Five food and drink trends for 2018

Tuesday, 07 November, 2017

Trends in the food and drink industry are always evolving and it is sometimes difficult to keep up. However, market intelligence agency Mintel’s latest report Global Food & Drink Trends 2018 predicts five key trends that will gain traction in the industry in 2018.

Full disclosure

Transparency is not a new concept in the food industry, with more consumers than ever wanting to know about every aspect of the food supply chain, from where ingredients were grown, how they were harvested and by whom. Food safety has come under fire over the last few years, which has led to consumers needing reassurance about the origins of the products they buy. It is predicted that companies will respond by increasing natural, ethical and environmental claims, but they will also be challenged to provide transparent and traceable products that win back their trust and are accessible to all customers, regardless of their income.

Self-fulfilling practices

Negativity and stress are often present in the modern consumer’s life, and Mintel suggests that this promotes the need for “self-care”. Consumers are looking for a variety of different ingredients, combinations and portions of food and drink that can be customised to their definition of a healthy lifestyle. A heightened focus on the nutritional, physical and emotional benefits that these products can provide will therefore be a driving force behind consumer buying habits in the coming year.

New sensations

More adventurous palettes have been encouraged by a larger variety of different food combinations and flavours, but Mintel suggests the 2018 trend will be food textures. With younger generations in particular looking for new and exciting experiences that can be documented on social media, texture is a fairly unexplored area of food that can provide an interactive, multisensory experience.

Preferential treatment

A good customer experience is built around personalisation. With time and cost savings motivating modern consumers, companies are looking to provide different channels and technologies for them to buy food and drink, including home delivery and subscription services. Making shopping more efficient and convenient for consumers will see companies turn to technological solutions, whether it’s customised recommendations based on what they have previously bought or viewed, or cross-category pairings that may interest them.

Science fare

This leads on to the final trend set to define food and drink in 2018 — technology. Technology can provide modern solutions to traditional practices across supply chains and manufacturing.

Scientifically engineered ingredients and finished products will feature in 2018, with farms and factories being replaced by technology. Cultured and synthetic food and drink is only just emerging, but technology could eventually be used to design food and drink that is inherently more nutritious. This is predicted to appeal not only to environmentally conscious shoppers, but also to consumers who are concerned about ingredient consistency, efficacy and purity.

Therefore, 2018 will see an increasing focus on transparency, self-care, textures, personalisation and technology. Mintel Global Food and Drink Analyst Jenny Zegler summarised: “In 2018, Mintel foresees opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to help consumers regain trust in food and drink and to relieve stress through balanced diets as well as memorable eating and drinking experiences. There also is an exciting new chapter dawning in which technology will help brands and retailers forge more personalised connections with shoppers, while enterprising companies are using scientific engineering to create an exciting new generation of sustainable food and drink.”

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