Sustainability, wellness and convenience lead food trends for 2019

Sustainability, wellness and convenience lead food trends for 2019
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It’s that time of year where we cast our collective gaze towards the future of the food and drink with Mintel revealing the three biggest trends that will shape the industry into 2019.

Reflecting the changing preferences, tastes and social conscious of today’s consumers, the trends are dominated by sustainability, wellness and convenience.

Trend #1 Evergreen consumption

The definition of sustainability is extending to encompass the entire product lifecycle. From farm to retailer to fork to bin and, ideally, to rebirth as a new plant, ingredient, product or package, this 360-degree approach will ensure resources are kept in use for as long as possible.

The movement towards circularity as the new sustainability will require collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers, governments, non-profits, retailers and consumers.

A seismic shift in how consumers think about plastic is underway, with bio-based packaging materials set to be a key component to the next generation of responsible packaging.

In 2019 and beyond, sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but incentivising consumers to recycle packaging and offering upcycled goods.

At the same time, efforts to improve air pollution, support plant welfare, restore soil health and embrace regenerative agriculture will emerge as crucial elements of holistic sustainability programmes that are important to companies and consumers alike.

Trend # 2 Through the ages

Preparing oneself for a longer, healthier lifespan is particularly relevant as consumers prioritise health and wellness as a holistic, proactive, and ongoing pursuit. Longer lifespans present significant opportunities for food and drink manufacturers to take inspiration from the beauty industry, which has successfully established a model for healthy ageing by designing proactive products that are marketed with positive language to people of all ages.

Specific to the world’s diverse senior populations, their needs can be addressed through food and drink for medical purposes, as well as products designed for prevention, with formulations that are nutritious, flavourful, and easy to consume.

Yet as humans are living longer, more food and drink can be formulated to address concerns from people of all ages about bone, joint, brain and eye health as well as other age-related health concerns.

Trend #3 Elevated convenience

From breakfast to dinner, a new generation of modern convenience food and drink is emerging as manufacturers respond to rising healthy eating priorities, quests for foodie-inspired flavours, interests in personalisation and competition from speedy delivery services.

Looking ahead, a new wave of shortcuts will be available, offering new conveniences such as the expansion of individual meal kits sold at retail, foodservice-inspired packaged beverages, and a new generation of prepared meals, sides, and sauces that emulate the flavours and formats of restaurant meals.

Advancements in technology also will elevate the expectations of convenient food and drink options for consumers moving forward, from planning to shopping to preparation. Interest in premium convenience will not be limited to dinnertime, creating opportunities for every meal, snack, and beverage break.

The influence of sustainability, wellness and convenience

Jenny Zegler, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, said: “In 2019, support of and demand for more corporate sustainability programmes will grow as consumers better understand what’s required to get closer to achieving a truly circular food and drink economy.

“These sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling but creating products with ingredients that are grown in accordance to regenerative agriculture practices.

“Expect to also see food and drink manufacturers look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy ageing product development.

“More food and drink will address longevity-related health concerns, be marketed with positive language that rejects terms like ‘anti-ageing’ for its negative connotations, and appeal across ages.

“Finally, we predict the rising segment of consumers who are often on-the-go, yet want to spend more time at home will increase demand for upscale, ‘speed scratch’ solutions and restaurant-quality, ready- to-consume products.

“As meal kits and foodservice-inspired beverages lead the way, there will also be more opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable, and quick premium convenience products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert occasions.”