Everyone in the industry from trend analysts, trade shows and brands are set on predicting the future of the food and beverage industry. Industries such as mobile, sports and cars are leading the way in technology and smart applications and the food and beverage sector is keen to catch up.
Only this week we announced that SIG Combibloc has been developing AR packaging, and last year we reported on Nescafe’s virtual coffee field tour created using a VR headset.
As well as this, big debates regarding the environment, health and politics continue to take centre stage and affect brand development worldwide. The fragility of global agriculture is becoming more and more apparent and according to Aqueduct from the World Resource Institute, “a third of total food production is in areas of extreme water stress – tree nuts (50%), wheat (43%), corn (35%) and oranges (33%) are at particularly high risk”. The growing concern over water and food security as well as governmental issues, such as the UK’s sugar tax, the TTIP agreement and the GMO debate, will all play a massive part in the future of the industry.
We’ve chosen three factors to explore and identified some ways in which they will impact the future of the food and beverage sector. These are factors which will not only be determined by consumers but also environmental demands.
Technology and apps
Technology will play a massive part is terms of improving consumer experience but also improving agriculture and food manufacturing, particularly in helping improve efficiency in the supply chain. Data capturing and analysis will be paramount in all sectors to ensure materials aren’t wasted.
The big players of tech, Google and Samsung, will continue to lead the revolution in smart technology and app-enabled appliances. We’ll also see an increase in tech start-ups creating new solutions. Apps and IoT gadgets will play a key role, with companies exploring ways in which they can deliver multisensory experiences with their products.
More brands will also be using technology to find ways in which consumers can engage with them. Take Coca-Cola’s recent drinkable advert for instance.
The relatively new addition to this sector is virtual reality. While its application has not been fully realised, this technology is one of the most talked about things across various industries. In a recent report published by Mintel, “66% of UK consumers said that VR devices have the potential to change their lives for the better”. With the growing popularity of digital experiences and its capabilities to enhance the shopping and consuming experience, this technology will certainly be a major player in the future.
Social and environmental responsibility
Increased media attention on environmental issues will result in more pressure on brands to adopt sustainable practises and a change in consumer’s buying habits. Products such as bottled water and excessive packaging will no doubt see a decrease in sales. As Mintel’s research points out, “2% of Italian and 49% of French consumers are [already] concerned about the environmental impact of drinking bottled water”. This is only set to increase in future years.
We will also see a change in agricultural practises. Companies will be exploring new ways to produce crops, particularly in uncultivated landscapes, such as deserts, and there will be a greater focus on purchasing local produce. Vertical farming and urban farming will play an important part in this with unused spaces and city landscapes being converted into arable strongholds.
Authenticity and traceability
With the rise in social media and social media marketing, brands will be more accountable for their actions. There will be more focus on transparency in the sector and consumers will expect brands to be open and honest about their sourcing and supply chains. Consumers will also be given more opportunities to influence a brand’s development in terms of products and campaigns. Doritos did something similar this year by allowing consumers to create commercials and vote on which one they’d like to air during the Super Bowl.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019