Dominated by trends like low-sugar, low-alcohol and gluten-free, 2015 was a year when what products didn’t contain became almost as important as what they did
Tipped to be one of the big trends of the year, 2015 saw several big brands produce their own take on ‘personalisation’. Lauched in time for Burns Day, AG Barr’s campaign saw bottles of Irn-Bru dressed up in 57 different clan tartans, with consumers encouraged to find their own tartan on shelf.
Ferrero aimed to capitalise on the trend with a £1.7m campaign, ‘Your Nutella, Your Way’. Consumers were given the opportunity to put their own name on the label of one of 5.8m promotional jars.
Unilever launched a similar campaign for Marmite to “tap into the growing demand for personalised products”.
One of the major flavour trends in 2015 was salted caramel.
Mars got the ball rolling in February, aiming to bring what it saw as “the major food trend of sweet and savoury” to the mainstream chocolate category with Galaxy Salted Caramel.
Its launch was followed throughout the year by the likes of Butterkist Discoveries Salted Caramel, Mackies Salted Caramel ice cream and Cadbury Marvellous Creations Salted Caramel and Sour Cherry.
Similarly popular was pulled pork, which many positioned as the taste of the summer.
Tulip launched canned Pulled Pork in March. Butterkist Discoveries Pulled Pork launched in June, closely followed by Chicago Town Takeaway BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Crust pizza and Ginsters Pulled Pork Slice.
Batchelors made its own contribution in November with ‘Deliciously Thick’ Southern Style Pulled Pork Cup a Soup.
With the public health row over sugar continuing to make headlines through the year, a number of soft drinks manufacturers launched low and no-sugar products to offer consumers a lighter option.
Rockstar Energy Water was a new launch through AG Barr, containing 50% less sugar and caloriess than standard Rockstar.
Other lighter energy drinks to come out in 2015 included Relentless Mango Ultra Zero Calories and Bulldog Power Zero Calories, while September saw the launch of Lucozade Energy Reduced Sugar Tropical Fusion.
In October, Britvic Soft Drinks launched a sugar-free variant of Tango Orange. At the same time, Innocent unveiled Light & Juicy, a range of juices naturally 30% lower in sugar.
At the tail end of 2014, new drink driving rules were introduced in Scotland, leading some to wonder if the boom time for low and no-alcohol beer and cider had finally come.
Kopparberg extended its range of alcohol-free cider in time for ‘Dry January’ with the addition of Stawberry and Lime.
Carlsberg UK introduced two no-alcohol products to its San Miguael range this year – San Miguel 0.0% and San Miguel 0.0% Limon, as well as Non-Alcoholic Krombacher Weizen and its own Carlsberg 0.0%. Tennent Caledonian Breweries also extended its 0.0% ABV beer Hee-Haw into the off-trade.
Demand for gluten-free foods prompted an avalanche of new products in 2015, many from leading gluten-free foods brand Genius. However, other producers got in on the act.
Mornflake and Kellogg’s both launched gluten-free products for the cereal aisle in January, with porridge oats from both Moma and Delicious Alchemy following in June.
Allied Bakeries entered the category with two new products from its seeded loaf range Burgen, while Walkers Shortbread launched three gluten-free products and pesto produced Sacla’ added two. In November, Nairn’s added Gluten Free Stem Ginger to its Biscuit Break range.