In 2017, factors such as consumers’ demand for healthy ingredients, complex flavor profiles, and environmentally sustainable offerings had greatly shaped the food and beverage market. As these food industry trends have strongly established themselves among consumers, we can expect many more such trends to dominate this year as well. There are a variety of opportunities for food and beverage businesses in 2018. However, staying on top of changing customer needs, understanding millennial preferences, leveraging new packaging techniques, and employing key technology and acquisition strategies will all be vital for survival in this competitive market. Changing customer preferences also makes it to the 2018 trends list owing to the focus on healthy eating options. The demand for additive-free foods that taste, look, feel, and last like their non-organic counterparts containing preservatives, are on the rise. Hence, food manufacturers have turned to innovations such as high-pressure processing (HPP) that eliminates bacteria while simultaneously maintaining product longevity and flavor consistency. Here is all that you need to know about the food industry trends that are in store for 2018:
As more consumers are becoming aware of the healing properties of plants and flowers, botanicals are gaining traction as one of the most popular food industry trends. In the year 2016, McCormick & Co. was an early adopter of this trend and purchased the Botanical Food Company of Australia. The company produces packaged herbs that are specifically designed for the consumer segment who are busy and want an easy way to incorporate fresh and organic ingredients into their meals. This is one of the most exciting food industry trends as it’s natural and global, very chef-friendly and clean label, and it has the potential for health and wellness benefits.
Middle Eastern and Asian flavors seem to have struck a chord with several consumers who are looking for variety in flavors. Consumers in the US are increasingly becoming open to exploring spicy flavors beyond hot sauces. The greatly changing demographics is one of the major reasons behind such food industry trends. Industry experts believe that consumers’ interest in ethnic flavors will expand the footprint for these products in retail outlets.
This is one of the food industry trends that have moved beyond merely producing food in an environmentally conscious way and selling it in recyclable packaging. Consumers are taking a more active role in the battle against food and beverage waste, a mindset that is leading many shoppers to try and use all parts of a plant or meat, rather than selectively picking some and throwing the rest away. Also called “root-to-stem” and “nose-to-tail” eating, this expanded type of sustainability is likely to appear equally in meat and produce departments.
Convenience continues to be a major driving factor in food industry trends – and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Busy lifestyles and with less time in the day, families and individuals looking for quick, easy options for their meals and snacks. The food industry is focused on providing consumers with the ability to make home-cooked meals without the hassle of grocery shopping and food preparation. Even retail stores are expanding their selections to include convenience foods like meal kits and ready meals. This also means catering to various lifestyles and diets from vegetarian to gluten-free. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for the convenience and customization that these choices provide, and we need to be prepared to meet the demand.