Our team of food experts walked the floor at the recent Fancy Food Show where thousands of exhibitors were showcasing new and interesting food and flavor products.
Here are some of the key trends we identified:
Plant-Based, More than a Buzzword
As Americans obsess about clean labels and sustainability in the food they eat, alternatives to traditional dairy and meat products have exploded in popularity among health-conscious shoppers. In the U.S. alone, sales of plant-based food products grew 20% in 2018, according Nielsen. Traditional products such as jerky, burgers and cheese are being re-imagined in ways that meet the nutritional and flavor needs of vegetarian and vegan eaters.
Insight: As the trend toward plant-based foods accelerates, it is incongruous with low carb, paleo or keto diets which has us wondering if low carb eating will become a trend of the past. Watch more media stories appear about the negative environmental impact of eating meat-based protein.
Global Flavors Travel to Local Shelves
Americans are traveling more internationally, which has produced a more sophisticated food palette eager to embrace international and authentic regional foods and flavors. This is most prevalent within the snacking space, where bold and ethnic flavors have become commonplace. In fact, 2019 has been pegged as the year of the “adventurous consumer,” meaning shoppers will actively be searching for products that are exotically flavored as a means of getting more acquainted with other cultures, and that origin story matters.
Insight: This trend particularly resonates among Gen Z and Millennial consumers, many of whom consider themselves foodies and who may be intrigued by exotic flavors, not only for their taste, but also for the adventurous, rich sensory experiences associated with them.
From Inside to Outside, Food for Beauty
This year, we can all expect to see more foods that correlate taste, health and beauty benefits, as consumers embrace nutrition as a means of a healthy lifestyle and better personal care. Ingredients like collagen, rose hip, argan oil and almond oil are becoming staples in many food products, and appeal to a growing segment interested in healthy aging and longevity.
Insight: As these ingredients gain popularity, brands that offer traceability, transparency and a clean label will continue to set themselves apart. The link between healthy eating, feeling and looking good is being better defined, as consumers are seeking foods that promote natural beauty and wellness.
A Glow-Up of Everyday Flavors
Mixing distinct ethnic and flavor styles has become more popular, with unique origins, ingredients and flavor combinations merging into staple food products. While olive oil is still the queen of oils, variations like pecan oil and grapeseed oil are gaining popularity among chefs, particularly for their high smoke points. After regaining attention for its use in the keto diet, Ghee continues to gain prominence, including with flavor variations such as infused spices and herbs like vanilla, rosemary and garlic. Even hot sauce has a new taste palette with variations including black truffle.
Insight: Continue to look out for brands that combine distinct flavors into new and interesting combinations.
Packaging Embraces Natural Themes
This year brings a new look for product packaging, as an explosion of color is replacing the minimalist blacks, whites and grey scale tones of recent years. Look for less plastic packaging, and for food products to be clad in the colors of nature with imagery of flora and fauna. Brands are glamming up the traditional farm-to-table, rustic look in their packaging, moving toward sophisticated and natural looking designs.
Insight: As consumers increasingly seek natural products, clean labels and simple, natural ingredient lists, brands are using soft, clean and natural visual elements on their packaging. There is an increase in the use of brilliant colors pulling themes from nature – think flora and fauna.
If your brand is embracing any of these, or other food-related trends and is looking for a partner to bring your story to life through marketing communications solutions, the team at WCG should be your first consideration. We specialize in strategic planning, shopper marketing, influencer marketing, content marketing, earned and paid media, and public relations, with an emphasis on transforming your brand to stay relevant in today’s fast-paced world.
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