Mintel picks 2017 global food and drink trends

New Zealand’s meat exporters working in markets around the world in 2017 can expect to see six key global food and drink trends.

Mintel, the market intelligence agency has identified the six key trends it believes are set to impact the global food and drink market in 2017. The market research says the coming year will be a year of extremes, from ‘ancient’ products including grains, recipes, practices and traditions to the use of technology to create more and better tasting plant-enhanced foods.

The researchers predict a rise in  both ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ claims as well as more products designed to help people calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Opportunities will exist for more products to leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs in formulations as a way to achieve a sense calm before bedtime. There will also be a valid excuse for night-time chocolate indulgence. In 2017 and beyond, expect to see more of the unexpected, including fruit snacks made with ugly fruit and mayonnaise made with the liquid from draining chickpeas, which has been dubbed aquafaba.

Mintel’s global food and drink analyst Jenny Zegler says the 2017 trends they have identified are:

  • In tradition we trust – consumers seeking comfort for modernised updates of age-old formations, flavours and formats
  • Power to the plants – the preference for natural, simple and flexible diets, which they predict will drive further expansion of vegtarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations
  • Waste not – The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations.
  • Time is of the essence – The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.
  • The night shift – evening is tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations that help people calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest, such as chamomile teas and chocolate
  • Balancing the scales – health for everyone – healthy food and drink are not ‘luxuries’.

In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that emphasise plants as key ingredients, predicts Zegler. “More packaged products and recipes for home cooking will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. Technology will play a part, already we have seen one company  use artificial intelligence to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products including milk, mayonnaise, yogurt and cheese.”

More retailers, restaurants and philanthropic organisations are addressing the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world, which is changing consumer perceptions, she says.

“In 2017, the stigma associated with imperfect produce will begin to fade, more products will make use of ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste such as fruit snacks made from “ugly” fruit and mayonnaise made from the  liquid from packaged chickpeas, and food waste will be re-purposed in new ways, such as power sources.”

Inequality is not just a political or philanthropic issue — it also will resonate more with the food and drink industry, Zegler comments.

“Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets but the access to — and the cost of — healthy food and drink is often an impediment. More campaigns and innovations are to be expected that will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their healthy ambitions, including apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale and, in a tie-in with Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend Waste Not, a value-priced box of ‘wonky’ veg.”

“This year’s global food and drink trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient and trustworthy food and drink,” she says.

“Across the world, manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to provide more people with food and drink that is recognisable, saves time and contains servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables and other plants. In addition, Mintel has identified exciting new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption, progressive solutions for food waste and affordable healthy food for low-income consumers.

“Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalise on these global food and drink trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future,” says Zegler.

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