Innova’s top 10 global food and drink trends for 2018

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Mindful Choices and Lighter Enjoyment were the top two of five key trends set to dominate consumer buying next year
Mindful Choices and Lighter Enjoyment were the top two of five key trends set to dominate consumer buying next year

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Food and drink purchases in 2018 will be guided by ‘mindful’ choices over ingredients and lighter, healthier foods that don’t compromise on taste, according to the top two of 10 key trends identified by Innova Market Insights.

The first trend, Mindful Choices, would see consumers being more conscious of making responsible food choices – regarding social and economic welfare – and wanting to know what is in their food and how it is produced.

Innova found that rising levels of interest in ethical issues had resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink new product development soaring in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate of 44% from 2011–2016.

The next trend, Lighter Enjoyment, referred to the growing number of consumers choosing foods that were lighter in alcohol, sweetness, flavour, texture or portion size as they tried to eat more healthily.

However, consumers wanted their healthier foods not to compromise on their familiarity, high quality or taste profiles.

Reviving traditional processes

Innova’s third food and drink trend for 2018, Positively Processed, reflected consumers’ interest in manufacturers reviving traditional processes, such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee.

This was in response to consumers becoming more concerned with naturalness and minimal processing techniques.

Going full circle, the fourth key trend, revealed consumers’ expectation that companies and brands would be more resource-smart as part of a circular economy.

Businesses could achieve this through developments such as ‘tip-to-tail’ eating – using every part of a raw ingredient, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.

The last of the top five key trends, Beyond the Coffeehouse, would see tea reinvent itself to compete with popularity of coffee among millennials and generation Z consumers.

The food and drink industry would increasingly use coffee and tea as ingredients and flavours outside the hot drinks, iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products, such as energy bars, yogurt and jam.

The other five trends, which will be presented in details at Innova's webinar tomorrow, are Say it with Colour, Dining Out, In, From Snacks to Mini Meals, Ocean Garden and Bountiful Choice (see box below).

Understand the ingredients in the products

The trends come as four out of 10 UK and US consumers ate more ‘healthy foods’, while seven in 10 said they wanted to know and understand the ingredients in the products they eat (see infographic below).

Commenting on the trends, Innova director of innovation Lu Ann Williams said: “Today’s consumer displays a high level of mindfulness about well-being and the environment.

“It is no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly mindful in their food choices, wanting to know what is in their foods in order to make decisions about health, sustainability and ethical issues.”

Innova will be presenting its top 10 trends at a live webinar tomorrow (November 21). 

Meanwhile, five key trends​ that are likely to impact the global food and drink market over the coming year have been announced by market intelligence agency Mintel.

Innova’s top 10 food and drink trends for 2018

  1. Mindful Choices
  2. Lighter Enjoyment
  3. Positively Processed
  4. Going Full Circle
  5. Beyond the Coffeehouse
  6. Say it with Colour
  7. Dining Out, In
  8. From Snacks to Mini Meals
  9. Ocean Garden
  10. Bountiful Choice

Innova infographic

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