Have you heard of kefir? Countdown thinks Kiwis will be drinking it by the gallon by this time next year.
Countdown has been researching the food trends for the coming year and says that kefir is at the top of the list of products Kiwis will be throwing into their trolleys.
Kefir is a fizzy, milky drink bursting with bacteria that's great for your gut. It can also be made from water or coconut milk. Countdown dietician Deb Sue says that customers continue to embrace products that aid gut health as the trend that focus on digestive wellness continues to resonate.
“This year we predict that products which focus on our customers’ overall gut health such as fermented foods and drinks like kombucha, kimchi, switchel and kefir, as well as probiotic in yoghurt or cereals, will continue to grow in popularity, “ says Deb Sue.
Kiwis are following the rest of the world’s diet changes, with continued demand and growing popularity for vegan and vegetarian meal solutions. Countdown says that its percentage of vegan customers has doubled in the last year. Consequently this additional demand has lead to the supermarket increasing its range of products and has seen a 30 per cent growth in demand for vegan and vegetarian chilled foods, and predictions that this is set to increase even more this year.
“We’re not saying that New Zealanders are all turning into vegetarians or vegans by any stretch, but we are seeing a huge increase in the demand for more plant-based meal solutions such as veggie burgers, “mince” made from plants, and other proteins like falafel. Even ice cream is going vegan. We already have eight different vegan ice cream products in the range and later this month we will also be stocking Magnum and Cornetto ice creams which are made from soy and pea protein.
“No matter where you are on your health journey, increasing the amount of vegetables and fruit into your diet is beneficial and it doesn’t have to be too hard or that costly. It can be as simple as grating some courgette and carrot into the spaghetti Bolognaise or adding cauliflower in mac’n cheese. Or there are lots of new easy meal solutions such as Countdown’s latest Macro veggie burgers as a quick easy meal, or a making a stir fry but putting only half a breast of chicken and throwing in some tofu to pump up the protein.
Recently, the Eat-Lancet Commissions report said that globally we all need to start eating more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes whilst reducing our red meat and sugar by 50 per cent. A diet rich in plant based with fewer animal sourced foods would benefit the health and the environment.
“We know Kiwi diets have changed significantly in recent years and more of our customers are already starting to adopt a flexitarian-based diet. They are actively choosing to have meat-free days, incorporating more plant-based meals into their diet while still enjoying meat a couple of days a week. We think that type of diet will continue to increase in popularity, especially as more products start to appear on our shelves such as flexitarian sausages and burger patties which incorporate veggies and meat together, as well as mince made from natural products.”
Countdown has expanded its own brand of Macro health and wellness products which now include 90 plant-based products and nuts. Countdown also has more than 100 core health food products at low prices every day.
“We know that price can sometimes be a barrier for customers wanting to choose to eat more healthily, and at Countdown we don’t think that products such as tofu, haloumi, veggie burgers and veggie sausages have to break the bank every time you want to create a healthier dish using an alternative protein,” she says. “Ideally we want to help make these products a regular meal option and affordable for everyone, rather than just another passing fad.”