Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

4 Key Trends for 2019 seen in Food Matters Live

It was very exciting to see a lot of companies at the recent Food Matters Live connecting to many of our 10 Key Trends for 2019. Food Matters Live is an annual event in London that brings together companies, research organisations and experts to showcase and discuss the future of food and drink. We spotted these examples of four of the key trends are coming to life and being used to generate exciting new products and businesses:

1. Digestive Wellness

When you look at an event map and see a dedicated section called “Kombucha Corner” you know that interest in gut health and fermentation is here to stay.  But kombucha brands weren’t the only ones riding the “digestive health” wave. From fermented vegetables brands like Bodkin’s claiming to be “naturally rich in probiotics and great for gut health” to low-FODMAP, gluten-free and lactose-free Belly Goodness pasta sauces that “don’t have any of the common foods that can irritate the gut”, it was clear that this trend is now being driven by both science, consumer interest and new product development. It was no surprise that the room was completely full for the Digestive Health seminar talks, and it is exciting to see that many innovative brands are responding to all kinds of tummy-related consumer needs.

2. Plant-based
We’ve pointed out many times before that contrary to what’s being said, plant-based is not only for vegans or vegetarians. What’s really fuelling this trend is the interest – from both lifestyle and mainstream consumers – in having more plants and experimenting with their diet.  So it was great to see that this is now being accepted by most, with brands putting strong efforts into developing convenient and good tasting plant-based products to please the palates of consumers beyond vegan/vegetarian preferences. The mayonnaise from Rubies in the Rubble that “vegans can enjoy too!” is made with aquafaba, the high-in-protein water left over from cooking chickpeas that provides texture and consistency, and is a popular ingredient in many vegan dessert recipes. Other interesting products included ice-cream made from lupin beans by Lupinesse and Swedish Oumph! plant-based kebab and pulled “pork” products.

3. Personalisation
Personalisation is all about consumers taking back control of their diet and health. They have easy access to technologies and platforms that allow them to research about these topics and make up their mind about what’s better for them. Surprisingly, even though it was during the “graveyard slot” of 4pm, the room was full for our seminar on personalised nutrition in which we presented a range of strategies that food & beverage companies can use to connect to this trend. It is clear that personalised nutrition is just getting started. An intriguing product was Foodini, a 3D food printer that looks like it could belong in the kitchen counter rather than the garage, and is marketed as a way of “knowing exactly what you’re eating, as you choose the ingredients that go in” and of reducing food waste.

4. Beverages redefined
Beverages was undoubtedly one of the categories with the most activity. From sparkling tea in a Prosecco-style bottle that could be an attractive product to the 40% of consumers who claim to want to reduce their alcohol consumption, to cacao-based coffee alternatives, there was something for everyone.  Innovations in the tea sector also abounded. Tea Rex is a brand offering pureed cold-pressed fruits & roots infusions (think turmeric, ginger, berries…). Tea Pop uses a patent-pending extraction process that “extracts all the goodness of loose-leaf tea” and forms a crystallised “pop” that dissolves in both hot or cold water – another brand connecting to reducing unnecessary food waste.

There’s no question that fragmentation of the marketplace and alternative channels (most of the small brands exhibiting had already set up their own online shops) are creating a wealth of opportunities for food & beverage companies. There are many niches and a market for everything. Just don’t expect it to be mass.

Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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