Last month, we put on our golf shoes, loaded our pockets with golf balls, tees and ball markers, and hit the course with our clients at Ardent Mills for their fourth annual charity golf tournament. We were honored to take part in their record-breaking event, which raised $200,000 for the Food Bank of the Rockies, a nonprofit organization that distributed nearly 49 million meals through direct service programs and partner agencies last year.
With the money raised at this year’s event, the Food Bank of the Rockies will be able to provide 800,000 meals for those in need. This was heartwarming to hear, since one out of every 10 people doesn’t know where their next meal is going to come from. While our team didn’t win, this year’s event, which included 96 companies and 250 participants, was a huge success and set the bar high for next year’s golf tournament (scheduled to take place on June 20, 2019).
Each year, we research food, ingredient and dining trends for the year ahead. In 2017, we focused on clean-label and natural ingredients as well as nonalcoholic beverages, protein-rich snacks and more. Below, we dive into the five biggest trends we believe consumers will look for in 2018.
Transparency The natural and clean-label movement is not going anywhere. Today’s consumers are more informed and health conscious than any other generation, creating unique challenges for food companies as they aim to deliver high-quality products with natural and recognizable ingredients. In addition, other natural claims, such as organic, fresh, antibiotic-free, minimally processed and non-GMO, are being used more often in food product marketing, proving transparency to be an effective tactic in engaging with consumers.
Convenience It is no surprise that today’s consumers are busier than ever. They want high-quality food and beverage products they can consume on the go. As a result, grocery stores are beginning to offer meal-kit options that provide quick and convenient solutions. In 2017, in-store meal kits surpassed more than $80 million in sales, and they are expected to reach more than $100 million by 2020, according to a recent report by Nielsen. In the coming year, it will be increasingly important for food production companies to provide consumers with convenient, high-quality food and beverage products.
Innovation In addition to convenient dining options, consumers are increasingly focused on seeking out innovative meal options that are nutritious, tasty and “Instagram worthy.” Social and environmental issues are also top of mind for many of today’s consumers, especially as we prepare for a world population of 9 billion people. As a result, the food industry is seeking new, environmentally friendly food and beverage solutions. For example, the global market for dairy alternative drinks is expected to reach $16 billion in 2018, according to Innova Market Insights. By using science and innovative technology to advance certain recipes and ingredients, food production professionals can increase their chances of winning over health-conscious consumers.
Guilt-Free Indulgence As more consumers seek natural and minimally processed products, the fermented foods craze shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. Now more than ever, food production professionals are repurposing their processes and applications to incorporate more fermentation and cold-brewing options, according to Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for 2018. From kombucha and kefir to kimchi and sauerkraut, gut-loving concoctions are sure to be a hit in the coming year — and the more innovative, the better.
Culinary Heritage In its Top Six Food Trends for 2018, Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute predicts culinary heritage to be one of the most popular trends. With nearly 1 in 3 Americans consuming foods that contain multicultural flavors at least once a week, food production companies have an opportunity to capitalize on “the personal stories that define our food” by bringing culinary traditions to life.
As consumers’ eating and shopping habits continue to evolve, it is important for food production companies and retailers to ensure they are providing consumers with innovative, healthy and convenient products. Looking ahead, food production professionals should aim to use ingredients that fall under the categories mentioned above if they wish to build trust and gain buy-in from consumers in 2018.
Recently our CEO, Mark Hughes, was interviewed for the IFT Student Association blog, Science Meets Food. Mark participated as part of the blog’s “A Chat With…” series, which provides students with information on different careers available in the food industry. Check out the article on Science Meets Food or read through the interview below to learn more about Mark and why he loves being an active voice in the food industry.
A Chat With…Mark Hughes, Marketing & Management Division
Company: Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing (APFIM), a full-service, B-to-B marketing communications firm specializing in the global food ingredient industry and the unique marketing needs of food ingredient companies.
One of the best parts of my role at APFIM is that I get to travel the world, meet some remarkable and interesting people, and gain a greater knowledge of global industry trends and advances. I’ve been fortunate to be invited to speak at international food industry conferences including the Food Ingredients Global Summit in London and the Fi Europe Conference in Paris. In 2016, I was a featured speaker and panelist at the annual meetings of the RCA, IFT and IBIE, as well as at the Hi Europe Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. While in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to share my knowledge on best practices for food ingredient marketers and how to work with the next generation of B2B ingredient customers.
What’s the most fun experience you’ve had on the job so far?
The Division Networking Reception at the annual IFT meeting is always great. The M&M Division leadership group is always there, and it’s a perfect time to meet new people and recruit new members for the division. But most of all, it’s a lot of fun, and I walk away from the event each year feeling like I just built friendships with some of the coolest people in the world.
What do you wish people knew about your current job?
As a participating member of the marketing and food science community, I wish that more people knew about the role food science plays in addressing important global issues like food security and population growth in developing countries. If there’s a trend I’d like to see more of, it would be the industry working together to communicate the food science story to consumers. Demand for transparency has given rise to technologies that enable consumers to learn about the ingredients in the packaged food they buy. But we need to take a global view beyond what 50 million well-off people in North America want. There are still billions of people in underdeveloped parts of the world who we need to consider, people who get up in the morning and simply wonder if there will be food to eat that day. Food science can make a huge impact on the lives of these people.
I always say I want to be a participant in the industry; I don’t just want to be a spectator. And being involved in the divisions lets me work with a group of really smart people who share the same feeling. It connects me with people who recognize that the work we’re doing in this industry not only affects us but also affects the wellbeing of people all over the world.
What is the best career advice you have gotten?
Love the work you do and work on what you have a real passion for.
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!
Over the past few months we’ve gathered and analyzed the various 2016 foodservice trend reports published this time of year and one thing is for certain, some of the most prevalent foodservice trends are less about what is on the plate and more about how it gets there.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) recently published its 2016 “What’s Hot culinary forecast.” The NRA surveyed over 1,500 members of the American Culinary Federation to determine what items will be a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on 2016 menus. Of those surveyed, 80% rated “locally sourced meats and seafood” as a hot trend—the highest percentage across all categories. “Hyper-local sourcing” focuses on dishes and drinks made with ingredients originating onsite—for example, drinks crafted from spirits distilled in-house—and ranked in the top five trends between “locally grown produce” and “naturally processed ingredients.” It’s clear, in 2016, chefs will continue to curate menus with items developed using ingredients with recognizable, local origin stories.
The 2016 foodservice trend reports not only addressed where menu items come from, but also how they get to the consumer—a process that will continue to evolve in the coming year. Technomic’s trend report, Technomic’s Take: 2016 Food Trends, includes an item deemed “The Delivery Revolution.” Consumers are no longer regulated to the usual pizza or Chinese when they want to order in for the night. Mobile apps are providing services that deliver a wide range of cuisines from restaurants in the area.
Baum + Whiteman agrees in its 11 Hottest Food & Beverage Dining Trends, noting, “Tech-driven delivery is 2015-2016’s Big Disrupter of food retailing and food service…aimed at the ultimate consumer convenience,” a diverse menu delivered right to your door. Baum + Whiteman lists a sampling of available third-party apps offering food delivery services including Google, uberEATS, Amazon Prime Now, Grub Hub and Yelp. Fast food and quick-service restaurants are beginning to respond to the threat from third-party apps by developing delivery services of their own—a trend predicted to gain traction in 2016.
What interesting foodservice trends have you seen forecasted for 2016? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.
According to the Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends report published by market research firm, Mintel, 62% of millennials and 56% of U.S. adults identify as adventurous eaters, with 82% of consumers stating they were willing to try new flavors. This interest in the bold and unexpected permeates a variety of 2015 flavor-trend predictions with forecasts focusing on pungent flavors that provide a strong taste for consumers. An assortment of spicy Middle Eastern and Asian flavors can be seen throughout, along with an increasing focus on sour, smoky and bitter notes.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) backs its Top 5 2015 Flavor Trends predictions with extensive data from a variety of sources and provides “drivers” behind each trend. Sweet + Heat is chosen from consumers’ love of spicy flavors and a growing interest in heat mixed with sweet ingredients—think chili peppers with berries and citrus fruits. IFT notes that manufacturers are already pursuing this trend with Kalsec introducing Tangy Sweet Ginger, Spicy Orange, Herbal Jalapeño and Sweet-Roasted Chipotle at the 2014 IFT Food Expo. IFT includes spice’s ability to play to consumers’ view of a product’s authenticity, as well as studies showing that spice might have a positive effect on the metabolism as drivers of this trend. IFT predicts sour, bitter and tangy flavors with a focus on fermented foods will also be big in 2015, noting kimchi as a strong influence on consumers growing interest in fermented products. Like Sweet + Heat, IFT includes “authenticity and health and wellness” as a driver of this trend. IFT rounds out its forecast with umami, smoke and oak, and Middle Eastern and North African flavors.
Last year, The McCormick® Flavor Forecast® predicted chilies, Indian, Mexican and Brazilian flavors would satisfy consumer cravings for heat in 2014 and it seems in 2015, consumers will still crave heat but now from regions like the Middle East and Asia. Like IFT, McCormick’s trend categories included umami, smoke and all around spicy ethnic flavors. Consumers looking for tang will turn to products that feature Sour + Salt. Those craving umami will turn to vegetables that include the “fifth taste”—mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori. Smoked spices will provide depth to drinks and condiments, while fruit and vegetable juices and purees mixed with herbs and spices will add flavor to soup and sauce applications. On the dessert front, cookies will get a sophisticated makeover flavoring brûlées, tarts and bars.
Comax Flavors picked four flavor category trends for its Flavor Trends for 2015 press release: Melting Pot, In a Nutshell, Coffee House and Breakfast Anytime. With Melting Pot, you’ll find flavors with Hispanic and Asian influences. In a Nutshell focuses on nuts bringing new flavor to sweet applications like bourbon caramel pistachio and savory applications like pecan chipotle. Coffee House focuses on consumers increased demand for coffee and the opportunity for coffee mixed with unexpected flavors. For example, Comax Flavors developed cofftea and cabernet espresso to celebrate National Coffee Day in 2014.
Firmenich, an international producer of flavor solutions, reports that honey will be the flavor of 2015. In an article from BakeMag.com, Patrick Salord, senior flavorist at Firmenich, stated, “For a flavor that is as sweet as honey is, it shows remarkable versatility. Depending on the application, you can tone down the sweetness or even tone it up! It’s a flavor that has no limit in its potential, and people respond to that.” While honey has been growing in popularity in recent years, it will be especially popular in 2015 as a vessel for the bolder spicier flavors forecasted.
As we continue to read about and share with you more predictions for 2015 food industry trends, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts on what trends you think the food industry will see in 2015.
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