Processors looking to make a sure bet on what foods and beverages to produce for next year should focus on clean and healthy products, according to Innova Market Insights. Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at the research firm, says the company looked through all its data and customer requests and saw many of the same trends from the last few years persisting.
The top 10 trends to watch for 2017 include:
1. Clean supreme
The healthy, natural trend first made Innova’s list in 2008 and has continued to stay in the top 10 although it has changed a bit over the years. Now it’s about cleaner formulations, more transparency and using new, less invasive processing technologies.
2. Disruptive green
“Plants are on trend,” says Williams. New product launches with plant-based claims have gone up almost seven times since 2011. Plant milks and alternatives for meat are all showing strong growth.
3. Sweeter balance
New scientific findings are putting more pressure on reducing sugar consumption. In response, food companies are responding by cutting the sugar amounts in their products where they can.
4. Kitchen symphony
Ethnic flavors are still popular among today’s consumers, even very young kids. “High-authentic” foods using specific ethnic ingredients based on global influences are thriving, especially in North America and Europe. Thai, Indian and Mexican are some of the most popular international flavors.
5. Body in tune
Personalized nutrition is in. Consumers are interested in the way food makes them feel, from carbs producing bloating to proteins providing energy boosts.
6. Plain sophistication
The craft trend is still attractive to consumers. From craft beer to “carefully crafted” mayo, the idea of having foods produced as simply and as close to the farm has been gaining steam in the last few years and changing the way people think about the foods they eat. “Simple eating is premium eating,” says Williams.
7. Encapsulating moments
More products are targeting specific eating occasions, from food “on- the-go” to using a certain product to create an “indulgence” time.
8. Beyond pester power
Kids are being targeted now for more than just cereal and candy. Their pallets are expanding and so are their interests, specifically in cooking, and food companies are taking notice.
9. Fuzzy borders
Boundaries for products are becoming more blurred. Ready-to-drink coffee is being blended with almond milk; smoothies are incorporating energy ingredients in them as are dairy drinks. Are these afternoon snacks, breakfast foods, or pre/post-workout drinks? Yes.
10. Seeds of change
Seeds and grains are getting their moment in the spotlight. Ingredients like chia and quinoa are moving into the mainstream, attracting interest from more than just health-food enthusiasts.