LONDON, United Kingdom — Market intelligence agency Mintel has announced the five key trends it predicts will significantly impact the global food and drink market over the next year, including self-care and flexible definitions of health and wellness.
Highlighting the major trends set to impact the food and drink industry, the report pinpoints the trends that will gain wider traction in the coming months as well as emerging trends that are influential, but yet to capture widespread attention.
“In 2018, Mintel foresees opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to help consumers regain trust in food and drink and to relieve stress through balanced diets as well as memorable eating and drinking experiences,” commented Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel.
“There also is an exciting new chapter dawning in which technology will help brands and retailers forge more personalized connections with shoppers, while enterprising companies are using scientific engineering to create an exciting new generation of sustainable food and drink,” she added.
In addition to an increase in demand for transparency and traceability for all, regardless of income, the annual report also claims that a greater number of consumers will choose food and drink products that address perceived nutritional, physical and emotional needs.
Elsewhere, the rapid expansion in the variety of food and drink retail channels will fuel the opportunity for recommendations, promotions and product innovations that are personalised based on individual consumer behaviour. And forward-looking companies will continue developing solutions to replace traditional farms and factories with scientifically engineered ingredients and finished products argues the report.
For a more detailed breakdown of the top five trends, continue reading:
According to Mintel, “in our new post-truth reality, consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies,” which is placing pressure on manufacturers to provide more detailed and honest disclosures about their supply chain.
This need for reassurance about the safety and trustworthiness of food and drink has led to increased use of natural as well as ethical and environmental claims in global food and drink launches, argues Mintel.
Building on this trend, Mintel predicts that the next wave of clean labelling will challenge manufacturers and retailers to democratize transparency and traceability so that products are accessible to all consumers regardless of household income.
Mintel suggests that as consumers continue to navigate the stresses and strains of modern life, flexible and balanced diets will become integral elements of their personal routines.
Searching for routes to escape negativity from external forces, consumers are turning their attention to the things they can control and in doing so are focusing on “self-care”.
“Looking ahead, individual definitions of self-care and balance will reinforce the need for a variety of formats, formulations and portion sizes of food and drink that present consumers with positive solutions—and treats—that can be incorporated into their customised and flexible definitions of health and wellness,” argues Mintel.
In the long term, for food and drink manufacturers aspects such as ingredients, products and combinations of food and drink that provide nutritional, physical or emotional benefits will become increasingly paramount. One example of a brand already leveraging the trend is British company Innocent. The smoothie makers recently released a new Raspberry, Cherry & Apple Morning Juice that claims to reduce fatigue and stress.
As consumers continue to seek out experiences, when it comes to the food and drink industry this “will provide opportunities for multisensory food and drink that uses unexpected texture to provide consumers, especially the teens and young adults of the iGeneration, with tangible connections to the real world,” argues Mintel.
“From the sound and feel to the satisfaction that texture provides, for food and drink companies, texture will become the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive—and documentation-worthy—experiences.”
Expect chewy beverages, ice cream with crispy chunks and popping candy.
Due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping, such as meal-kit deliveries, app-based ordering and click and collect services, Mintel argues that a new era in personalisation is emerging.
Driven by consumer demand for time and money options, companies and retailers will continue to “leverage technology to establish new levels of efficiency, such as customised recommendations, cross-category pairings and resourceful solutions that save consumers time, effort and energy,” says the report.
However, “while this offers opportunity, it also could compromise brand discovery and endanger brand loyalty because custom offers might prioritise benefit, such as convenience, value, or time, over brand.”
Shining a spotlight on US-based e-commerce grocery store Brandless, which offers shoppers private-label and plainly packaged products for $3, Mintel argues that innovations such as these are forcing mainstream supermarkets to become earlier adopters to compete with growing competition.
According to the report “a technological revolution is playing out in manufacturing as some forward-looking companies are developing solutions to replace traditional farms and factories with scientifically engineered ingredients and finished products.”
In 2018, Mintel predicts that technology will be used to disrupt the traditional food chain, such as replacing farms and factories with laboratories.
In addition, it argues that “technology could eventually be used to design food and drink that is inherently more nutritious, which could extend the consumer audience for scientifically engineered food and drink beyond environmentally conscious shoppers to reach consumers who are concerned about ingredient consistency, efficacy and purity.”
Beyond Meat is just one of many brands already innovating with technology. It’s prepared meals are made with plant-based chicken, while it’s packaging declares “that when buying the product, the consumer is said to be “lending Mother Nature a helping hand and positively impacting climate change by conserving water, energy, and land.”