As the new year begins, new trends in food & drink can already be spotted, driven by new or established consumer needs. As every year, Mintel lays down the guidelines of trends that will shape this new year, in the report “Industry Trend 2023 Global Food & Drink Trends” by giving brands a way to improve their strategies, from ingredient selection and product development to packaging and claims.
Given the current situation, marked by ongoing socio-political and economic issues, energy and food supply crises, and the ever-present environmental concerns, consumers in 2023 remain cautious about their purchasing choices, more attentive to the economic aspect, but also to the nutritional and health aspect of the products they buy. This year’s trends follow the wake of one of last year’s trends, “Enjoyment everywhere,” looking at food and drink as moments you can indulge in, to relax, but at the same time take care of yourself. Let’s see together what are the most interesting trends for the food and beverage sector.
2022 juicier trends
We talk about Savvy Sustainance as a trend related to “smart” eating, which by including healthy and nutritious ingredients can ensure satiety and health benefits. Indeed, consumers are increasingly adopting healthy diets, aware of the impact that food has on their physical and mental health. Brands can capture this demand in several ways: by helping consumers make informed choices, through clear nutritional messages on the packaging, by associating well-known concepts such as the benefit of protein for muscle health. Therefore, it will be important for brands to understand how to communicate clearly and simply, facilitating choice for consumers. The Minimalist Messaging trend, refers precisely to a simplification of messages associated with products, to support consumers in finding products that suit their needs-in terms of accessibility, convenience, and nutrition. Among the messages to be conveyed, the main ones are related to the positive effects that food or beverage brings to health, on a physical, intestinal, as well as mental level. The Staying Sharp trend refer to consumer demand to enjoy foods that can help them stay productive during different parts of the day, and that can support cognitive abilities, optimizing brain function and managing stress levels. For this reason, brands may focus on creating innovative new products, involving well-known ingredients-such as caffeine-but also new ones of plant origin that can promote cognitive health, and increase concentration and focus.
At the same time, however, consumers are looking at food as a moment of pleasure, to be indulged in to relieve thoughts about the problems of everyday life and from the current situation in the world. The Unguilty Pleasures trend, relates to all those foods that are seen as detrimental to health, and marketed as unnecessary in a healthy and balanced diet. Brands can seize the opportunity to help consumers indulge, without feeling “guilty,” by positioning these foods as essential for taking care of themselves, bringing them closer to the concept of necessary self-care.
In parallel with all the previous trends, there is a need to support consumers with new methods of cooking and new ingredients, in the Adaptable Cooking trend. Indeed, consumers are experimenting with new products and ingredients-because of rising costs or difficulties in sourcing-and new cooking methods-that save energy without compromising on taste and taste of dishes. Brands can support consumers in this experimentation by providing hacks for cooking their products in different ways, allowing everyone to be able to achieve good, energy-friendly dishes.
Which of those trends impact the plant-based food segment?
Plant-based products will cut across all of the expected trends, especially the one related to Savvy Sustainance, Staying Sharp, Adaptable Cooking, and Minimalist Messaging. In this scenario, brands will be able to seize the opportunity to increasingly meet consumer demand, supporting and educating them in meal preparation and the adoption of healthier diets by offering plant-based products as ideal for meeting the requirements of taste, nutrition, ease of preparation and convenience. In addition, also regarding the demand for foods that support mental and physical health, plant-based products will be key players in this trend, given the correlation of products rich in protein, vitamins and minerals with benefits on nutrition, cognitive health and productivity, also encouraging foods rich in fiber for intestinal health. We believe that this year’s trends can be crucial in promoting the spread of plant-based diets, encouraging consumers to discover a new way of eating that can bring health benefits while remaining affordable.