It’s that time of year when the food industry looks ahead to predict what will be hot in the new year to come. Since we get inundated with so many upcoming trends during this busy holiday season, each year we like to take this opportunity to put together trend roundups in a variety of categories. Today we’ll be examining the biggest trends we believe consumers will look for in 2017.
Innova Market Insights recently distributed its annual trends press release, ’Clean Supreme’ Leads Top Trends for 2017. And as you can tell from the title—and very similar to years past—clean label is no longer trending—it’s the rule. That being said, Innova delves deeper into how this translates for consumers in 2017. For example, even though sugar is a natural ingredient that many people recognize, consumers will increasingly look for identifiable, healthier, natural alternatives. Innova also predicts a consumer surge in the hunt for additional label claims, like “environmentally friendly” and “animal welfare,” that holistically makes them feel better about the products they consume. And along a similar vein, plant-based and vegan offerings will appear on consumer plates as an exciting alternative that meets growing consumer health and ethical standards.
While Sterling Rice Group touches on some more indulgent consumer trends in its Top Ten Trends That Will Have Diners Drooling in 2017 press release—including eating cake with breakfast—a major focus remains on foods that not only satisfy taste buds but the mind and body as a whole. Examples include following the “food as medicine” trend of “Dosha Dining” and turning to ready-to-eat fish for an easy, flavorful, protein-rich snack to curb hunger between meals with “Snackin Sardines.” Sterling Rice Group also reports consumers will look for more adventurous non-alcoholic beverages, which provide the exciting tastes of a cocktail without negative health impacts.
In MarketWatch’s article, The Next Hot Trends in Food, David Garfield, food-industry consultant at AlixPartners, further examines the changing beverage landscape. He states, “For a trend to go mainstream, it has to provide health benefits, be easily comprehensible, make economic sense for the manufacturer, and of course, taste good.” He predicts a consumer increase in the consumption of alternative beverages like cactus and maple water because they satisfy consumer desire for new beverages and can claim increased nutrition benefits like aiding digestion. He continues, “It’s even better if the product tells a story and has third-party verification, such as a certified-organic label.” Garfield predicts a rise in jackfruit consumption as an alternative meat because it is a natural, uncomplicated option that easily adapts to different tastes.
While Mintel’s report, Food & Drink Trends 2017 touches on an increased emphasis on plant-based products and new beverages trends that meet consumer health and wellness goals, it also examines how time is increasingly affecting consumer needs. The report states, “The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.” This trend extends to every aspect of a product—think quick-service grocery delivery technology and easily prepped meals to products that go from development to shelf in under 48 hours. “Products that share how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume, but are also healthy, will find their way into more homes.” Mintel also believes consumers will turn to functional products at nighttime to help induce sleep and add a sense of calm to bedtime routines.
Overall, while taste will always be important, we are increasingly seeing a need for products to satisfy more than just taste buds. Consumers want products that fulfill a number of health and wellness claims and, not only fit seamlessly into their schedules, but actually enhance them.
We’d love to know what trends you are most excited to see in the coming year. Please share in the comments below and be sure to check back next week as we explore upcoming foodservice trends for 2017!