Health added-value food : the Swedish retail market

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Economics

Abstract: Diet and lifestyle are closely interrelated and believed to have a significant influence on four major public diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension and obesity, but also affects functional deficiencies like gluten- and lactose intolerance. Health added-value foods are thought to reduce health-related risks or delay the onset of these major diseases. Therefore, interest among scientists, researchers and the public in general has been growing remarkably over the last decade regarding these special foods. The Swedish market seems to be a good target for health added-values food. However, as there are many risks and cost factors involved for companies to enter the market or invest in R&D, it is important to take a step back and analyze the current market situation. Therefore, this projected looks at four products related to health added-value foods which are thought to representative for this kind of food category; pasta, bread, milk and yogurt. The empirical data was collected from The Nielsen Company following the keyhole guidelines. Data relating to gluten- and lactose-free and –reduced products within the same segment were retrieved, which resulted in surprising findings. Opposite expectations, the demand for health added-value foods has declined between 2007 and 2008. According to these findings whole-grain/high fibre products saw a rather big decline in purchases, as well as low-fat milk and yogurts. On the other hand, products designed to improve functional intolerances have seen a disproportionate increase in demand, which could be an interesting niche market for companies to consider. Portfolio Theory was used to show the market growth based on the current market shares of these product classes. Placing the products within the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix demonstrated that given the low market shares and limited market potential, gluten- and lactose-free and –reduced products are question marks for the companies, which could be turned into more profitable and stable products; however this is associated with costs and risks. Yogurts with added-values are considered star products at this time, with a relative high market share a continuous market growth; besides not being a health added-value food by scientific evidence yet. The products following the keyhole guideline were found in the cash cow section, with low or negative market growth, but very high market shares. Thus, further research is needed to investigate the underlying reasons and strategies for companies to seek full market potential.

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