The food and beverage industry is rapidly evolving to stay in line with modern customer demands. As the year unfolds we’re seeing brands lead the way in innovation for improved products, product development and customer service. Here we’re sharing a few of the leading industry trends.
With the vast amounts of information made available online, consumers today are more aware than ever about what should and shouldn't be in an ingredients list. Research from the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey found 7 in 10 consumers are willing to give up their favorite products for alternatives that don’t contain artificial ingredients, and more than half would be willing to pay more for them. In response, manufacturers have been working to provide more transparency in their product’s ingredients.
Eliminating hard to pronounce chemicals and additives in replace of natural flavorings and healthy preparation processes give customers the peace of mind they demand. Tools like Smart Label enable consumers to check out more detailed product information without brands having to sacrifice their packaging style.
Several brands are redesigning their products to use more natural ingredients entirely as others who aren’t adapting with the times face consumer backlash. Moving forward we can expect more food and beverage items to focus on label transparency and cleaner ingredients in order to stay competitive as the public demand grows louder.
Sustainable products have been on the rise over the past few years as consumers become more concerned with the state of our planet. This awareness has begun to impact the products we buy. In the IFIC study previously mentioned, 6 in 10 consumers believe it is important that the food they consume is produced in a sustainable way.
To meet these demands, many food manufacturers have publicly stated their commitment to sustainability. Brands like General Mills, Ben & Jerry’s, PepsiCo, and Lipton are working to produce their products sustainably. As consumers make more conscious efforts to choose these items, more brands will certainly be following the trend.
CBD & Cannabis-Infused Products
CBD has gained prominence across various industries, including food and beverage. In states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal, restaurants and manufacturers are infusing food and beverages with CBD products. Hemp CBD soda, CBD-sugar infused cocktails, and cannabis-infused treats like taffy and chocolates are at the forefront of this popular trend.
According to a recent survey from The National Restaurant Association and the American Culinary Federation, 3 in 4 chefs picked CBD-and cannabis-infused food as a hot trend. Some trendy hotels are even starting to stock their mini bars with high-end cannabis and CBD-infused products. As laws continue to change and the appeal of CBD increases, we’re sure to see much more of these products in this year.
Social media has created a world of sharing. As food and beverage brands promote their products through social media posts, customers too are looking to interact with brands in a way that they can share on their own profiles.
The term “Instagramable” embodies this trend perfectly as it refers to consumers’ desire to choose attractive, elaborate and unique product offerings. Some manufacturers have earned a lot of digital cred purely from their Instagram presence.
Beverage-top media is an innovative new marketing platform that prints customizable high-resolution images on coffee, beer, cocktails and other foam-based drinks. This trend is excellent for branded events and celebrations since it puts logos, messages and images right in front of consumers.
Taking it a step further, special printers are now also capable of using edible ink to print images on thin “sugar sheets” that dissolve into drinks or appear directly on top of a beverage’s cream or foam. The idea of the sugar sheet is similar to the images printed into frosting on a bakery cake. This emerging trend is sure to stick around as brands recognize the publicity opportunity a logoed drink creates, and consumers begin incorporating the decorative beverages into their personal events.
The food and beverage industry is bustling with new opportunities for brands to bite into. From emerging technologies to new production processes, there are great things happening within the industry this year.