Sustainability, healthy ageing and increased convenience are singled out as this year’s generation-spanning trends, plus how Brexit is likely to affect food prices
A vegan burger wrapped in cardboard would be a suitable emblem for this year’s trends in food and drink, which will focus on sustainability, health and wellness and convenience, according to a Mintel study.
An increasingly circular approach to food and drink production will be required, from sourcing of the ingredients right through to packaging disposal or reuse, says the Mintel Global Food and Drink Trends Report, based on comment from analysts and food and drink experts and consumer research across 15 countries. “Like nutrition, sustainability will become an expectation for companies to offer consumers,” says Emma Schofield, global food science analyst.
The report points to a seismic shift already happening in packaging, as consumers learn about the damage of plastics, and governments and manufacturers commit to improving recycling. Demand for more corporate sustainability programmes is likely to grow, the Mintel report predicts, and organisations will need to continue to innovate in reusable materials and improve recycling, reuse and composting of packaging.
Air pollution, soil health and regenerative agriculture will also be part of holistic sustainability programmes, it says.
As we all expect to live longer, the health benefits of food and drink are becoming more important, the report finds, with food and drinks firms following the beauty industry to create products that help people look and feel young. “While the ‘silver’ consumer is, today, the foremost demographic for anti-ageing beauty and personal care, the trend of healthy ageing spans all generations,” says Angelia Teo, content manager for Mintel Beauty and Personal Care, Asia Pacific. She advises food and drinks brands to ‘take the hard-earned lessons learned from the beauty industry’, and give consumers solutions to age in a positive and liberating way.
The report recommends manufacturers tap into emerging research to reposition products, such as the importance of eye health to address a population that looks at screens regularly and including vitamins and minerals to help immune systems and brain health. Crossovers in the two sectors have already begun, it says, pointing to Yakult Beauty Plus drinking yoghurt, and Beauty Sweeties, a German-made vegan gummy sweet with ‘health-giving’ ingredients.
The third trend for 2019 identified by the Mintel report is raised expectations in convenience food, from the healthy eating demands of the busy consumer, foodie-inspired flavours, and fast delivery. With quick service restaurants and fast food service delivery, packaged food and drink firms need to stay competitive, with a wide distribution, as on-the-go consumers shop across channels for quick solutions, it says.
Lynn Dornblaser, director of Insights and Innovation says that convenience food appeals to many consumer groups, from young urbanites, suburban parents, and seniors who cook less often, to working-class families that need to get more done in less time. “The common denominator: everyone is pressed for time,” she says. Mintel predicts a rise in restaurant-quality, ready-to-consume products, short-cut solutions such as meal kits, and smart mobile, home appliance and retail technology to help plan, shop and prepare food.
The latest UK Foodservice Price Index