Five Future-Looking Food and Drink Trends

The Omega-9 Oils team recently looked at what food industry trends will be popular in 2018, but here we share insight from industry experts about what might be next in food and beverage trends, specifically.

Spotlight on Sustainability

It’s no secret consumers want to know more about the food and drinks they purchase. Growing mistrust of “big food” only adds pressure to food brands. Consider Mintel data showing that two-thirds of U.S. adults wish food companies were more transparent about their manufacturing processes. As brands try to earn consumer trust, clean and clear labeling has become the new norm, farm-to-fork traceability platforms are growing, and production-related claims are on the rise. In fact, natural product claims (no additives/preservatives, organic and GMO-free) appeared on 29 percent of global food and drink launches (Sept. 2016 to Aug. 2017), a 12 percent increase from 10 years ago. Additionally, ethical and environmental claims (environmentally friendly packaging, animal and human welfare claims) were found on 22 percent of global food and drink launches (Sept. 2016 and Aug. 2017), up from just 1 percent a decade ago.

Growing Interest in Self-Care

In today’s busy world, stressed and overwhelmed consumers are focusing on self-care, which includes nutrition. Indeed, three in four consumers agree a healthy lifestyle includes eating a healthy diet and seven in 10 believe staying hydrated is important. Yet roughly half (47 percent U.S. adults, 63 percent of Canadians) believe self-care includes permission to enjoy treats, particularly to address the stress relief needed for emotional well-being. To meet this need, brands will strive to provide consumers with options that provide nutritional, physical and emotional benefits.

Engaging the Senses

Taste continues to be the top purchase driver, but in recent years, brands have used food and drink color, shape and fragrance to engage consumer senses. Expect texture and touch to be added to the list in 2018. According to Mintel, consumers are looking to food to escape the monotony and stress in their lives, and the sound, feel and satisfaction provided by texture can help them do this. Additionally, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert argues the tactile aspect of food will have a big impact on the industry, noting, “Multisensory is the new secret weapon for food both in products, their packaging and in-store.”

Personalized Procurement

The expansion of online and mobile food shopping is making shopping easier for consumers and offers the opportunity to save time and money. This includes e-commerce sites, mobile apps, home-based assistants, (e.g., Alexa, Amazon Echo), same-day delivery and other online and mobile options that can potentially save time and money. Beyond convenience, technology also offers new opportunities for personalized product recommendations and targeted promotions. While many opportunities come with these advancements, it could threaten brand loyalty and brand discovery, as consumers prioritize convenience, value or time.

Forward-Thinking Food Production

The food industry is working hard to provide solutions that will not only feed a growing population, but do so in a sustainable manner. Lempert expects to see innovative production methods, such as vertical indoor farming, to take root in the upcoming year, but other technological advances may also hold the answer to supplementing food production from traditional farms and factories. Scientifically engineered foods and beverages and 3D printing are just some examples, and though they have just begun to emerge, these products have the potential to meet the growing global food demand. Expect ethically and environmentally conscious consumers to first be drawn to these foods, but over time, they may also appeal to consumers who are concerned about ingredient consistency, efficacy and purity.

Stay tuned to the Omega-9 Oils blog for even more insights on evolving consumer trends and how they impact the food industry!