Free-from, vegan diets, heritage and health were four key product trends identified at this year’s ACS Summit that convenience retailers need to tap into.

Speaking at the Summit at the end of last month, Jane Milton, a food industry expert, urged retailers to tell their shoppers about ingredients in their food to earn their trust.

“Knowing where ingredients are from makes people feel safe and makes them think the product is authentic, giving them a perception of quality,” she said.

Despite changes in the way food is eaten, such as the increase in grab and go snacks and meals, she said traditional flavours like barbecue are still the most popular as they are familiar to shoppers.

Milton also pointed to the increase in coffee shops that currently only offer sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free products, but do not label them as free-from to appeal to all shoppers without putting people off. 

Products with heritage are also seeing a surge in popularity. “We’ve seen English Heritage bring chutney to the market. I can imagine Nisa’s Heritage brand doing well by tapping into this,” Milton said.

Meat reduction is another key trend prompting interest in alternative sources of protein, such as cricket flour, which can be used to create biscuits and cakes.

“There are a number of people who want to eat less meat because it takes a lot to produce, but will miss it, so they are looking in stores for alternatives,” she added.