Our trend forecasting is based on 4 aspects – Macro-Trends (technological and digital trends, regulation, mega-trends, economic changes etc.), Innovators and Disruptors (emerging comanies that make the formerly impossible – possible and create new expectations), Best in Class (we follow the leading competitors in each industry, to see where they are taking the industry) and Consumers (we have access to global and local surveys and sales data, and monitor search trends to understand met and unmet needs and themes).

 

This analysis pertains to: Innovators and Disruptors.

In July 2018, we attended New York’s “Fancy Food Show”, in order to review the most interesting innovations in F&B straight from the field, and to help our clients find partners and discover opportunities.

This report features the trends we believe to be shaping the food & beverage industry in 2019: lifestyle adjustments – from vegan to keto; “hot” ingredients – such as cauliflower, tea, coconut, cold brew coffee and nut butters; stress-free solutions – such as on-the-go BFY consumption; and the search for quality protein and “healthy fats” is changing the industry this year. Ethnic flavors, ginger and cardamom are to be found in every category; and sustainable, bean to cup / bean to bar “clean” products take the rein. If last year was about “small batch” and “hand made” – this year is NUTS. In the pure sense of the word. If last year was about protein – this year is gut health.

1. Better For All (BFA)

Consumers tend to merge sustainability and wellness considerations, a phenomenom we dubbed: Better For All (BFA).  This combines “better for me”, “better for the environment”, “better for animals” and “better for society”. BFA seems to be the main engine of product innovation at the Fancy Food exhibition.

Plant-Based: plant-based food and beverages are on the rise, as products concentrate on nutrient-packed and protein-rich sustainable ingredients. Examples include peanut, almond and seed butter as the base for snack bars or to indulge with a spoon; using ancient grains in snacks; botanical extracts; and snackification of vegetables and fruit. Notable ingredients in Fancy Food were chickpeas, honey and – still – coconutCauliflower‘s versatility made the vegetable appear in various categories, as a low-cal, low-carb, plant-based alternative. Seeds, including chia, sunflower, flax and pumpkin, were commnunicated as super-foods. Legumes and pulses benefit from this trend.

Dairy Free: Beyond vegans and vegetarians, dairy-free appeals to a large population of H&W seekers who feel that dairy is hard for them to process, is less healthy than alternatives and/or is not morally produced. The dairy-free “milk” and yogurt category was very dominant in the show. Desserts – whether chilled or frozen – empahsize their creamy texture and great taste, as these are key trial and preference factors for these categories.

Minimally Processed: raw and unprocessed ingredients, that seem minimally processed and offer “clean eating”, lead health and wellness trends as evident by the Fancy Food Show. Real Food is a leading positioning claim. Vegetables (notably cauliflower) and fruits are the stars.

Functional made Personal: consumers continue to expect specific benefits from food and beverage. Notable claims at the show were energy, weight management, heart and bone health, and nutraceuticals which benefit beauty and appearance. We expect Ayurvedic products to rise in the US in the coming years, as they combine gut health with personalized nutrition.

Ethical and Sustainable: Consumers try to be more responsible in regards to animal welfare, social rights and the environment. Bean to Bar and Bean to Cup were two prominent themes. This usually involves on pack storytelling.

2. Food as an Experience

Millennials and Gen-Z “experience over stuff” mentality is entering food and beverages: companies are responding to these venture-seeking consumers with new formats, extraordinary or out of context ingredients, and Do-It-Yourself, personalized solutions. Digitalization also enables to offer a more compelling experience. In Facny Foods, we didn’t see many personalized (or even Ayurvedic) products, which we expect more of in the coming years.

Around the World: Products offering ingredient and flavors that “take you” to a tour around the world, combining ethnic flavors or exotic ingredients. These offer a global, sometimes extreme experience, appealing especially to Millenials and Gen Z consumers who are more adventure seeking than previous generations. Most popular in Fancy Food were ethnic flavors and condiments, in addition to spicy additions. We saw a lot of ginger and cardamom in the exhibition. Tea, and matcha specifically, are gaining popularity.

Storytelling: Positioning of products as local, artisanal, produced in small batches; sharing brand history and origin; etc. to create an emotional connection to the brand, selling the story beyond the product.

Marlo’s bake shop: Women owned business. Recipes developed by using social media and choosing family recipes from followers and consumers. The company puts the creator’s name and story on the package.

DIY: Consumers have access to more information than ever before, and they can – and want to – do things their own way. Personalization and customization is a way of life in today’s digital world, as is a sense of control. To top it all, more and more consumers want to feel more connected to nature. As a result, consumers take interest in kits and do it yourself solutions, which make them feel empowered and capable.

Like A Pro: Foodie consumers have grown accustomed to interesting, innovative flavors from out-of-home consumption, and they wish to repeat that experience with their home cooking. Manufacturers are following suit, with innovative textures and flavors which give a final touch to the home cooker’s dish, without much effort. A lot of “mixers” that create an AFH, at-home bar experience, and cold brew coffee.

3. Indulgently Healthy

Indulgence, more than a trend, is a prerequisite for other developments and innovations in food: many trends represent attempts to accommodate the ever-present demand for indulgence while satisfying other needs. Today the main challenge food companies face is to offer better- for-you products that do not compromise consumers’ enjoyment and taste. At the show, we noticed a “merging” trend: cross-category indulgence – mixing between formats, flavors and textures, to create a surprising and novel sensorial experience, translated into a unique experience.

Premium: Hand-made, crafted, curated – as well as rare and professional ingredients that help differentiate everyday products

Indulgent Cues: Ingredient such as chocolate and butter (plant based) which suggest a smooth, rich experience. Textures such as “creamy”, “whipped” also add indulgent insinuations.

Surprising Sensorial Experiences: Adult consumers search a compelling consumption experience, with an “out of context” ingredient. Flavor combinations, hybrid categories and unexpected formats or textures are included.

Guilt-free Indulgence: using healthier ingredients in indulgent products: less or no sugar; functional ingredients; aerated textures that offer less calories; etc.

4. Stress Free and Gut Health

Stress is a huge consumer concern this days; and companies use convenience, new consumption opportunities, as well as fun, humour and nostalgia in marketing, to create a less stressful experience. The gut-mind connection, as key to holistic wellness, was evident in many products. Mindfulness is an emerging claim.

Gut health, specifically probiotic and prebiotic fibers, was very prominent this year. The search for better digestive health includes allergen-free products, as people suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms consider themselves sensitive to certain ingredients.

Convenience: new product and packaging formats to cater to on-the-go snacking, sharing, and other consumption opportunities. This, again, pertains to keto-friendly options.

Allergen-free: products that are school friendly, FODMAP friendly, etc.

Fun and Mental Health: Botanicals and Stress-reducing Ingredients such as functional beverages, promoting calm and relaxation. Fun and humour in branding and communication.

“Boosts”: the emergence of supplements and nutraceuticals – if you’re missing some collagen or protein, don’t worry, just add it to your morning smoothie or afternoon coffee. On the go and “Clean Energy” was also noticeable.

5. Low Carb and Sugar-Free Lifestyle

Moderate carbs and low-carb diets, such as Paleo and Keto, created new takes on health and wellness. Ingredients such as MCT oil and other “healthy fats”, protein and gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free ingredients are incorporated into snacks and beverages, for easy on-the-go consumption.

MCT Oil and Ghee: incorporated into various products, including snacks and beverages.

Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised: the source of proteins, including dairy, poultry, meats and eggs, is important to consumers who follow “primal” diets and BFY low-carbers.

Bite Fuel: Power Bites – protein cookies. Grass fed whey

Grain-Free and Peanut-Free

: gluten-free is not enough – Paleo and Keto dieters look for legume-free and grain-free products.

Caffeine and Cold Brew: sugar-free and satisfying, Cold Brew coffee’s rise continues, with cold brew as ingredient in other products as well.

Alternative Sweeteners: maple, considered both a “Paleo friendly” and a vegan sweetener that is perceived as a natural alternative to processed sweeteners, is taking the center stage.  Stevia and monk fruit are used as sweeteners but, unlike previous years, are not being promoted as the key product and positioning claim.

 

In sum…

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