How can you enter the bone broth market and who are the customers? This post covers aspects and market insights about the fast-growing meat and fish broth-based food and beverage business, which is taking huge steps from niche market to mainstream. Here we explain the current situation in the existing bone broth market, which is wide open for new players to supply their consumer and foodservice brands to achieve category sales in overall functional food and beverage markets. We also present culinary and functional broth-based products and applications that are high in demand among consumers, professional kitchens and in industrial use.
Liquid stocks including bone broth trends in numbers*
*Canadean database: Fresh Meat Market Europe
Bone broth rebranding as a daily meal and beverage
Bone broth rebranding was launched in 2014. This ancient, nutritious health food and drink became a hot trend among Americans ranking it alongside green juices, smoothies and coconut milk and it soon became a must-have-daily food. Before 2014, the benefits of traditionally simmered bone broth had been famous among paleo diet enthusiasts worldwide and of course among Asian cultures as a daily health ingredient, but it suddenly also took giant steps in domestic kitchens and as a drink.
At the forefront of the trend in 2014 was a broth bar called Brodo, which opened in New York selling cups of steaming and nourishing broth. The takeaway broth bar was becoming the new Starbucks for Americans. After a while, a couple of American broth producers, butchers and restaurants released their new category of bone broths and soups selling mainly online but also at grocery stores nationwide. Since 2015, the trend has been spreading from the USA to cities across the world, and it is said that “souping is the new juicing" – meaning it can be sipped during the day as well as being a perfect base for tasty home cooking.
According to health and food market surveys and trends forecasts, 2015-2017 is set to be a booming period for the variety of organic consumer, professional and industrial brands sold through online sales, health food stores, wholesalers and grocery stores and supermarkets. During the past year, we at Coctio have received a lot of inquiries from new bone broth ventures and meat & fish processors in the European, the American and the Canadian markets about establishing an industrial bone broth business. It has certainly been interesting to be involved in these discussions with you and we are doing our best to assist and consult all of you to enter the broth market.
Plenty of room for new players in supplying commercial bone broths
Today the market segment in bone broth-based products is rapidly growing but still small-scale and mostly US-, UK- and Spain-oriented, but industrial bone broth production offers lots of business possibilities with a quick profit for meat and fish processors, food and beverage manufacturers and entrepreneurs and investors, for example in rendering sector. At the moment, in most of the European countries there are no branded competitors at all for pure, ready-prepared broth.
From 2016 onwards, it would not be surprising to see several companies enter the liquid, traditional bone broth and soup markets, while the industry moves quickly to address changing trends in food to meet consumer preferences for gourmet, more natural and nutritional products. Therefore new players will have a strong position as trendsetters in an existing market and will have a great opportunity to make money in the bone broth business by producing numerous culinary applications for the retail, industrial and food-service markets.
Markets for commercial bone broths – from private labels to premium brands of bone broth
From our perspective, additive-free bone broths should be commercialised as mainstream food and beverage for consumers seeking more authentic tastes, nutritional benefits and convenient home cooking options while still creating exciting and new experiences in the kitchens. We recognise that the bone broth market has the potential to be driven and differentiated by private labels and premium brands produced by different sizes of broth production plants and large food companies.
A frequent topic of conversations with us is the pricing for a bone broth category. Meat and fish processors and new players are keen to better understand the whole financial aspect of the industrial broth preparation business: cost price, investments, yield and the market price of broth-based food and beverage. Overall, organic products set clearly within the premium food and drink sector command a higher retail price. However, there is no fixed rule for pricing broth, but both lower and higher pricing for a category exists, depending on the technology and cooking method used, recipes, product utilisation, customer targeting and branding. Broth producers will also likely differentiate a range of broth products by focusing on premium quality and authentic taste, healthy lifestyle, nutritional values, packaging and consumer-friendly use. Broths and sauces can be packaged for example in aseptic cartons, boxes, pouches, cans, cubes and jars of concentrate.
1. Opportunities with bone broth-based products and applications to supply consumers
Generally speaking, the commercial bone broth consumer market is currently supplied by home-made producers and a few independent and specialised small-and-medium-sized companies in the USA, Spain and the UK. These mainly operate in their local market and supply consumer brands that can be bought in retail, health food stores and online. (To clarify other products in the bouillon, stock and broth markets, here we take into account only those bone broth producers that produce and supply liquid bone broths and soups from animal-origin bone raw materials, cooked in a traditional way without additives. Excluded are powder- and enzyme based broth, bouillon, fond and stock cube producers.)
Among the UK broth producers, you can find for example the Daylesford Company, the Culinary Food Group with its Simply natural stock products and the Lodge Farm Kitchen. One of the more exciting European trendsetters is the healthy fast food chain Prêt-à-Manger, who has been testing bone broth beverages in 28 of their London stores during spring time 2015 to determine whether the same mainstream demand for hot broth drinks exist as in the USA. Prêt has been selling a high-protein beverage priced at £1.95 for a takeaway cup, Starbucks-style. For us, it is rewarding to follow the development of the broth market making its consumer-driven way toward organic and healthy food and beverage options in European markets.
In order to launch the broth variants for consumers with an on-the-go lifestyle, those are being marketed for example as a take-away beverage, suitable as a lunch accompaniment, afternoon snack or sport recovery drink or as one of the most essentials raw materials for home cooking. According to our surveys, the current price for liquid meat or fish bone broth on European consumer markets ranges from €4 to €25/litre, depending on the brand and usage. So, in order to generate significant growth in this sector, there are lots of broth-based options that are in high demand, such as:
- Takeaway broth drinks served hot or cold sold in paper cups (e.g. 250 ml or 500 ml)
- Ready-to-eat premium and organic soups with aromatic flavours like herb or Thai curry as a filling meal, sold in, for example, 250 or 500 ml easy-to-open Tetrapak cartons or plastic pouches to eat straight from the pouch
- Protein boost shakes, smoothies and sports recovery drinks for before and after work-outs
- Protein-rich snacks
- Shelf-stable broths and sauces in TetraPaks (e.g. 0,5 and 1-kilo cartons) as private-label and premium brands of bone broth bases, broth concentrates and ready-to-use sauces for daily use to help in the preparation of home cooking (excellent base for stews, soups and gravies).
2. Opportunities for bone broth and sauce bases and applications to supply food-service and industrial customers:
If the consumer market is not a primary market, a broth producer can specialise in customer-specific culinary products for professional kitchens and food manufacturers to meet the needs of chefs and industry.
In the professional kitchen sector, the demand for externally prepared and ready-to-use liquid fish and meat broths, condensed demi-glace sauce bases and ready-to-serve sauces is increasing. Instead of simmering the broth and sauce for hours in-house, at the same time ensuring high product quality, chefs appreciate if they can get the same premium quality level product that they can make themselves, by purchasing from a bone broth producer. Another way is to cook broth and sauce using stock powder, wherein the culinary sauce taste may not be perfect. A cooking method where roasted bones are simmered for hours brings the most delicious, round and meaty flavour to the finished broth and sauce, which makes commercial bone broth products ideal for chefs.
Also in the food manufacturing sector, one of the most important aspects is that gelatinous bone broth and sauce add value to meals by maximising taste and giving them excellent texture. A broth producer can provide a range of rich, high-quality broth and sauce bases in various sizes of packaging (pack-in-boxes, jerricans, pounches or TetraPaks from 2 litres to 20 kg), which food manufacturers can then use in the preparation of ready-made meals, soups, stews, gravies, sausages and hams.
The food-service market is currently supplied by two companies - Nestlé Professional and Unilever - which are the only commercial producers of additive-free bone broths and concentrated sauces for professionals using bones as raw material. Both brands have bone broth and sauce production in Finland.
As an indication, the selling price of bone broth base (i.e. beef, pork, chicken and fish) starts from €2.25/kg and for condensed broths, demi-glace sauce and ready sauce products it ranges from €4.50 to €8.50/kg, (depending on concentration level) for food manufacturers and industrial customers.
Profitable business from bones
Liquid stock producers have seen their sales grow significantly over the last few years and have increased in market demand. It confirms the fact that broth-based food and beverage sector is developing strongly and profitably, and moving towards mainstream.
This article presents the start of our bone broth market insights as well as overall market data in turning bone raw materials into 100% yield using the Coctio line. There is plenty more that we want to share with you in our upcoming posts, such as the pet food industry as a market for broths and sauces as wells as dried meat powders.
In the meantime, you can watch our latest video about running a bone broth production line.