Mintel recently released their 2018 projections for food and drink trends and our team here at Curiosity was all over it. In case you didn’t have time to review the report on your own time, we took the time to summarize the key takeaways. Enjoy!
Currently, transparency is one of the biggest consumer demands, especially from food and drink companies. What exactly does this mean? Well, consumers are starting to care more and more about where their food is coming from and what it contains. More so, people want to be informed and reassured that what they are putting into their bodies is not only safe, but ethical as well. Companies are having to make some big changes to overcome this challenge. Keep an eye out with some of your favorite foods, you may start to see changes in eco-friendly packaging, bolder, in-your-face ingredients and maybe even claims about their manufacturing process. All of these little things are part of a bigger effort to instill confidence in the consumers, both with the purchases they make and the food that they eat.
Piggybacking off of this industry-changing trend, comes accessibility. As more and more companies get on board with transparency, consumers from all walks of life will be hit with the hard facts about what is in their food. This will create a shift in the way that health food was once perceived. No longer will it be viewed as a luxury, but rather a vital step in the purchase process when choosing between what food to buy. It will become much easier for consumers with even small budgets to make healthier decisions.
Some 2018 trends are a direct correlation of the stress, constant connectivity and distrust in the media and politics that we experience on a daily basis. As a result, self-care is something that has evolved into more of a routine relief. Rather than indulging every once in a while, the demand for more regimented, better-for-you treats has been a common practice. This idea of a balanced lifestyle supports smaller portioned treats and relaxation properties like lavender- or herb-flavored snacks. To maintain these structured diets, it is crucial that these foods are convenient enough to champion hectic schedules. Some snack brands have adjusted to this by creating single-serve, on-the-go packets. Pre-portioned cooking ingredients are becoming more popular as well.
Engaging the Senses
One of the more interesting and unexpected shifts this year will revolve around texture. This sensory-engaging property will be leveraged to create more “documentation-worthy experiences.” We have seen this in previous years with vibrantly colored food. Consumers want to share these beautiful creations and fun experiences on social platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, and we expect the same result with texture-friendly food and drinks. Some texture innovations that have already surfaced are Oreos with pop rocks in the creme and the Fanta Sour Tingle drink. Because more and more healthy options are popping up in the market, we expect to see texture dominating in this space; promoting features like thick pulp, crispy vegetables, chewy dried fruit and smooth tapioca pearls. This trend is sure to surprise and delight.
The biggest question on your mind is probably not about the food and drinks at all, but rather the shopping experience altogether! The news is booming with innovation in the shopping space, particularly in grocery. Services like home delivery, order ahead, digital coupons, Amazon Go, Google Home, etc., are all working toward the same goal: making grocery shopping more convenient, affordable and customized. Thanks to loyalty cards and shopper history, companies are able to track purchases, making more personalized and relevant product recommendations. Since people are spending less time browsing the aisles at the grocery store, this creates an additional barrier for new product immersion and brand loyalty. Expect big changes this year as technology continues to disrupt the shopping experience as we know it.
Curiosity looks forward to further monitoring the food and drink category as it continues to evolve over time. Staying up-to-date on the interests and desires of our consumers is only one of several initiatives that foster our bold, smart and efficient lifestyle.
—Madeline Yurkoski | Fall Intern