Future food – what are the latest trends?

As you probably know only too well, businesses in the food and drink sector have always had to run fast to keep pace with ever-changing consumer trends, preferences and lifestyles. However these days things seem to be evolving even more rapidly than ever before…

Our show is a great opportunity for producers and buyers to spot the latest trends, find new suppliers and generally keep an eye on what way the market is moving. However the next show doesn’t take place until May 2019, so if you can’t wait until then, here’s an update of the way things have been developing in 2018:

Routines are being disrupted. 
Gone are the days when virtually everyone worked 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and did one big weekly shop. We’re all getting used to less regular work patterns, longer commutes, flitting between offices and meetings, and working wherever we are, be it in the office, home, or away, within an always-on culture.

Instead of one big weekly shop many of us are doing more frequent mini shops, because it’s becoming harder to plan ahead. Food manufacturers are adapting with smaller portions that are easier to prepare.

The disruption of our traditional lifestyle means more nibbling on-the-go. Proper meal times are being replaced by snacks eaten ‘aldesko’, on the train or bus, or consumed while rushing from one appointment to the next. The global ‘on-the-go breakfast’ market is forecast to grow 46% by 2026, primarily driven by busy western consumers.

Snacking and wellness.
The move away from formal meals to flexible snacking has meant that interest in the latter has exploded. Just look at the huge rise in the variety of options and on-the-go outlets as well as a host of bloggers and social media influencers sharing wholesome snacking ideas.

As we become increasingly reliant on snacks we want more from them in terms of taste, choice and health benefits. Have you noticed the increased emphasis on snacks that increase energy, promote wellness, provide good nutrition, encourage regular sleep patterns and minimise the intake of harmful fats, sugars or unwelcome calories? It’s amazing what a snack can do!

There is a growing preference for food and beverage products that talk about ‘wellness’ rather than weight management. That’s because we’re becoming less motivated by dieting and counting calories and drawn towards products that claim to build strength and provide a better sense of well-being. Special K is talking less about weight-loss, more about well-being and empowerment. Weight Watchers is doing something similar – their new logo simply features the letters WW while they’ve recently trademarked the line “Wellness that Works“. Whether you think this is a cynical marketing ploy or not, there’s no denying that the trend is out there.

Ethical eating and drinking.
While busy consumers are looking for convenient choices they are also eagerly seeking out brands that match their values. Many brands are therefore wearing their heart on their sleeve to attract and keep customers.

As well as creating an ethical end product they’re at pain to point out that these principles are present throughout the entire manufacturing process and product life-cycle. The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act and the plastic bag levy have played a part in encouraging greater transparency and responsibility within the supply chain. Programmes such as Blue Planet II have also made consumers more aware of the way plastic is harming the environment.

A move away from meat.
Many of us are taking a greater interest in plant-based nutrition. There’s an increased demand for alternative sources of protein, partly driven by social media and a growing awareness of the impact of meat production on the environment – look at Jamie Oliver advocating ‘meat-free Monday’, for example.

While the majority may not go permanently meat-free, we are becoming more aware of the impact of our choices and are showing more willingness to adopt plant-based foods when this fits with our lifestyle. The number of vegan products launched in the UK increased 185% between 2012 and 2016 and meat substitute brand Quorn has seen sales rise 19% in 2017 and a further 12% this year.

Go on – spoil yourself!
Let’s be honest though, while we’re all being so good and adopting healthier and more wellness focused food and drink, we’ve not entirely lost our sweet tooth! Even the most restrained among us also treat themselves to the occasional high-sugar high-calorie product such as a rich dessert, sticky Danish or a bar of premium chocolate. We feel we’ve earned these ‘guilty pleasures’ as a reward for being so good the rest of the time!  It’s no wonder that pundits suggest that the ‘affordable treat’ segment of the market promises to do well for the foreseeable future.

Keep up to speed.
With so much going on in this marketplace The Food & Drink Show is as important as ever. While it’s one thing to read about the latest trends and note the statistics, there’s no substitute for getting hands-on with the new season’s products, putting them through a thorough tasting, and talking in depth with the producers or distributors (not least because it’s fun and pleasurable!). If you’d like to keep up to date with the latest trends in 2019, and see what’s likely to be big in 2020 and beyond, why not register as a visitor for the next show now?

PS: If you’d like to exhibit instead, why not give us a call on 01934 733433? Our sales team would be happy to help you find the perfect stand for your business.

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