Innova Market Insights has described in detail all of its top trends in the food industry for 2018, with “Say It with Color” appearing as number 6 on the list. In a webinar hosted by FoodIngredientsFirst yesterday, Director of Innovation Lu Ann Williams explained all the trends that are expected to take the food world by storm next year. The first five of Innova Market Insights’ top trends for the coming year were recently covered on FoodIngredientsFirst, with “Mindful Choices” tipped to be No 1 for next year.
The remaining five trends show great diversity, ranging from colorful foods perfect for social media “likes” to a bewildering array of food choices that originate from the sea.
Say It With Color
“Instagrammable” food is becoming more and more vital to millennials, so the time for foods with vibrant colors has arrived.
“People do fantastic Pinterest pages, for example, all color-coded or highlighting really interesting things like this,” says Williams. “We know that around 10 percent of consumers in the Netherlands, Australia, Spain and the US are really influenced by social media when it comes to purchasing foods and beverage, but in some countries – like China – it’s double that.”
While social media appears to be playing a huge part in the trend, natural food colors are also opening up the opportunity to deliver products that connect bright colors and health. Williams gives the example of Innocent’s red, almost monochromatic presentation of its Raspberry & Cherry Super Juice to highlight the goji berries that are meant to tackle tiredness, along with the bright yellow color of Suja’s Drinking Vinegar with turmeric and ginger.
Dining Out, In
The lines between foodservice and grocery are being blurred, and this is opening up new opportunities for food experiences at home. As consumers look for restaurant-quality experiences, more innovation in consumer-packaged products is tapping into this need.
“We can eat or drink anywhere. So the whole idea of where you eat and how you eat is changing as well,” Williams observes, adding, “We know that younger consumers are willing to pay more for quality meals. We can see that older consumers are more worried about cost and younger consumers are less worried about it.”
Thanks to this trend, dining formats such as bowls are trending up, fresh meal kits are on the rise and signature dishes are becoming more prevalent.
From Snacks to Mini Meals
Busy lifestyles mean that meal times and occasions are becoming less prevalent and people are seeking quick and convenient, yet healthy, solutions.
Snacks are becoming not only healthier, but also more wholesome, satisfying, sustaining and nutritious. This is creating more and more opportunities for snacks to take on the role of mini meals.
“The other thing that we see happening in the snacking area is fruits and vegetables with a snack claim,” comments Williams. “There are lots and lots of them and we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in fruits and vegetables with a snack claim over the period of 2012 to 2016.”
Nutrient-dense vegetables from the sea, like kelp and spirulina, have long been established in the supplements sector. Now they are finding their way into a wider variety of new food and beverage products due to their ability to provide nutritional fortification, act as a natural source of color and deliver unique flavors, with umami being a particularly strong example.
Commenting on the trend of charcuterie specialties from the sea, Williams notes: “This is all very chef-driven, but this is what usually starts off new trends. There are some nice examples of sea specialties being used in a new and different way.”
Brands are always looking to connect more closely with consumers in terms of their specific needs and tastes. “It goes back to that whole idea of consumers’ interest in novelty and variety,” Williams notes. “They always expect something new; they expect to be able to have everything all the time.”
The factors of demand diversification and fierce market competition are driving a segmentation of the market that targets more specific dimensions. Therefore, Innova Market Insights is seeing more creative use of positioning and flavor to differentiate and distinguish products in order to bring novelty and excitement. From peanut butter to ketchup and tea, some of the more staid food and drink categories are being reinvigorated.
“I think this also speaks to what’s happening with, I don’t like the term, but big food companies,” Williams says. “I can imagine that people eat their standard peanut butter Monday to Friday and then on the weekends, they want funky peanut butter, for example.”
“Around 10 percent of consumers in every category usually say they’re attracted to novelty and variety,” Williams observes. “I think this is where some of the declines are coming in big food companies, and there’s growth for these small niche products that are meeting this consumer need and interest in novelty.”
full list of trends for 2018 is:
1. Mindful Choices
2. Lighter Enjoyment
3. Positively Processed
4. Going Full Circle
5. Beyond the Coffeehouse
6. Say It With Color
7. Dining Out, In
8. From Snacks to Mini Meals
9. Ocean Garden
10. Bountiful Choice