Global Food and Drink Trends for 2017

Leveraging Trust in Traditions

In the world today, there is a continued environment of change. The rapid pace of change and unpredictability of political and social environments has led to increased customer demand for traditional foods that would be considered recognizable and reliable – consumers trust what is familiar. This does not mean that innovation is always a negative for the nostalgia-seeking consumer. Instead, it creates the opportunity for manufactures to emphasize past traditions as a trustworthy starting point for creativity. Products with authentic connections to tradition and the history of a culture provide an essential anchor that many customers crave in the unpredictable world we live in today.

A Planet full of Plants 

Populations are demanding healthier and cleaner foods, leading them to transition to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals. In response, companies have recognized the need to release and promote preparations that focus on natural flavors. The rapidly growing vegan and vegetarian food segment has benefited as a result. Despite this, the segment is in its emerging stage and there is opportunity to continue to innovate and implement plant focused products as they become more main stream. This can also be coupled with the focus on health and wellness as the current perception for vegetarian and vegan goes hand-in-hand with health. Consumers are trying to find easy and convenient ways to achieve their health concerns. This presents an opportunity for producers to capture customers who want vegetarian or vegan products by combining this trend with convenient preparation and packaging methods.

Sustainability not Waste

In the global world we live in today it is becoming easier for companies to be more transparent about their sources. Transparency, initially applied by first-movers to give companies a competitive edge, is quickly being demanded by the majority of consumers. Concerns include the amount of waste that is a result of the current food and beverage industry. The Food and Agricultural organization in the United States estimates that annually 2.6 trillion pounds, which is about 1/3 of food produced for human consumption, is wasted. In America alone there is 133 billion pounds of food wastage annually. With the U.S. proposing goals to halve the amount of food waste produced, it is in the best interests of industry to act quickly to create policies and procedures addressing this issue. Companies that can create transparency and show how they are minimizing waste through innovations, such as freeze-dried foods for other markets, will build brand equity.

On the Go 

There is a growing trend that people need things fast; online deliveries within hours, multitasking lifestyles, and everything on demand has changed the consumer’s perception of time. Time is a prized resource and the hectic modern lifestyle has evolved into a culture that wants fast and easy convenience. Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) published that the number of food and drink launches with on-the-go claims increased 54% globally in 5 years between 2010 and 2015. Products released that contained the word “slow” in the product description increased 214% during the same time period. These products are often ready-made products where the time-consuming preparation and cooking are taken care of on behalf of customers. Consumers are realizing that time-saving solutions such as bypassing one portion of meal preparation can still allow for personalization or nutrition without sacrificing large amounts of time.

Healthy Is not Luxury  

Not just the super-rich and the socially aware want to eat healthy.  But the cost of healthy foods and drink can hinder lower income customers from being able to afford purchasing these items. Keywords such as natural, organic, or free from certain ingredients have been used to increase margins in the food and beverage industry. This might be a popular way to increase the price of a low volume good but is also casting out a huge population of consumers. According to the World Bank in 2015, 638.3 million people are classified as low income consumers.  For these consumers, access to affordable food and drink is a real concern. Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) published that companies have recognized this and have begun to market to these customers with “economy” products. Launches in the category have increased 25% in the same five-year period.

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