With 2017 just around the corner, market research Mintel has released its predictions for the six key trends that will drive the global food and drink industry in the year to come. The list of 2017 trends spans everything from promising marketing angles to particular ingredient types that will grab consumers’ interest, and the potential implications reach just about every segment of the industry.
Plant-based foods will continue to gain traction in 2017, Mintel expects, as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, and botanicals increasingly meet “consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities.” At the same time, formulators will leverage technology to create more convincing plant-based alternatives to animal products, such as plant-based milks, mayonnaises, yogurts, and cheeses, Mintel says.
Convenience and familiarity of food and beverage products also look likely to be potent selling points in 2017. Mintel notes that “people are seeking the safety of products that are recognizable, rather than revolutionary.” With that in mind, storied ingredients such as ancient grains or ancient recipes stand to benefit from consumers’ urge to find foods made from dependable ingredients. Manufacturers may also be able to take recognizable ingredients in new directions by tapping into this appetite for the familiar, as could be the case with cold-brew coffee. Meanwhile, products that offer maximum convenience and save consumers time spent preparing their food or beverage will also be in hot demand, Mintel says.
“This year’s trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient, and trustworthy food and drink,” says Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, in the 2017 trends announcement. “Across the world, manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to provide more people with food and drink that is recognizable, saves time, and contains servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables, and other plants.”
Another of the marketing approaches that could be especially key in 2017 is a focus on sustainability by eliminating food waste. Mintel predicts that “the stigma associated with imperfect produce will being to fade,” leading to more food products made from ingredients that would otherwise have been discarded, such as fruit snacks made from less conventionally attractive fruit or mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas.
Marketers will also increasingly focus on how to reach lower-income consumers with healthy food and drink products, Mintel says, with new ways to spread the message that eating healthy need not be a luxury. For instance, apps will help people track when healthy ingredients go on sale and spread the message that conventionally unattractive fruits and vegetables are nutritious and reasonably priced.
Finally, Mintel also predicts that evening-oriented products will play big in 2017, such as food and drinks that help people calm down before bedtime and sleep better. These could include products building off the reputation of the tea category, such as chamomile and lavender, or other ingredients that could be positioned for stress relief, including chocolate.
“Ahead, there is potential for more evening-focused innovations formulated for relaxation, satiety, and—taking a cue from the beauty industry—food and drink that provide functional benefits while the consumer sleeps,” Mintel says.
Based on these six key areas for 2017, Zegler concludes that “opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalize on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future.”
Nutritional Outlook Magazine