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Sales of healthy prepared foods expected to double between 1990-1995.

Sales of healthy prepared foods which saw two-fold growth between the years of 1986 and 1990, are expected to repeat the identical upswing between 1990 and 1995, according to a new report by New York-based business research firm FIND/SVP.

"The market for healthy prepared foods is characterized by a kind of built-in longevity and broad appeal," says Peter Allen, FIND/SVP's Vice President, Market Research Reports. "In contrast to diet foods, healthy foods are targeted at that large and growing portion of the population which is trying to eat more healthfully in the long run, rather than as part of a short-term effort to lose weight."

Retail sales of healthy prepared foods totaled $14.3 billion in 1990, up 16% over the prior year's total of $12.3 billion. FIND/SVP's report includes in the market for healthy prepared foods categories designed to counter today's leading dietary concerns: low fat and/or cholesterol; reduced calories; high fiber, and low or no sodium.

Low-fat, low-cholesterol products is the largest category with sales of $8.2 billion, for three-fifths of the total market. Sales of reduced-fat and/or cholesterol dairy products totaled $4.9 billion, or about three-fifths of the low-fat and/or cholesterol category and about one-third of the total prepared healthy foods market. The dairy products included are cheese, refrigerated and frozen yogurt, ice milk, and other frozen dairy desserts.

Reduced-calorie products weigh in at $10.8 billion. However, soft drinks account for most of this, and are not included in the $14.3 billion market total. FIND/SVP's tally does include entrees and canned fruits which account for about $1.7 billion of the market for healthy prepared foods.

In the high-fiber category, the major products are grain-based, i.e. bread and cereal. Sales of high-fiber breads and cereals totaled $4.6 billion in 1990, or one-third of all healthy prepared foods sales.

Sales of low-sodium products totaled $1.7 billion in 1990, accounting for only one-eighth of the market for healthy prepared foods. The largest categories were salted snacks and processed meat.

New Fat and Cholesterol Reduction Technologies

Fat substitutes could be the largest growth segment of the food ingredient market in the 1990s, replacing aspartame. In fact, the U.S. market for fat replacers is ultimately expected to be three times larger than that of intensive sweeteners, once again due to the diminished concern regarding calorie counts as compared to the fat content of foods.

FMC Corporation's Avicel is one of the most widely used fat substitutes on the market today, and has been in use for over 25 years. Other new entrants of products in active development include: Amalean I from the American Maize-Products Company; DDM, developed and patented by the Frito-Lay unit of Pepsico, and EPG which is being studied by the Arco Chemical Company.

The USDA and other interested parties are also experimenting with dietary intervention and breeding of cattle, chickens, and other animals to yield lower-fat meat, and lower-cholesterol eggs, to name a few ventures.

"A variety of methods for actually removing cholesterol from milk have been developed, but none is yet in commercial use. But it seems clear that at least one of these processes will, fairly soon, be improved to the point of commercial viability," says Allen.

Low-sodium strategies include MSG replacements such as tamari, Universal Foods' Tastone 941, William Foods Magniflavor II, and yeast-based flavorants. Among leading fiber-enrichments are FibeRice from Farmers' Rice Cooperative, oat bran concentrates, and psyllium, which has aroused a degree of controversy for the allergic reactions triggered in some consumers.

Leading players

Five companies have been leaders in the development of healthy prepared foods. These are: Campbell Soup, Del Monte Foods, H.J. Heinz (Weight Watchers), Philip Morris (Kraft General Foods), and Ralston Purina (Continental Baking). Each of these companies has healthy products in more than one of the healthy prepared food product categories.

The 266-page report, The Market for Healthy Prepared Foods, is priced at $1,450, and is available from FIND/SVP, Dept. W3, 625 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011.
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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Previous Article:The market for bread (including hamburger and hot dog rolls, croissants, bagels, muffins, biscuits, and pita bread).
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