Fear the food fads, innovation experts warn

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Food trends are being led by fake information, say Jonny Bingham (right) and David Jones (Photo©Sacha Ferrier)
Food trends are being led by fake information, say Jonny Bingham (right) and David Jones (Photo©Sacha Ferrier)

Related tags: Innovation, Nutrition

The dominance of the health agenda in food is leading to a “massive increase in faddy products” that hold no long-term value, two food innovation experts have warned.

Fake information and overselling is everywhere, but products were being accepted by a consumer base that knows no better, Jonny Bingham and David Jones claimed.

The pair believed there would be a glut of “faddy”​ products appearing in retail throughout the year, beginning with a fight over the next trend in water.

“Expect to see branded ‘tree water’, grain-based drinks and several others all vying to be the next big thing,”​ they said.

“There have also been predictions of an increase in purple varieties of vegetables, following on from a minor media presence.”

Areas of value in health

They did anticipate some areas of value in health. “Expect to see retailers enter the meal-kit scene and do it far more competitively than the current online delivery options.

“This health trend will also continue to support the rise of the premium takeaway services due to the perception that restaurant food is healthier as well as better quality,”​ they said.

Bingham and Jones also highlighted the rise of ‘plant power,’ a term they applied to anything from plant-based protein sources to products high in fibre and micronutrients.

“This will come into play throughout the year as high quality ‘flexitarian’ and vegetarian products will be a new product development focus, as their perceived value among the profitable millennial crowd increases,”​ they said.

The creation of innovative, interesting food

“The fight will be fought at the high end, with the creation of innovative, interesting food – moving away from the point of view that all retail vegetarian products are the same,”​ Bingham and Jones added.

Curiosity was picked out as another continuing trend, driving areas such as the search for novel foods, new world flavours and the ingredients to go along with them.

“There is definite value in seeking out those​ [flavours] that do not already have a high-street presence,”​ they said.

“When it comes to novel foods, as with previous years, there are many predictions that the markets for products like algae, seaweed and insects will continue to grow.

“From our understanding, though, all three of these still have a way to go before being fully accepted – but there are hints at a future where this is possible.”

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