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Mintel reveals food/drink trends for 2018

Technology and growing distrust are shaping consumer preferences for the year ahead

Transparency and traceability, personalization, and food with texture are among the five key trends set to impact the global food and drink market in 2018, according to a new report from market research firm Mintel.

Texture

Mintel says food and drink capable of appealing to multiple senses provides consumers with an escape from the routine and stress of everyday life, and texture is following colour as the latest engagement tool. The sound, feel and satisfaction that texture provides is destined to become important to companies and consumers alike.

Mintel says companies can either emphasize the texture of existing products, such as an ad for Ritz in South Korea that demonstrated the noises made by opening and eating the product, or incorporated into products – such as the limited-edition Fireworks Oreo cookie introduced in the U.S. that featured popping candy inside the cream-filled centre.

Science fare

Some companies are already developing solutions that could one day replace farms and factories with scientifically engineered ingredients and finished products.

While laboratory-grown meat and animal-free dairy are some way away from becoming widespread, companies including General Mills, Cargill and Unilever are all working to accelerate development.

A U.S. company called Memphis Meats has already created lab-grown meatballs and cultured chicken and duck prototypes grown from stem cells, and is working toward a 2021 launch.

Another company, Impossible Foods, claims its plant-based burger requires 95% less land, 74% less water and creates 87% less greenhouse emissions than the existing meat supply chain.

Full disclosure

Growing consumer distrust in regulatory systems and manufacturers, combined with a pre-existing wariness created by food scandals and recalls, has led to increased interest in the origins of food and drink products.

Mintel’s Global New Products Database found 29% of global food and drink launches from September 2016 to August 2017 featured a natural product claim, up from 17% a decade earlier.

Only 20% of Canadians say they trust the health claims on food and beverage packaging.

Self-fulfilling practices

The hectic pace of modern life, constant connectivity and contentiousness is leading consumers to pursue “self-care,” and they are increasingly writing their own definition of healthy based on the occasion or need state.

Two-thirds of Canadians who eat sweet baked goods, for example, agree it’s acceptable to indulge occasionally, while 41% of snacking consumers in the U.K. agree unhealthy snacks high in sugar or salt are fine as part of a balanced diet.

Preferential treatment

The report says we’re at the beginning of a “new era of personalization” created by the expansion of online and mobile shopping.

The report says there are opportunities for companies to tempt consumers by creating products and suggesting combinations of goods that make shopping more efficient and affordable.

 

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