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Three Key Insights on the Free-From Trend

By Abbey Fuster

I am the youngest team member here at SPINS, but don’t let my 21 years of life experience fool you: I know a thing or two about the grocery store aisles. I probably can’t singlehandledly represent the whole of my generation – Gen Z – but I am confident in saying that my generation is inspiring a new product mix on store shelves. The contemporary consumer’s influence on product mix is especially evident in the rising free-from trend, and SPINS has the inside scoop.

SPINS’ latest webinar explores the confluence of factors shaping and advancing the free-from trend, including consumer desire for transparency; increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and food allergies; and a growing number of lifestyle diet trends and third-party certifications.

I learned a lot from the new on-demand webinar, presented by SPINS’ Director of Scientific Affairs Jamie Phillips, MS, RDN. In my time here at SPINS, I’ve been fortunate to see how SPINS’ proprietary product attribution offers a unique and detailed view of health & wellness products and trends and how they are transforming market. Here are three of my top takeaways from the webinar which I know will change the way I see things on my next trip to the grocery store!

  1. Transparency: people want to know EVERYTHING.

Transparency is no longer just a buzzword: it has become a necessity. In a world where “google” is a verb, it’s no wonder consumers require the whole story of what they ingest, apply, endorse, and use in their everyday lives. We want to know it all, and we want easy access to the information. FMI reports that 65% of all consumers seek out product claims to avoid ingredients which they perceive negatively, such as sugar, sodium, and trans-fat! On the other hand, 25% of consumers seek out positive claims, including the presence of specific ingredients or ethical practices. SPINS tracks numerous key attributes that fall into this second group, including Fair Trade and Labeled Animal Welfare, Cage Free, Free Range, Grass Fed, etc.

  1. Allergy-friendly products are on the rise.

SPINS’ Product Library tracks allergy-friendly labeling on packaging when an item is stated to be free from the eight most common allergens. SPINS’ data shows sales of allergy-friendly products have grown 35% over the past three years across food and beverage categories.

  1. Across all aisles: free-from goes beyond food.

Not only do the food and beverage segments show growth in clean label claims, but free-from attributes in body care are on the rise, as well.  SPINS’ attribution of these categories allows us to see that consumers believe it’s just as important to pay attention to ingredients going on their bodies as is in their bodies.

In just thirty minutes, Jamie Phillips covers a lot of ground to describe myriad factors with major effects on today’s marketplace. Dig deeper into changing consumer preferences for transparency, the impacts of health conditions, lifestyle diets, and more with  SPINS’ new on-demand webinar, A New Look at the Evolving Free-From Trend.