Author: Lu-Ann Williams
TOP 10 TRENDS 2018
Trends of each year are factors that are
expected to influence consumer choices and research priorities in food
industry. For 2018, those trends include mindful choices with focus on health,
lighter food options and preference for less processed products. Additionally,
consumers pay more attention on ethics and sustainability before choosing a
Every year, Innova Market Insights identifies the
Top 10 Trends by analyzing the developments in the food and beverage sector. The
push for clean labels that was a trend in 2017 has now evolved into low processed foods
and sustainable choices. The consumer demand for restaurant-quality meals at
home is also observed, and marine products are becoming more accepted in
1. Mindful Consumer
Consumers tend to prefer products with health
benefit claims but also those that support the environment and sustainability. As
a result, such claims made by food developers and producers have increased and
additional claims on health and environmental issues are being used. Therefore,
consumers need to consider many factors before choosing a product. More and
more consumers are checking the ingredient list and the claims, to understand
the content of the products they are buying.
2. Lighter Enjoyment
In the same context of health-conscious eating, consumers tend to prefer ‘lighter’ products. These may be products with lower alcohol content, sweetness or salt content. In the case of drinks, lighter options such as plant-based or flavored waters are winning space in the market. In the baked goods sector, ‘thin’ products are increasing in favor, as they offer the same pleasure with less consumption. Moreover, many products use the term ‘lightly’ to indicate a lower content of ingredients perceived as unhealthy. These may be ‘lightly salted’ or ‘lightly sweet'.
3. Positively processed
The mindful consumers are also more
aware of food processing techniques, preferring traditional processes as they
are perceived as more natural. Fermented products are back in the game as a result
of simple, natural processing. Consumers also appreciate products with fewer
ingredients that are mildly processed to retain their natural flavour and
nutrients. A description of an
exclusive, well-planned process can elevate products to premium.
4. Going Full Circle
In the context of increased sustainability awareness,
the circular economy plays a major role. Consumers are interested in products
with recyclable packaging and companies tend to look for better uses of their resources
and waste. More and more food and beverage products have claims regarding
biodegradable packaging and reduced carbon footprint.
5. Beyond the Coffeehouse
Coffee and tea drinks show
increasing popularity, especially with the younger generations. Despite being
traditional products, there is always the potential for innovation, as shown by
new packaging, flavours and blends. Additionally, coffee and tea are increasingly
used as novel ingredients in other products such as beer, chocolate, ice creams
and many more.
6. Say it with Color
In the world of advertisements and social media,
colors play an important role, with impressively colored foods attracting the
new generations. This opens an opportunity for natural food colors to be used
as an alternative to artificial colorings. Foods with distinctive colors, such
as beetroot and spirulina, are again in the spotlight due to the health-conscious
consumers. As a result, colored foods are regaining a good reputation.
7. Dining Out, In
Consumers’ increasing involvement in cooking and food choices leads them to look for restaurant quality meals at home. This creates opportunities to combine a supermarket product with a nice dinner. Ready meals or ingredient kits for easy cooking are gaining attention and ‘freshness’ claims complete the packaging. Gourmet products are developed, and chef’s claims give the required restaurant quality reassurance.
8. From Snacks to Mini Meals
Food trends always follow lifestyle trends and
today’s busy lifestyles require convenience but without neglecting healthiness.
Snacks are an important part of everyday nutrition and thus they need to be
fulfilling, nutritious and tasty. This need is shifting the snack to ‘mini
meals’, with ‘single portion’ products increasing over the years. Additionally,
health awareness has enriched snacking options, with the incorporation of more
fruit and vegetables or healthy energy snacks such as nuts.
9. Ocean Garden
A few years ago, marine products were only used
as food supplements but now claim a position in a wider range of food
applications. Their use has several benefits, offering high nutritional quality
while being a natural source of color and flavor. Consumers start to see fish
as a meat alternative and a large increase in product launches containing sea
vegetables has been observed.
10. Bountiful Choice
Brands are looking for a point of
differentiation in order to connect to consumers and respond to their needs. Novelty,
flavor, blends, function or packaging can distinguish products and give them a unique