Project Description

Global Keto Export Trends

Maximising opportunities for health and wellness brands

Every year millions of people around the globe look for the latest trends in weight loss and healthy eating. Whether that be moving to plant-based, calorie controlled, or other perhaps “faddier” diets, people are likely to try at least two alternative diets in their lifetime.

But weight loss isn’t the only motivator for seeking a healthier lifestyle. As the global population continues to live longer, more and more people are consciously choosing diets which help maintain their health and reduce the risk of potential, future ailments.

And this is where keto comes in.

What is keto?

Created in the 1920s, the ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that was originally used to treat epilepsy.

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD), typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs. This dramatic reduction in carbohydrate intake puts the body into the metabolic state, ketosis, through which the body becomes highly efficient at burning fat.

Several studies have linked the benefits of a ketogenic diet with a variety of health conditions including cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. It is also highly effective for those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

In order to limit daily carbs to 20-30 grams, there are many foods that must be reduced or avoided as part of a keto diet. This includes sugary foods, grains, starches, beans, legumes, root vegetables, some fruits, anything labelled as “low fat” or “sugar free”, and most alcohols.

Global popularity and distribution

In 2018, “keto” was the most Googled food-related topic in the world, continuing into 2020 and overtaking previously popular diets such as the Atkins Diet and intermittent fasting.

Given this, and the sector’s continued growth year-on-year (CAGR of 5.3%), there has never been a better time for health and wellness brands to branch out into low-carb, high-fat keto products.

The ketogenic diet market is predicted to reach a global value of $15.6 billion USD by 2027.

Historically, the US and Canada have been the market leaders due to keto’s popularity, with North America accounting for 43.5% in 2018. However, this is set to change over the next few years with Europe expected to hold the highest projected market growth of 32%.

The Asia-Pacific region is also expected to grow over the next five years as low-carb, high-protein diets are now mainstream in Japan, South Korea and other Southeastern Asian countries.

Distribution channels for keto products will continue to be dominated by online sales, valued at $4 billion USD in 2018, followed by speciality stores. Although there is likely to be an increase in keto-friendly products on supermarket and multi-outlet store shelves, the brands who quickly add keto products to their portfolio will certainly trump the competition.

The same goes for health and wellness brands who can adapt or innovate their product ranges to cater for ketogenic dieters. Let’s now take a closer look at five keto product categories, including international opportunities for exporters.

Bread, pasta and pastries

Like vegans miss cheese, keto dieters miss bread.

Due to the high-carb content of bread, pasta, pastries, and many other goods, finding high-quality keto-friendly options can be difficult. Especially in supermarkets. There are a few brands who have entered this space well through innovation and great promotion. However, consumers are looking for the best of the best. If a product doesn’t taste good, then they won’t be buying it again.

Since many keto followers take it upon themselves to experiment with low-carb recipes there are many opportunities for brands looking to innovate the category and provide convenience to consumers.

Brand Spotlight: Lo-dough

  • UK-based, Lo-Dough produce a range of low-carb alternatives to traditional dough-based products; perfect for those looking for an easy way to reduce their intake of carbohydrates and calories.

  • Lo-Dough’s namesake is a universal flatbread that contains only healthy fibre and natural protein. Containing less than half the calories and 90% less carbs than traditional bread products, Lo-Dough can be used in so many ways which is why it is popular with keto dieters.

  • Lo-Dough are also the first company to be awarded the “Sugarwise Reduced Carb” certification.

  • Thanks to a series of successful social media campaigns, Lo-Dough has been able to grow its business globally through an eCommerce website, plus a few independent stockists across the UK and Ireland.

Export Opportunities

  • Accessible and affordable bread products

  • Low carb/low sugar sweet pastries such as croissants and pastry cases

  • Pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods

Soft drinks

Soft drinks are notoriously packed full of sugar, making it incredibly difficult for those following a keto diet to get their thirst quenched by anything other than water.

Carbonated, sugary drinks and fresh fruit juices are unsuitable for keto due to the amount of sugar in them – even natural sugars aren’t allowed!

More and more brands are turning to low-sugar alternative sweeteners, particularly natural ones like Stevia.

The opportunities in this product category lie in innovative uses of natural sweeteners and occupying space on shelves in supermarkets, convenience stores, and in the foodservice industry.

Brand Spotlight: Zevia

  • “Always zero calories, zero sugar and no artificial sweeteners”.

  • Zevia is a US brand whose mission is to reduce sugar consumption through the use of clean ingredients that still deliver flavour.

  • Using natural Stevia to sweeten its range of sodas, energy drinks, iced teas, mixers, flavoured sparkling waters, and carbonated fruit juices for children, Zevia’s drinks have little to no caloric value. Zevia’s products are also Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, kosher and gluten free.

  • Widely available across North America and Canada, Zevia is becoming easier to find outside of the US as local health food retailers start to add the brand to their shelves and online stores.

Export Opportunities

  • Naturally sweetened/naturally low in sugar carbonated drinks, particularly smaller “grab and go” volumes

  • Fruit cordials

Alcohol

You’ve probably started hearing the term “hard seltzers” being used a lot more over the last few months. This is a relatively new category within the alcoholic drinks sector that has experienced incredible growth since 2019.

Although they weren’t developed specifically for keto, they offer those on the diet a refreshing, light alternative to high-sugar or high-carb beverages such as fruit cocktails and beers.

The hard seltzer category remains relatively immature, and without a doubt the next few years will see a lot of movement as more brands jump on the bandwagon.

We are likely to see other alcoholic drinks categories making a move towards wellness-oriented products to target hard seltzers’ core demographic.

Brand Spotlight: White Claw

  • White Claw is the clear market leader when it comes to hard seltzers, thanks to its huge rise in popularity in North America and Canada during the summer of 2019; sparking a number of other brands to also branch into this new product category.

  • Currently available in nine fruit flavours, each 330ml serving of White Claw contains 95 calories and 4.5% alcohol/volume. And, is naturally low in carbs and sugar, making it perfect for those following a ketogenic diet.

  • After its US boom, White Claw is now available in UK supermarkets and, thanks to Dublin based distributer Mark Anthony Brands International, is likely to gain further market share as the category and demand grows around the globe.

Export Opportunities

  • Light beers advertised as being keto-friendly

  • Low-carb, low-sugar canned cocktails

  • Carbonated and fruit-based mixers

Protein shakes and powders

Protein powders and shakes are readily available around the globe, in both specialist health food stores and supermarkets, but not all protein powders are keto-friendly.

Since the boom in ketogenic dieters, many protein powder brands have branched out into the keto space to capture a wider audience. This has led the market segment to become a little saturated.

Despite this, there are still opportunities for brands able to produce high-quality products at an affordable, off the shelf price. There is also space for combined protein powders that are both vegan and keto-friendly.

Brand Spotlight: Perfect Keto

  • Perfect Keto is one of many brands specialising in low-carb, high-protein powders and products for ketogenic dieters who are also incredibly active.

  • Founded by Dr. Anthony Gustin, Perfect Keto is “backed by science”, and each product goes through strict R&D processes to ensure that they are delicious, digestible, and promote better mental and physical health.

  • A wide array of products, flavours and bundles are available online, directly from the manufacturer, and can be shipped internationally.

  • Perfect Keto are also actively looking for wholesalers across both North America and Europe to stock their products.

Export Opportunities

  • High-quality, multi-purpose protein powders

  • Affordable keto-friendly powders available on the high-street/in supermarkets

Low-carb snacks

It can be very difficult to get keto-friendly, off-the-shelf snacks in certain countries/regions, especially snacks that are clearly labelled as keto. As a result, many keto followers have had to experiment with DIY, homemade snacks. You can find a huge number of recipes from food bloggers, dieticians, and other resources across multiple online channels, but there is still one problem here…time. More importantly, a lack thereof.

Consumers are constantly seeking quick and easy snacking options, which they can grab on the go. Time is a commodity for many so the convenience of grabbing a bag of keto-friendly crackers or a low-carb protein bar is much more appealing.

As the keto diet continues to grow in popularity, this presents a great opportunity for brands to get in-front of big label stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets to bring their low-carb, high-protein snacks to the masses.

Brands that already produce, or are thinking of producing, keto-friendly snacks should also look into explicit labelling opportunities to help consumers quickly and easily identify keto products on the shelf. This would be a great differentiator in the current market.

Brand Spotlight: The Great Stuff Company

  • Another UK grown health and wellness brand, The Great Stuff Company is on a self-confessed mission to “rethink our favourite snacks and create a new generation of mindful snack-food choices”.

  • Now boasting an impressive family of “snacks with benefits”, The Great Stuff Company produces some truly innovative items such as Keto Granola, Keto Chips, and Pea Power, all-natural vegan protein bars.

  • The full range is organic certified, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free, wholesome and nutritious. Great for a well-rounded ketogenic snacking experience!

  • Bolst Global has partnered with The Great Stuff Company for International development is on the lookout for international distributors and retailers who would like to add this organic keto range to their portfolios. Alternatively, for those businesses looking for private label keto products these can also be offered via this partnership. Please contact us for more details.

Export Opportunities

  • “Grab and go” snacks

  • Generally, more affordable snacks

  • Savoury offerings

  • Easily available and identifiable products, preferably in supermarkets

Other market opportunities

In addition to the product categories highlighted above, other international keto export opportunities include:

  • Keto ready meals and meal kits

  • Sauces and condiments

  • Sweeteners and coffee creamers

  • Ice creams and other desserts

  • Plant-based/vegan-friendly keto products

  • Supplements targeting keto diet followers:

    • MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil
    • Minerals
    • Caffeine
    • Exogenous ketones
    • Creatine
    • Whey

The ketogenic market is highly fragmented with several players occupying the space, yet there is still plenty of room for new brands willing to enter the world of keto.

  • As you can see, there are many global prospects for keto-friendly food and beverage companies, so if you want to talk about the potential to export your products do not hesitate to get in touch, or check out our current opportunities here.

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