In the recent past, product development in the coffee creamers realm has centered largely around new flavor varieties. However, in the foreseeable future, new and novel product formulations with ingredients that meet the “clean label” criteria consumers seek are expected to spur growth. Further boosting dollar sales will be the premium pricing accorded products with the premium ingredients associated with “pure,” “real,” “natural,” and organic foods.
Looking ahead, “clean label” products will be essential in growing U.S. retail market sales of coffee creamers to a projected $2.9 by 2020, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the new report Refrigerated Coffee Creamers: U.S. Market Trends. The forecast growth is a 15% increase from sales of $2.5 billion in 2015.
According to Packaged Facts’ proprietary National Consumer Survey conducted in April 2016, two-thirds of consumers prefer foods and beverages with fewer ingredients. With consumer concerns over unhealthy/unnatural ingredients, clean label creamers are expected to attract and appeal to the growing segment of new, more health-conscious coffee drinkers. Also benefitting the market is the fact that government-mandated cleaner labels are on the horizon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the food industry until June 2018 to phase out partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), a source of the trans fats that have been linked to heart disease. Coffee creamers are cited by FDA as an example of foods that may contain PHOs.
Though the future outlook is undoubtedly sweet, major players in this segment are already benefitting from a shift to cleaner labels. For example, Nestlé’s Coffee-mate’s Natural Bliss dairy-based line has been especially successful. “Made delicious with ingredients you recognize,” Natural Bliss contains just five ingredients: milk, cream, cane sugar, salt, and natural flavor. Natural Bliss experienced astronomical sales growth of more than 50% between 2014 and 2015, a stunning feat is all the more noteworthy because Natural Bliss was launched in 2011. Nestlé was something of a pioneer in the mass-market clean label niche, and is now reaping the rewards of its prescience, note Packaged Facts’ analysts.
“Refrigerated coffee creamers with ‘clean label’ cred are emerging as a formidable force on the mainstream market, as evidenced by the tremendous growth of such products as Nestlé’s Natural Bliss, WhiteWave’s Silk, and Califia, whose sales skyrocketed from $500,000 to $5.5 million from 2014 to 2015,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.
Relatedly, plant-based foods and beverages epitomize the clean label characterization. The success of the handful of currently available dairy alternative creamers suggests great promise for this niche. According to Packaged Facts, strong growth in the almond milk segment is the single most significant development in market trends. Expansion of the market for plant-based dairy alternative beverages will also be driven by new offerings like cashew milk and hemp milk and combination formulations with such ingredients as chia and quinoa.
While creamers have not reached quite this degree of novelty, the fact that the current crop of plant-based creamers are line extensions of plant-based milk beverages is of critical significance. The aforementioned Califia Farms’ Better Half creamer is a nut-based alternative to dairy half & half. Likewise, Coconut Cloud provides the market with a dried coconut milk product that is dairy-free and vegan. Not to be outdone, WhiteWave Foods expanded its creamer offerings under its Silk and So Delicious dairy alternative brands.