The Ocado buying team has reviewed its food and drink best sellers of 2014 and predicted what the new trends for 2015 will be.
“Research shows that one in three people are actively trying to lose weight, and our sales data reflects just that.” said Chris Sanford, health buyer at Ocado. “Sales of diet food and supplements are up 39% this year, with customers filling their baskets with everything from protein shakes and chia seeds to coconut oil and hemp. Atkins diet products stand out with sales up 65% year-to-date, showing that Brits still consider carb control an effective way to manage their weight.”
For 2014, coconut oil sales were up 150%, Chia seed sales increased by a massive 500% and Linwoods Flaxseeds and other milled seeds continued to remain popular, with sales up 109% year-to-date. Chris expects sales of superfood supplements to grow further and plans to develop the range in 2015, with Maca (a root plant) and Baobab (African fruit) predicted to become even more popular.
The online supermarket has also seen a massive rise in sales of protein powders and protein-enriched foods and snacks, from bars and drinks to ready meals and protein nut butters.
Meanwhile, Ocado has launched its annual search for Britain’s Next Top Supplier, which is now in its second year. Backed by Ocado chairman Lord Stuart Rose and Michelin-starred Chef Tom Kerridge, the competition aims to find the next big British success story in food and drink. Ocado says products from small businesses already account for 70% of its range but it is committed to doing more and encourages other retailers to do the same by supporting British small suppliers.
In addition, consumer research carried out by YouGov for Ocado to mark the launch of this year’s competition, suggests that shoppers are also increasingly scrutinising the provenance of their food with a third (38%) seeking out small label products. More than half (51%) of the people surveyed turn to their supermarket to access products from small suppliers, and 45% of respondents don’t think big supermarkets are supporting smaller businesses.
Suppliers of any size are encouraged to enter the competition which aims to offer undiscovered brands that all important first step onto the retail ladder. The winning product will be stocked at Ocado and given a boost with a £20,000 marketing support package and one-on-one mentoring sessions. The contest is open to all small to medium sized purveyors with a food or drink product not currently stocked at Asda, Waitrose, Morrison’s, Tesco or Sainsbury’s. 2014 winner Hannah Rhodes, founder of craft honey beer Hiver has seen her business sky rocket since taking the crown, securing listings in nationwide bars and restaurants.
Lord Stuart Rose said: “Ocado is a great British retail success story, so helping to give the next breed of small suppliers the opportunity to get their products online and available to shoppers across the country is something I’m really passionate about. I’m delighted to rejoin the panel as the calibre of entrants last year was staggering – even for someone like me who has been pitched a multitude of start-up ideas over the years. I look forward to seeing what the nation’s foodie entrepreneurs have to show us in 2015.”
Tom Kerridge added: “We’re looking for the next big thing in food and drink and can’t wait to see what is on offer this year! This is not only a life-changing opportunity for the winner, but also gives home cooks the opportunity to get their hands on some of the best ingredients and latest products.”