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Germany launches most raw-food products in Europe

As raw-food diets become more popular everywhere in the world, a growing number of raw-labelled food and drink products are launching in Europe.

Research by Mintel, a global provider of market research, finds that Germany is taking the lead, having introduced 10,4% of the raw-food and -drink products* in the region in 2015. This is more than double compared to 2014, when only 4,5% of the total raw-labelled products were introduced in Germany. France, the second biggest player, accounted for 8% of product launches last year, followed by the UK (7%) and Finland (5%).

While Germany’s launch activity is currently the highest in Europe, raw-labelled products still accounted for only 1% of all natural-positioned food and drink launches in Germany in 2015. However, of all raw food and drink products launched in Germany in the past four years, 48% were introduced in 2015 alone.

“The raw diet promotes the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed or minimally processed food and drink as a means of a healthier lifestyle. The concept is based on ingredients that have been heated to a temperature below 48°C in order to preserve enzymes and nutrients. While the raw market is still very niche, it offers plenty of opportunities for manufacturers as the healthy lifestyle trend takes off in Germany,” says Julia Büch, food and drink analyst at Mintel.

The trend towards more natural options has made inroads in the German food and drink sector for some time now, as consumers grow increasingly wary of additives, allergens and chemicals in food. In a 2015 Mintel survey, 36% of German consumers claimed to avoid food and drinks containing artificial additives or preservatives, and 20% of Germans said they bought more organic food and drink compared to a year ago. Sixteen percent of German consumers said they were buying more food and drink products made with extra care and attention.

“The raw concept takes sought-after health properties a step further, offering not only the benefits of natural ingredients, but also of a more nutrient-preserving production process. The concept of unprocessed foods is attractive not only to strict raw foodies, but also a much wider consumer base looking for healthy products helping them to feel energised and lose or maintain weight,” Büch adds.

More than seven out of ten (73%) of German consumers say eating fresh fruit and vegetables is a good option for losing or maintaining weight, while 44% say the same about unprocessed food.

The raw label is not only a trend for fresh produce, but also for other foods such as snack bars, chocolate treats and spreads. According to Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD), snacks are the leading category when it comes to raw launches, accounting for 32% of raw launches* in Germany between 2014 and 2015, followed by dairy (18%), chocolate confectionery (12%) and bakery (8%).

Snack-bar launches featuring a raw label have shot up from 5% of all total snack-bar introductions in Germany in 2012 to 15% in 2015. The raw trend seems to hit a nerve with snack-bar consumers, as 42% Germans think that conventional bars are too processed.

Consumer interest in raw chocolate in Germany is also high, as 68% of Germans have either tried or would be interested in trying raw chocolate. While still accounting for just 1% of total chocolate launches, the share of raw chocolate introductions has increased six-fold in Germany between 2012 and 2015.

“While raw launches are certainly on the rise in parts of Germany, activity is still under-represented in a number of categories, such as cereals or soups. These white spaces offer future opportunities for both domestic and international brands. Raw food and drinks will continue to gain attention as consumer interest in ‘living foods’ – as a form of a naturally healthy, high-quality diet – is increasing,” Büch says.

*excluding meat

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