As each year comes to an end, we are able to see clear themes developing in the food and beverage industry. These can help shed light and offer insight into what key trends will dominate in the New Year.
Here we explore 2017’s shifts in consumer behaviour, from ingredients to ethical considerations, which are likely to inform how brands operate in 2018.
This year saw the emergence of new experiential offerings, with multisensory food and drink products that were designed to appeal to senses other than just taste.
Brands have embraced the sensations that texture can add to their products and have begun to apply it in their food and drinks to provide consumers with interactive experiences.
Next year it is likely there will be an increase in complex formulations that add pulp and other natural ingredients or a chewy, crispy or crunchy texture to products in order to surprise or elate consumers.
Consumers are progressively taking a personal approach to health and wellbeing, tailoring their diets to fit their busy lifestyles.
Instead of being a passing trend, many consumers are shifting away from meat consumption towards a flexitarian diet with meat and fish being incorporated into a meal less frequently.
This has seen the growth of the ‘meat-free Monday’ or ‘free-from Friday’. In 2018, consumer demand will see a need for a greater variety of food and drink products that fit into this flexitarian diet, with consumers seeking ingredients and products that address their nutritional and physical needs.
This year has seen a proliferation of plant-based meat substitutes to cater to the rising demand from younger consumers. From meatless burgers to an increased reliance on vegetables for protein intake, in 2018 plant-based proteins are set to take over from organic foods as the next big craze.
Expect to see brands making more ‘vegan-friendly’ claims on products and more varied plant protein offerings, featuring the use of beans, peas, whole grains and dairy-free, plant-based options.
Increased transparency and clarity
Due to this year’s industry scandals, product recalls and a growing scepticism and distrust over the origins of food, consumers are seeking greater assurances when it comes to the food and drinks that they purchase.
This will lead to manufacturers having to increase transparency regarding their ingredients, production and supply chain and a focus on clean label products. Next year could see greater disclosures by brands that will help put consumers at ease about the products that they purchase, with ‘organic’ or ‘no additives’ labelling becoming the norm.
Technology’s role in consumer engagement enjoyed a new lease of life in 2017, with brands increasingly harnessing the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT).
As technological advances made shopping and purchasing decisions as streamlined as possible, brands increasingly found ways to leverage technology to increase efficiency.
From apps that can suggest new recipes and customised recommendations for food and drink products to individually targeted promotions, 2018 could be the year that brands create products specifically for consumers based on their online behaviours.
Ahead of the curve?
Have you launched a new product in the past year and feel that it’s at the cutting-edge of industry innovation? Then the World Food Innovation Awards are for you. We regularly come across new products and concepts, providing them with the platform to gain the exposure that they deserve and set industry trends. Could this be your year?
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