Innova Market Insights predicts that plant-based foods and alternatives will continue to thrive in 2019 and that brands will need to target adventurous eaters.
Innova Market Insights announced its list of the Top Five Trends of 2019. Leading the pack is the need to target adventurous consumers. According to the firm, consumers are more exposed to different cultures and cuisines, making them more open and adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. This means that brands need to devise products that satisfy the adventurous consumer by releasing unique, even challenging products that get them out of their comfort zone-namely, bolder flavors and multisensory food experiences. Specifically, says Innova, there has been a 35% increase in products with “discovery” claims between 2016 and 2017, and that there was a compound annual growth rate of 17% in food and beverage launches with ethnic flavors between 2013 and 2017.
Innova also anticipates that plant-based products will continue to thrive and grow as more consumers seek to cut down on their meat consumption. This trend, says Innova, is driven just as much by the desire for environmental sustainability as it is by interest in personal health. Plant-based-food consumers are not predominantly vegan or vegetarian, but rather flexitarian, attempting to find a healthy balance of plant-based food and meat, which has dominated most of their diets for so long.
In line with the increase in consumers buying plant-based foods is the demand for alternatives to meat and dairy. According to Innova, one in two U.S. consumers cite health as the reason to buy meat, dairy, and bread alternatives-the latter for avoiding gluten. Popular protein alternatives in products, for example, says the firm, are black beans, lentils, peas, rice, nuts, seeds, and chickpea.
Besides achieving sustainability in the way they eat, consumers also want brands to commit to sustainability in the way they manufacture and package food. Waste reduction is a big focus, either through upcycling ingredients, post-consumer recycling, as well as improving materials to be more easily biodegradable and compostable.
Another important trend that has been a driving force in growth of natural foods is snacking. However, says Innova, as consumers have come to be more aware and deliberate in the way they eat, snacking has evolved from satisfying a craving to becoming another meal in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consumers are making deliberate, healthy choices about what snack foods they consume in order to be more efficient in their daily life and feel good. Brands are answering the call, too, says Innova, as global food and beverage launches with snack claims in the last five years have experience a 10% average annual growth.