Innova Market Insights identifies the top ten trends for 2020

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Innova Market Insights has announced its list of the Top Ten Trends for 2020.

Innova Market Insights has announced its list of the Top Ten Trends for 2020. On the top of its list is the trend: Storytelling, winning with words. A number of the subsequent trends identified by Innova such as “Plant-based Revolution, “Sustain Domain” (sustainability), and a “A Star is Born” (familiarity and acceptance of ingredients), can be folded into the theme of storytelling. According to Innova, 56% of global consumers say that stories around brands influences purchasing decisions. Stories can include ingredient provenance (such as flavor/taste, processing methods, cultural and traditional backgrounds, as well as the more obvious geographical origin), and corporate values.

Communicating clearly to consumers is an important way to engage because consumers appreciate transparency and they may be willing to take risks if they are clearly told how an unfamiliar ingredient may taste or learn the cultural significance of a particular food. The way a brand communicates information is important as well. For example, according to Innova, the market has seen a 68% growth in food and beverage launched with plant-based claims in the last year, and consumers prefer the term “plant-based” to “vegan” or “vegetarian,” because it has a healthier connotation.

There is also an expectation from consumers that brands invest in sustainability, whether that is the use of renewable energy, more sustainable packaging, or reducing waste. According to Innova, 85% of US and UK consumers in 2018 expected companies to invest in sustainability, compared to 64% the previous year. Therefore, not communicating that to consumers can leave a brand at a disadvantage, because half of all consumers surveyed by Innova were willing to spend more on brands that were devoted to tackling issues of food and plastic waste.

With its “A Star is Born” trend, Innova emphasizes the importance of ingredients, and how consumer familiarity influences their acceptance. For example, probiotics have high consumer familiarity and therefore high consumer acceptance. Prebiotic product launches, says Innova, have increased 20% in 2018 compared to 2017, pointing to higher acceptance in the future. CBD is growing in familiarity, and Innova says it is poised to be a major disruptor. While ashwagandha has been growing within the industry and breaking into functional foods and beverages, Innova states that the ingredient may still require some consumer education as familiarity is not quite as high, compared to ingredients like CBD.

Another trend Innova identified is “The Right Bite,” which is about finding foods that match one’s lifestyle. Busy lifestyles are encouraging consumers to find products that enables them to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while also making their lives easier. This could include products such as nutritious on-the-go snacks or meal kits. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is avoiding certain things, and with the trend “Macronutrient Makeover” Innova points out consumer perception about things like saturated fat has changed over time based on evolving science and media coverage. The villain now, rightfully so, is sugar, and many brands are motivated to formulate low-calorie, or sugar-free products.

In the trend “Eat Pretty,” Innova is also seeing food and beverage launches that border on the cosmeceutical. Consumers are moving beyond cosmetics in order to support the appearance of their skin and hair from the inside out. According to Innova, 1 in 3 Chinese consumers consumer food and beverages that promote physical appearance.

While consumers are doing their best to be healthy, they are also adventurous. The leading trend in Innova’s “Top Ten Trends of 2019” was “Discovery: The Adventurous Consumer,” elements of which exist on the current list. “Tapping into Texture,” for example, sees consumers wanting a heightened sensory experience from their food, which translates into product launches with more textural claims. Consumers want something unique and engaging, and texture can provide this experience.

Another trend, “Hello Hybrids” sees a demand for hybrid products in both food and beverages, whether that means blending product categories (e.g. Bubble tea ice cream), blending unusual ingredients, or blending flavors. There is also more engagement than ever between brands and consumers, says Innova of the trend “Brand Unlimited.” This means personalization and limited time releases that create urgency, and make shopping more fun and unique. In fact, there has been a 36% average annual growth of launches with limited batch claims, made easier by social media