We are seeing a rise in baby formulas and foods with some serious eco credentials, expanding the market offering of plant-based and free-from alternatives within this sector. This new range that follows stage-based nutritional standards, is aligning with the values of parents on both nutrition and climate change. So, what’s driving this new subcategory? As is often the case, several forces are at play when new product variants start to emerge, here’s some of the key drivers we have observed.
Protecting the world that will be passed on
There are growing fears by parents surrounding climate change and the future state of the world that their children will inherit. What may have once been a far-off concern for some, has become real and more tangible, as we experience first-hand (through extreme weather for instance) the effects of climate change on a global scale. This is causing parents to seek out foods and ingredients that will help them reduce their environmental impact and reach their own eco-goals, as people begin to take more of an active role in conserving the planet for future generations.
British formula manufacturer Kendamil are a good example of a brand helping parents achieve small changes that can collectively make a big difference. They source their Omega 3 (DHA) from sustainably farmed marine algae instead of fish oil, as found in most other formulas, in a move to avoid contributing to overfishing.
Raising children with the same sensibilities
An increased number of people are turning to plant-based proteins as an alternative to meat products, as they look to more sustainable and climate resilient sources of protein. It is of no real surprise that brands are responding to this shift in behaviour in the child nutrition category; creating products that appeal to parents who may be following a flexitarian diet and want to expose their children to the taste of plant-based foods from an early age, helping to inform their food tastes as they get older.
In July 2022, Danone launched a new Dairy & Plants Blend of infant formula under their Aptamil brand, answering into this very need. The first of its kind in the industry, the formula is made of 60% plant protein and 40% dairy protein, claiming to combine the best of both ingredients, and lowering environment impact by supporting regenerative agriculture methods and reducing carbon emissions. This certainly goes some way towards Danone’s ambition to have meaningful impact on reducing the carbon footprint of their products
Alternative sources of nutrition providing peace of mind
The recent baby formula shortage in the United States has put a spotlight on the sources of some ingredients for infant nutrition, causing affected parents to seek wider alternatives to meet their baby’s nutritional needs. Initially caused by supply chain issues related to the global pandemic, the formula shortage worsening in May 2022 with a large recall by the FDA of some powdered formula brands due to safety fears. In the face of this crisis and driven by a real fear and uncertainty around the nutrition of their children, we expect to see some parents more receptive to plant-based alternative moving forwards, as a means to achieve nutritional-security for their young children.
Parents seeking brands that take a holistic approach
Parents are not only looking for ingredients to support lower carbon emissions, they’re also demanding brands provide a holistic offering by supporting the eco-credentials of the product with that of the packaging and even production. Brands such as Danone’s Aptamil are responding to this scrutiny on the global stage, by using recyclable packaging for their powered formulas (including tin, lid, scoop and foil); while Kendamil, run their factory on 100% renewable energy, boasting the lowest carbon footprint in the industry with their British made formula using locally sources ingredients and packaging.
Understanding the motivations of consumers
Human-Centred Design (HCD) is an essential practice for unlocking consumer insights that drive meaningful innovation. Our Research and Design teams at PDD work closely together throughout projects to uncover the unmet needs and desires of people; ensuring the integrity of consumer insights is upheld from the early concepting phase all the way through the development cycle.
We recognise the uniqueness of each client project and select the most appropriate tools from our HCD tool kit to compliment the project scale and challenge, enabling us to take a flexible yet robust approach.
If you would like to know more about how we can help you unlock consumer insights to drive product development and expand into new areas, please get in touch!