Key trends for food and drink manufacturers in 2018

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Plastic recycling and brand transparency were key trends that would impact food and drink manufacturers
Plastic recycling and brand transparency were key trends that would impact food and drink manufacturers

Related tags: Consumer protection

Food manufacturers are likely to be impacted by two key consumer trends from a list of four, set to dominated shoppers’ spending next year, according to new research from Mintel.

The trends towards recycled packaging and great transparency will have a direct impact on food and drink producers, predicted the research group.

The first trend, Sea change, referred to a growing number of consumers looking to buy products that used recycled packaging. This was to lessen the impact of plastic contamination to the seas and oceans.

Mintel research found that 72% of UK consumers would be interested in buying products made from wholly or partially recycled plastic.

Of those asked, 73% said they wanted to see more food and drink products that were guaranteed to be sourced from unpolluted water and 79% believed people should be incentivised to recycle.

Number one reason for choosing natural

Across the continent, a quarter of Spanish and German consumers said that the number one reason for choosing natural or organic food and drink was of the notion they were “better for the environment”.

Mintel said: “While plastics won’t be wholly demonised – they prolong shelf-life and prevent food waste – intensified eco-lobbying will produce more recyclable products, as well as incentives and initiatives ​[to promote recycling].

In food and drink consumer markets we will see pure, unpolluted sourcing claims and sustainable marine ingredients mainstream.”

The second trend that will impact food and drink firms, Accountants, called for companies to become more transparent.

Consumer distrust in governments

Catherine Cottney, manager of trends at Mintel, said: “Consumer distrust in governments and media is spreading to companies and so is the clamour for truth and transparency in ingredients and behind-the-scenes processes.

“More and more companies will take an ‘open kitchen’ approach and use their packaging, portals and premises o practise truth and transparency.”

Quantified and qualified facts would be in high demand from manufacturers, claimed Mintel, whether this was related to production processes or how effective the product is.

Cottney added: “With consumers more able to question and query the actions of brands, radical transparency will be the watchword for 2018, as they try and show they can be relied upon as trustworthy.

The full list of consumer trends was: Sea Change; Shareholders; Teenaiders; and Accountants (see box below).

Mintel’s key consumer trends for 2018

  • Sea Change – Ocean plastic fashion and recycled packaging launches, ingredient bans and activism are focusing consumer and government attention on maritime conservation.
  • Shareholders – Hacks and data disclosure legislation form a new breed of consumers who will hold on tight to their data and demand something in return before sharing it.
  • Teenaiders – Teens are increasingly defined by anxieties around image, health and work, and are looking for brands to alleviate the pressure and help them build both their confidence and prospects.
  • Accountants – In a world of post-truth politics and unsubstantiated media, consumers are looking for brands to court them with transparency, simplicity and evidence.

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