Increased consumer demand for sustainability, products that address growing interest in healthy aging, and a desire for restaurant-quality, ready-to-eat products will shape food and drink trends for the coming year, according to a new report from Mintel.
Sustainability is moving beyond farm to fork, towards what Mintel describes as a “circular” food and drink economy. This 360-degree approach will not only involve improving access to recycling, but also creating products that use ingredients grown using regenerative agriculture practices.
Mintel notes that there is already a “seismic shift” in consumer attitudes towards plastics, with bio-based packaging materials expected to become a key component of the next generation of responsible packaging.
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In 2019, it predicts sustainability efforts will include incentivizing consumers to recycle and offering “upcycled” goods. This will be accompanied by efforts to lessen air pollution, support plant welfare, restore soil health and embrace regenerative agriculture.
Through the ages
Consumers are increasingly prioritizing health and wellness, and manufacturers can address their needs with products that address concerns about everything from bone and joint, to brain and eye health.
Mintel predicts food and drink manufacturers will look to the beauty industry for inspiration. The beauty industry has embraced the concept of healthy aging by designing proactive products that are marketed using positive language, instead of terms such as “anti-aging.”
According to Mintel, the medical needs of diverse senior populations can be addressed through food and drink for medical purposes, plus products designed for prevention featuring product formulations that are nutritious, flavourful and easy to consume.
Convenience food and products are flooding the marketplace as manufacturers respond to on-the-go consumers who are seeking out “speed scratch” solutions that offer restaurant-quality food in a ready-to-eat format.
Mintel predicts a new wave of shortcuts will be available, offering conveniences such as the expansion of meal kits sold at retail, foodservice-inspired beverages, and a new generation of prepared meals, sides and sauces that mimic the flavours and formats of restaurant meals.
Technology advancements will also elevate consumer expectations of convenient food and drink options across the entire day. “Interest in premium convenience will not be limited to dinner time, creating opportunities for every meal, snack and beverage break,” says the report.