In the food and beverage space trends are constantly evolving, and companies need to stay ahead of the curve to remain relevant and appealing to fickle consumer palates. Ever since Sex and the City was credited with putting cupcakes on the map—and kitchens across the country—trend forecasters and brands alike have scrambled to predict the “next big thing” to hit grocery shelves.
Charcoal and alternative flours may have been some of the buzziest ingredients around in 2017, but what can consumers expect to see more of? Hint: things are hitting a high note.
- Extreme Transparency—The single most overarching trend in food is transparency. Discerning consumers are no longer content with knowing what is in their food, they also want to know how it was grown, where it came from, and why it was selected. It’s not enough to be locally sourced, people want their food to tell a story. With so much competition on grocery shelves, brands should be trying to forge a connection with consumers, and being transparent about ingredients—and the background behind them—can play a key role in winning over shoppers.
- Super Powders—(Maybe) the only time that it’s acceptable to have a cocktail before breakfast is when it’s a mix of today’s most popular superfood powders. Health-conscious consumers looking to address a myriad of concerns ranging from anti-aging, hair and nail growth to immune health have been flocking to powdered supplements like collagen and bee pollen. They’re also being served up in every way imaginable– mixed into smoothies, baked into protein bars, and even sprinkled into popular snack foods.
- Plant-Based Foods—The veggie burger was just the beginning. So far, 2018 has brought us a plant-based burger that “bleeds” like the real thing, and a growing interest in Oat Milk. This is a trend that will continue to flourish as more consumers experiment with plant-based diets, either due to health concerns or dietary restrictions.
- Cannabis Cuisine—With an increasing number of states legalizing cannabis, expect to see food and beverage brands unveiling everything from cannabis-infused candies to snack crackers. Growth will be determined by legislation, but marijuana snacks represent a major emerging category for food retailers and manufacturers alike.
- Bubbly Beverages– La Croix may have started the seltzer craze, but there seems to be a never-ending parade of competitors eager to carry forward the torch. Expect to see more of these on shelves in out of the box flavors like maple, birch and cold brew coffee.