Global consumers have endless choice and omnichannel access when it comes to food and beverage consumer packaged goods. About 42% of global consumers say that they “love to try new things".
According to marketing research institute GlobalData, flavour is the first buying criterion for food and beverage products, meaning that each consumption experience must awaken the senses.
Now the preference for natural, simple and flexible diets is leading consumers to seek more fruits, vegetables, grains and other plant-based ingredients within the products that they purchase.
This trend is evident in the sweet bakery category with vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, beetroot and sweet potato already being widely used -providing both flavour and added texture.
Over the next two years, the bread category is expected to see more flavour innovation powered by plants. Western bread producers could particularly seek flavour inspiration from Asia as legumes, vegetable, herbs/spices and seeds/nuts are common in the region.
For those on the no sugar bandwagon, 2020 will see plenty of sweet alternatives to use for cooking, baking or even to stir into your tea. Syrup reductions from fruit like monk fruit, stevia, pomegranates, coconuts and dates will be great for concentrated sweetness, while those in the know will switch out honey or maple syrup for syrups made from sorghum or sweet potato.
Consumers evolving perceptions of macronutrients will play a big role in shaping health and wellness trends. Purchasing decisions will continue to be influenced by low- or no-sugar claims, along with low-fat, high-fiber and high-protein.
Snacks - Perfect For When You’re On The Go
As consumers pursue more active lifestyles, they want foods that can be consumed on the go. A central focus of many food manufacturers is the growth of the snack market, but not just any snacks. Sugar-laden options are out and snacks making health claims are in. While more than half of consumers report eating three or more snacks per day, 66% of them do so to provide nutritional benefits.
High-protein bars in particular continue to rank highly among average consumers, foregoing the typical bodybuilder stereotypes of the past. Natural ingredients and minimalist labeling are among the attributes of top rated snack bars.
The keyword is “fresh” in this new generation of grabbing and going—gone are the days when the only options were granola bars and mini pretzel bags. The refrigerated section is filling up with the kind of wholesome, fresh snacks typically prepared and portioned in advance at home: hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups and mini dips and dippers of all kinds, all perfectly portioned and in convenient single-serve packaging.
West Africa Influence
African ingredients and flavours are gaining momentum across the food, drink, health and beauty sectors. Much of the food and drink focus has been on the flavours of Northern Africa, but more recently there has been a groundswell of interest in the largely unexplored cuisine of Western African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.
A number of factors have lead to the surge in awareness of West African cuisines and the adoption curve with many ’emerging cuisines’ is the interesting innovation is happening in foodservice, primarily in informal street food markets, pop ups and independent fast casual dining outlets, but there are also some exciting examples of West African inspired brands and more mainstream brands adopting African flavours.
Some key West African ingredients that could be highlighted in product innovation include kola nuts, moringa, plantain, yam, cassava, ginger, lemongrass, peanuts and sorghum. West African dishes are often gluten free and high in plant-based protein, fitting in with current trends.
The latest trend to hit alcohol is drinks that are non-alcoholic. For those who want to enjoy a cocktail without the hangover, or have given up libations altogether, these beverages offer the perfect alternative - as they are made using distilling methods typically reserved for alcohol.
The trend will also include unique options such as hops-infused sparkling waters or zero-proof aperitifs.
Focusing on Feeling Good
No matter the trend, a consistent theme is improved nutrition. A stronger focus for consumers, however, is going beyond the temporary “good-for-you” claims and looking at how food can help them live longer, healthier lives.
Removing questionable ingredients from formulations requires new formulations and possibly different processing equipment and regulation compliance. These factors combined with the volatile pricing structures of traditional ingredients, such as dairy and eggs, makes the switch cost prohibitive, and manufacturers will need to look for consumer-friendly, natural alternatives that won’t compromise flavour or texture.
Mental health is now part of that agenda. It’s been very taboo for many years to talk about, but that is disappearing really, really fast.
We expects increased interest in mood-enhancing food and drinks next year, as consumers look to “star” ingredients like cannabidiol (C.B.D.) or ashwagandha to treat stress and anxiety.
Ingredients have become the stars of many products, but you have to look at familiarity and acceptance because that’s the only way you’re going to make something mainstream.
(Source: https://www.ift.org, https://www.independent.co.uk/, https://us.cnn.com/ )