As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead to the trends set to mold and shape food and beverage over the course of the next year. The year 2016 saw a lot of changes in the food and beverage industry. Consumers are finally tiring of everything ‘kale’ and vegetarians are demanding more protein-based foods with the actual look, taste, and texture of real meats. Ramen has been strong among Westerners this year, as has everything organic, natural, and ‘free from’ what consumers perceive as ‘bad’ ingredients, including gluten, wheat, and dairy products.
For 2017, you’ll need to invest in the latest food and beverage software in order to keep pace with increasing complexities in the supply chain for consumers who are savvier than ever about food additives, preservatives, and production techniques. It’s also time to consider what changes you need to make in terms of processing, packaging, and marketing. Here are the top trends guiding food and beverage at the dawn of 2017.
1. Prepare to accommodate the ‘Flexitarian’
As vegetarianism gains momentum, many people who are reluctant to give up meat completely are taking a middle ground. The term is ‘flexitarian,’ and it refers to people who are primarily vegetarians but allow themselves some animal-based foods occasionally.
This is an excellent term to tack onto a marketing campaign, especially if you have meat-free products or products with a limited amount of animal-based ingredients. As with products that contain trace amounts of potential allergens, it’s essential to have current food distribution software to keep track of the ingredients and precisely which products have come in contact with your food production machinery and equipment.
2. High-pressure processing is replacing food full of preservatives
Consumers are becoming more aware of techniques like HPP that serve as healthier alternatives to food and beverage additives and preservatives. Not only is HPP an excellent manufacturing technique, it’s becoming a powerful marketing term, especially when reaching those audiences that demand foods and drinks free of unnatural additives and preservatives.
3. The market is still searching for ‘The Next Kale’
Kale, a mainstay of the healthier eating communities for the past several years, is growing stale with the public. The food and beverage industry is still seeking the ‘next big thing’ that will inevitably replace kale, and seaweed is a strong possibility. Endowed with many health benefits and driven by the Western trend of Eastern food staples like ramen, seaweed is likely to be a hot food commodity in the very near future.
4. Look for snack & meal drinks to become more popular
The trend toward healthier eating, combined with the increased demand for delicious foods that can consumed ‘on the go,’ is fueling the market for snack drinks and drinkable meals. This is definitely not the same as the meal replacement dietary drinks popular in the 1980s. Snack and meal drinks are healthy and nutritious, supplemented with healthy ingredients like linseed, quinoa, chia, and buckwheat.
5. Plant waters are in
Plant waters are another strong force in the market for 2017. In addition to the current offerings like coconut water, fruit waters, and herbal waters, look for the market to add new plant and tree waters to the mix, including maple, birch, and cactus waters.
Do you have the food distribution software you need to fully manage your supply chain, track the ingredients in your foods and beverages, and accurately label your products for an increasingly savvy consumer market? Find out what you need to know when you download the NexTec Food Brochure.