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The Top 10 Food Industry Trends You Need To Consider


In my last post on what’s happening in the world of food and beverage manufacturing, I provided some high-level considerations that may have a dramatic short- and long-term impact on the industry. I also noted how critical it is to stay on top of the key trends to allow your business to strategically respond to and capitalize on new opportunities. Today, I’m outlining 10 of the most intriguing food and beverage industry trends that may give your business a competitive edge.

  • Health First - It’s a bit inaccurate to call this a trend as a push toward healthier options has long been in the making. Beyond that, providing healthy food and beverages should be something every manufacturer strives toward. With the obesity epidemic on the mind on everyone from health professionals to parents, food processors need to demonstrate how they’re part of the solution, not contributing to the problem.

  • In-Home Excellence – With more consumers opting to cook meals at home in lieu of visiting a restaurant or getting takeout, the demand for convenience foods also grown. Meal kits, microwaveable meals, meal tie ins with celebrity chefs and affordable yet nutritious meals are topping many shoppers’ grocery lists.

  • Free to be Gluten-Free – There are over 4,000 gluten-free products on the grocery shelves in North America. The reason for the boom? Far more than those living with celiac disease have chosen to adopt a gluten-free diet. Whether for well being, digestive health, nutritional value or weight loss goals, producing gluten-free options represents both an opportunity to capture this growing market while also being better able to adapt to future consumer allergy concerns.

  • Eco-Friendly Eats – Companies who promote ‘green’ features like plant-based packaging, reducing carbon emissions and protecting animal welfare are seeing the payoff: their products are being purchased more frequently by Canadians. Evaluating your environmental policies and taking care to accurately promote them can help boost the reputation and likability of your brand.

  • Loco for Local – The drive to ‘buy local’ has never been stronger, with consumers asking questions about where exactly what they put in their mouth is coming from. Concerns over the quality and safety of imported products coupled with environmental concerns related to long-haul transport have increased the popularity of locally sourced whole foods in particular. Beyond that, access to year-round farmer’s markets has allowed consumers to forge personal relationships with their producers.

  • Global Minds, Local Focus – While buying local is a prominent trend in food purchasing behaviours, so too is obtaining products from international markets. With Canada’s diverse multicultural population, many residents are seeking exotic produce and imported products to stock their shelves, particularly when the local climate can’t provide what they need.

  • Spanning the Spectrum – No matter what household budget a consumer is grappling with, they ultimately have to eat – but make no mistake, budget will impact what exactly they buy. Expect to see purchasing behaviours heavily weighted to both extreme budget and super-premium products, with mid-range brands seeing a decline.

  • Serving Seniors – Canada’s aging population is worth paying attention to; after all, for the first time in history, seniors are accounting for a record percentage of the population, one that will only keep growing as the baby boomer generation ages up. As a result, manufacturers are starting to introduce new senior-friendly packaging and messaging, like ‘specially formulated’ or ‘easy to open’.

  • The Scientific Method – If you can prove it, prove it. Consumers are attracted to scientifically proven benefits, while empty claims may actually create distrust for your company. Build credibility by incorporating independent expert endorsements.

  • Smaller Plates - According to the latest demographic data, a large portion of the population is currently living alone or with one other person. With less mouths to feed, buying patterns will change – including what’s purchased and how often. Convenient solutions geared toward smaller households can present new opportunities.

BONUS! Pet Project – Although pet food is technically formulated for our furry friends, how it’s marketed has an impact on who buys what, with many owners projecting their personal tastes onto their pets. This phenomenon has prompted an upswing in gourmet, organic, therapeutic and even vegetarian options.

Those are just 10 of the current trends to pay attention to within the food and beverage industry. I have no doubt that if I wrote this post in a year, or even half a year from now, there would be a whole new set of considerations for manufacturers. For now, consider each of these in tandem with your annual strategy: Are you missing an opportunity? Aware of what customers want? On top of what your competitors are offering? While it’s not worth it to chase every trend that crops up, it’s definitely critical to respond to those that align with your capabilities and product offering.