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2020 food trends: what changes will the food industry see in the new year?
The 2019 food and beverage industry saw consumer awareness drive trends towards health and wellness, plant-based and clean label products. As we enter 2020, we are seeing amplified versions of similar trends spread across into more specialised categories.
Conscious consumerism will once again be at the heart of industry trends next year, with consumers continuing to put their own health, alongside the health of our planet, first.
Here’s a breakdown of FoodBev Media’s top five food trend predictions for 2020.
Healthy snacks on-the-run
Health-conscious consumers are now looking to find convenient ways to satisfy their hunger and boost nutrition, that can also fit around their busy lifestyles. The snacking market has boomed in recent years. According to Mintel Consumer Snacking UK (2019), 66% of adults admit to snacking at least once every day.
Snacking, and the way snacking is viewed, has changed significantly in recent years. The type of snacks consumers are now seeking has ultimately shifted towards healthier alternatives with functional benefits.
Popped and puffed snacks are a major trendsetter within this category, with brands such as Native Snacks, Plant Pops and Boomchickapop tapping into consumer demand for healthier snacking options. FoodBev named puffed snacks as a specific trend for 2020 in the December issue and quoted Bepps brand founder Eve Yankah, who believes “consumers want variety in snacking and so the opportunity for puffed grows as a result of this”.
There has also been a notable rise in protein snack options. Products such as Good! Snacks plant-based protein bars and Optimum Nutrition’s protein ridges range provide ready-to-eat protein hits for consumers on-the-go.
Figures from Grand View research claim the global healthy snacks market is predicted to reach USD 32.99bn by 2025, at a CAGR of 5.2%. Ultimately, healthy snacks provide grab-and-go options that meet the needs of consumers seeking both convenience and nutrition.
Health-conscious consumers are on the hunt for nutritional snacking options, and confectionery brands are now unlocking potential for ‘guilt-free’ indulgence by lowering the amount of sugar in their products. In 2019, new figures from England’s public health body reveal that between 2015 and 2018 there was a 2.9% reduction in sugar content in shop-bought food in the country.
Some brands are opting for sweetener over sugar, such as confectionery brand Lily’s Sweets, who introduced a range of stevia-sweetened peanut butter cups in the US earlier this year. Others are leaning towards a reduction in the amount of sugar they put into their products.
A key example of this is Cadbury Dairy Milk introducing 30% Less Sugar chocolate, which they described as “the most significant innovation” in Cadbury’s history. If major chocolate brand Cadbury is making a conscious effort to cut down on the amount of sugar in their products, then it is likely that others will follow suit in 2020.
Whilst low sugar products go hand in hand with the rise of the health-conscious consumer, they also coincide with both the Public Health England challenging the food industry to reduce 20% of sugar by 2020 and the introduction of the sugar tax on soft drinks in the UK in April 2018.
Watch this space for a plethora of new products with reduced sugars or artificial sweeteners in 2020. It is also likely we will see more syrups from sweet fruit and veg sources utilised to sweeten products, for example, sweet potato, pomegranate or dates.
Consumers are continuing to seek alternatives to meat and brands and retailers are making these options easier to find. According to a SPINS report commissioned by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association, in the US alone, retail sales of plant-based food grew by 11.3% over the past year, compared to a 2% rise in overall food sales.
It is not only vegan or vegetarian consumers who are interested in the plant-based options that are now available. Flexitarianism is now rife and many consumers are making conscious decisions to cut down on the amount of meat they are eating, and meat-plant blends offer them the taste of meat with the nutritional benefits of plant-based foods.
Many big meat brands are now offering blended alternatives, for example, Tyson Foods and Hormel. Check out our November edition of FoodBev magazine for more on meat-plant blends as a major food trend for 2020.
Similarly, we are also beginning to see a rise in dairy and plant-based milk 50/50 blends. For instance, Dairy Farmers of America launched a lactose-free range of half-and-half combination oat milk and dairy milk or almond milk and dairy milk products under its Live Real Farms brand.
Rachel Kyllo, senior vice president of growth and innovation at Live Real Farms, said: “We absolutely understand that consumer tastes are always changing and that many people are enjoying the benefits of both dairy milk and plant-based alternatives.”
The growing popularity of low-alcohol products recently has largely been down to the rise of the health-conscious consumer. Busy millennial consumers are now seeking ways to reduce both sugar and calories when out drinking to avoid feeling worse for wear the next day.
Hard seltzers and sodas are one way of doing this as they provide some hydration, lower ABV and tend to be sugar-free. In 2019, we saw various hard seltzer and soda releases, such as Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light Seltzer line and Crook & Marker’s release of their sugar-free spiked sodas.
This trend is set to be taken even further in 2020, towards alcoholic still water. Pura Still are currently leading this trend with their spiked still water beverages, which they claim “doesn’t need bubbles to keep things interesting”. These sorts of beverages provide consumers with a lighter way to drink alcohol with fewer calories, less bloating and reduced sugar.
The ‘better-for-you’ alcoholic drinks category is predicted to journey down more functional routes too, with drinks like hard kombucha on the rise. Kombucha is a nutritionally rich fermented probiotic drink and hard versions, such as Wild Tonic’s Hard Jun Kombucha, show wellness drinks crossing over into the alcohol category which is indicative of the current market. The thought that an alcoholic beverage could provide functional benefits may be appealing to many health-conscious Millennial consumers.
Hate to waste
Globally, around 1.3 billion tons of edible food is thrown away each year and this is expected to increase to 2.2 billion by 2025. Hence, reduction of food waste is set to be a priority for governments and organisations on both a local and regional scale.
At 44%, fruit and vegetables account for almost half of the food we waste, often due to consumer selectiveness over some being ‘imperfect’ looking. In 2020, we are likely to see more ‘wonky’ or unshapely foods both appearing in supermarkets and utilised in new products. Some examples of this are UK supermarkets Tesco’s ‘Imperfectly Perfect’ range and Asda’s ‘Wonky Veg’ range.
We are also now seeing new innovative ways to tackle the food waste problem with new technologies such as the ‘Too Good To Go’ app; which offers consumers the chance to get their hands on restaurant food that would otherwise be binned, for a minimal price.
Many countries around the world have now set targets to reduce food waste. For example, Australia has set a target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, whilst Scotland has aimed to reduce its food waste by one third by 2025.