Seeds & grains poised to go mainstream in global food markets

Seeds and grains tap into many current market trends, from a clean label, natural and minimally processed, to free form and high protein. They are sustainable & align well with the mounting demand for vegan and vegetarian products, including diets like raw and paleo. While many such diet trends are often met with skepticism, the move towards more plant-based nutrition looks set to stay, particularly if meat- and dairy-free options can also deliver on taste.

Fewer, simpler & recognizable ingredients are the order of the day. Adding a wholesome dose of nutrition, flavor and texture to the packaged foods, seeds and grains are lately becoming more popular across categories. Oilseed includes sesame seeds, soybean, sunflower, cotton, canola and grain seed includes corn, wheat, rice, millet crops. Oilseed and grain seed market is expanding its appeal to mainstream consumers and tap the ballooning demand for the natural & organic foods in the developed markets.

Many packaged food trends start in fine dining, and sesame seeds were called out as an up-and-coming ingredient among top chefs last year. They were featured in salads, marinades, pastes, dips, sauces and even in desserts. A higher demand for sesame seeds can be chiefly attributed to the changing consumption patterns & increasing health awareness, especially in European countries.

The nutritional profile of sesame seeds makes it quite desirable for its vitamin, mineral, fiber, healthy fat, and protein contents. Cereal bars, like Sesame Honey Energy Bars, are in high demand in Europe. Innovative snack options, like the ready-to-use (organic) tahini, with black sesame and sesame milk, are also expected to boost the market for sesame seeds. With the welling up demand for sesame based foods and rising health awareness on the same, the sesame producing companies are getting a strong impetus to introduce seeds with high yields and better weather tolerance.

Meanwhile, consumer demand for many ancient grains has already reached the mainstream. Quinoa, for instance, leads the category with its enhanced applications across the culinary & packaged food assortments.

Just as quinoa’s popularity skyrocketed a few years ago, the industry trends reveal that hemp seeds may be the next ingredient to watch. Hemp increasingly has been in the spotlight as a nutritional powerhouse, particularly for its favorable protein profile. The ingredient finds its presence in a range of foods and drinks, ice creams, salads, protein bars, and breakfast cereal, and is poised to resonate with the mainstream consumers.

Latin America: The fastest growing market for Oilseeds & Grain Seeds

North America sets new benchmarks registering a record-high revenue in the global oilseed and grain seed market in 2017. Asia-Pacific is the second largest market of the segment and China drives this regional market. France generated maximum revenue in the European market, followed by Germany. The Latin American market is led by Brazil with an increasing area under soybean and corn. According to Innova Market Insights, nearly one-third of U.S. launches of snack nuts and seeds in 2018 featured seeds, claiming a hike of 26.5% from 2012. Seeds are also increasingly popular in bakery products like bread, savory biscuits, and cereal bars.

Notwithstanding sesame seeds, sunflower & pumpkin seeds being the most commonly used condiments, products containing hemp seeds have seen the fastest growth, nearly doubling in five years.

Meanwhile, the ancient grains are hitting the mainstream appeal across the global food industry. The use of grains is on the rise for their nutrition and clean label appeal, as well in gluten-free products.

The oilseeds & grain category has evidently disrupted the increasingly fragmented food industry and challenged the legacy brands to experience sales erosion. From 2012 to 2018, plant-based products claims in the U.S. grew at a CAGR of 35.8%, according to HealthFocus, with seeds and grains effectively adding more texture and flavor to plant-based foods. The Whole Grains Council imparted a significant boost to the ancient grains declaring them to be more nutritious than modern grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Emerging lifestyle trends & changing consumption patterns are creating newer markets for less processed and more nutritious foods. Ancient grains & seeds are on the brink of outrightly replacing the modern grains in many of the conventional food products.

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