The intelligence agency today released its report that announced the six key trends set to impact the F&B sector next year.
According to the report, while we explore the use of ‘ancient’ grains, recipes and practices, technology will soar to new heights to create better tasting plant-enhanced foods. Fast and slow will share room on claims, and more better-for-you, yet indulgent, products will be pushed to the fore. And expect the unexpected in the drive to eradicate food waste.
Going back to the future
Jenny Zegler, Mintel’s global food and drink analyst, said people are seeking the safety of products that are recognizable rather than revolutionary. This gives manufacturers the opportunity to look to the past for inspiration, particularly in the use of practices and old family recipes, as well as increasing the use of ‘ancient’ grains.
“Potential also exists for innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognizable, such as cold brew coffee,” said Zegler.
Another trend to expect next year is the increase in the number of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations. Products that feature fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as key ingredients will be immensely popular, aligned with the modern consumer’s preoccupation with health and wellness.
“Technology will play a part and already we have seen one company use artificial intelligence to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products, including milk, mayonnaise, yogurt and cheese,” explained Zegler.
Waste not, want not
There will be a renewed push to eliminate discarding unnecessarily, from using products that people used to shy away from to using up leftovers in new ways, she said.
“The stigma associated with imperfect produce will begin to fade, more products will make use of ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste, such as fruit snacks made from “ugly” fruit and a mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas, which has been dubbed ‘aquafaba2."
Time is an increasingly precious resource and it certainly won’t lose this impetus in 2017, reported Mintel. As such, manufacturers will continue to expand their convenient but nutritious offerings. Known as ‘biohacking’ – offering complete nutrition in convenient formats – Zegler said “the time spent on, or saved by, a food or drink product will become a clear selling point.”
Mintel forecasted that, in order to counterbalance a busy day, evening will be deemed the best time for restoration, creating a market for products to help people calm down before bed and have a better, more beneficial slumber.
“Products can leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs as a way to achieve a sense of calm before bedtime, while chocolate could be positioned as a way to wind down after a stressful day,” said Zegler.
Health within your grasp
Mintel projected that healthy food and drink will no longer be deemed as ‘luxuries.’
“More innovations are expected that will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their healthy ambitions, including apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale and, in a tie-in with Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend Waste Not, a value-priced box of ‘ugly’ vegetables,” she contended.
"Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalize on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future,” ended Zegler.