trends across various FMCG categories. She runs regular field research trips in Germany and brings hands-on experience from her previous role in the strategic development of private label at METRO Group.