The world of food is booming. Flexitarianism, eco-friendly packaging, non-alcoholic beverages… here’s an overview of current trends and those that will explode in the coming years.
Trends in brief
Generally speaking, consumers now want to buy foods that contribute to their health, notably to improve their immune system, their sleep, or to stabilize their mood. They are looking for functional foods that have the potential to positively influence their well-being.
Popular foods include anything fermented (e.g. kombucha) to help the digestive system. Adaptogenic plants, such as reishi, are also sought after to help the nervous system and cognitive performance. Spices are no longer sought after solely for their taste, but for their medicinal properties (e.g. turmeric). Another strong trend is low-carbohydrate or non-alcoholic beverages, as consumers increasingly want to reduce their sugar and alcohol intake.
Also, with the plant-based food market on the rise, so-called flexitarianism (which involves eating meat occasionally) is definitely one of the most important trends to watch. It also seems that younger generations are now used to eating small portions all day rather than three meals a day. The industry of soft bars and other healthy snacks will therefore also be positively impacted in the coming years.
No more veggie steak
Another trend to watch out for is to move away from fake meats and instead assume that the products we consume do not contain animal proteins. For example, we would rather not eat a hamburger containing a fake meatball and opt instead for a vegetable protein that does not try to imitate meat. In this sense, France has just banned misleading names such as “steak” or “sausage” to designate plant-based products.
The issue of food packaging is also on the minds of consumers. In addition to wanting to consume healthy products, they are now interested in the whole product consumed. They want to consume products that are good for their health and that of the planet.
For example, the DUX movement, a Quebec-based brand that helps consumers make informed food choices, takes into account both the nutritional value of a product and the environmental responsibility of the packaging to evaluate the quality of the products it promotes to its members.
Another fashionable way of approaching the eco-responsibility of food packaging is to reduce it as much as possible. The zero-waste movement is gaining followers and buying groceries in bulk is no longer a matter for a few individuals. Even the big brands are following the trend and rethinking their packaging. For example, Heinz is currently working on a wood fiber-based packaging to sell its famous condiment.
More direct labels
Since consumers want to eat better, they need to be better informed about the nutritional value of food. To that end, Canada will be introducing labels in the next few years that will warn consumers if the food products they want to buy are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. The labels will be placed prominently on the front of packages and will make it possible to popularize information that is already available in the Nutrition Facts table, but which is not understandable for a large proportion of consumers.
In conclusion, it is certain that marketers will closely follow these major trends in the food industry in order to help brands promote products that health-conscious consumers and the environment will want to consume.