Global Food and Drink Trends 2017
Through in-depth conversations with more than 60 global analysts of Mintel, a global and award-winning provider of Market Research, the following trends were forecasted for food and drink in 2017 and the future.
In Tradition We Trust
Consumers seek comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats.
Food and drink with authentic connections to history or tradition provide an inherent element of trustworthiness that many consumers yearn for in a tumultuous world.
The trust in the familiar does not eliminate the need for innovation; instead, it emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration. This may include a traditional recipes in modern grab-and-go packaging.
This move to the past will also lead to innovations that use the familiar as a basis for something that’s new but recognisable. This is reflected in the release of hybrid products as well as updated concepts such as cold-brew coffee or alcoholic root beer.
Power to the Plants
The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations.
Aspirations for healthier and cleaner lifestyles are motivating consumers to prioritise fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals. In response, more manufacturers are releasing or promoting formulations that centre on plants and the flavours, fortifications and functionalities they can add to food and drink products.
In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that emphasise plants as ingredients in recipes for home cooking and packaged products that leverage plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. This will lead to more innovations that capitalise on and also exalt the inherent goodness of plants.
The focus of sustainability zeros in on eliminating food waste.
The sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world is propelling change across the industry.
Consumer awareness of the issue of food waste is also spreading because of efforts by retailers and restaurants to reduce or donate food and drink that is past the sell-by date, blemished or damaged.
In 2014, French grocery store Intermarché was one of the first to rally awareness of the issue of food waste through high-style ads for misshapen fruit and vegetables that carried taglines such as “An ugly carrot is a beautiful soup”.
Packaging can also make a difference when it comes to food waste. Bread is one of the most wasted food items in the UK, according to research from Love Food Hate Waste; Mintel research finds that 56% of UK adults would be interested in bread or baked goods with packaging that keeps them fresher for longer.
In addition to changing attitudes toward waste, there is an opportunity to innovate with materials that would otherwise have been discarded. In 2017, more attention will be given to innovations that commercialise edible food waste including the previously discarded by-products of juicing, canning and other production processes.
Time is of the Essence
The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.
Time is an increasingly precious resource and our multitasking lifestyles are propelling a need for shortcut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious and customisable. Already, the hectic pace of modern life has fuelled the evolution of snacking and other on-the-go products.
In 2017, the time spent on – or saved by – a food or drink product will become a clear selling point.
The focus on time when it comes to cooking has led to growth in a myriad of shortcuts, including extended-shelf life herb purees, quick cooking sides and home delivery services. Many of these timesaving solutions allow consumers to bypass one portion of the meal-making process without sacrificing key elements such as nutrition or personalisation.
Brands also can address the desire to shorten the time spent planning and shopping by offering internet-connected solutions,
The Night Shift
Evening is tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations.
As the global workforce grows and technological advances make it harder to “clock out”, more people are in need of products that provide comfort or relaxation.
Some consumers already turn to food and drink to address their emotions or mood, as evidenced by the popularity of chocolate and energy drinks. Yet, the increasingly hectic pace of modern life is creating a market for night-time products that help people of all ages calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest.
With so many people seeking functional food and drink, night-focused innovations can go beyond herbal teas and be more plentiful – and innovative. Some inventive products have already begun to address the evening occasion, such as Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal who repackaged a few varieties with a lunar design that promotes the cereal as an evening meal that can improve digestion and leave the consumer with “a feeling of lightness and revitalization”.
Balancing the Scales: Health for Everyone
Healthy food and drink are not “luxuries”.
Inequality is not just a political or philanthropic issue – it is also a subject that will resonate more with the food and drink industry. In particular, access to – and the cost of – healthy food and drink often impede lower income consumers from purchasing healthy items, including products that are natural, organic or free from certain ingredients.
Rather than offering value to those who can already afford it, more solutions are needed from both brands and retailers that provide affordable options to everyone who is hoping to improve theirdiets and lifestyles.
In 2017, more campaigns and innovations that make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfil their healthier eating ambitions will be needed. Some companies have taken steps to make healthy products more budget friendly, such as UK supermarket Asda’s box of misshapen vegetables that is capable of feeding a family of four for £3.50.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.