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The methods that people use when shopping for food products continue to evolve, so the food and drink industry proceeds by changing in ways to appease its consumers. Here are three food product trends predicted in the food and beverage industry for 2018.

Transparency & Traceability

Media reports and lawsuits regarding the use of controversial food ingredients (remember “pink slime?”) and numerous product recalls have left today’s consumers very skeptical of food manufacturers. A growing number of consumers not only want to know where their last meal originated from, but they also care about environmentally friendly packaging as well as animal and human welfare. Thus, manufacturers are pressured to provide disclosures about how, where, when, and by whom their products are grown, harvested, made, and/or sold. So, consumers should expect food and drink producers to continue this trend toward more transparency well into 2018 and beyond in an effort to help them feel more confident about the safety and purity of the products that they are purchasing.

Healthier Options & Treats with Benefits

There may have been a time when healthy food and drink options were considered to be luxuries. Fortunately, more brands are developing healthy versions of some favorite comfort foods and making them available at lower price points. Even many indulgences are getting a makeover, offering numerous options and potential health benefits. Additionally, healthy food access projects are spreading across the country, including the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, with the goal of improving access to healthy food in communities across the country. Consumers continue to seek out healthier alternatives and balanced foods regardless of income. This persistence will continue to drive the demand for a variety of food and drink products that provide consumers with positive solutions to their unique dietary needs.

Engaging the Senses: Texture

Consumers love innovation and are excited to try new products on the market. Many leading food and beverage brands continue to experiment with new formulations in an effort to appeal to more of the senses through color, shape, fragrance, and other elements. Introducing new textures to change the sound, feel, and satisfaction of certain foods and drinks will become more important to manufacturers that try to create share-worthy experiences with consumers in 2018. Here are some relevant statistics regarding this expanding global trend:

  • 43% of 20-49-year-old ReadyToDrink (RTD) tea consumers are interested in options with fruit bits.
  • More than a third of international consumers are open to trying food and drink with unusual textures.
  • Just over half of consumers polled between the ages of 20-49 who eat biscuits or crackers identify layers of coating or filling as an important quality of an indulgent biscuit.

Because consumers are more health-conscious, they will continue to advocate for ingredient transparency, and sourcing information. CPG companies are also looking to please consumers who are requesting detailed information about the foods and beverages that they consume. Look for manufacturers to market some original textures in 2018, and expect more accessibility to healthy food and drink options from some retailers.

References: Mintel Global Food & Drink Trends 2018

 

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