Mintel reveals key trends for food and drink in 2017

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In 2017, licensees will look to provide affordable, healthy food based on plant-based products and calming ingredients, and concentrate on eliminating waste, according to market research company, Mintel.

Highlighting key trends set to impact the food and drinks industry next year, Mintel reported that 2017 will be a year of extremes, from “ancient” products including grains, recipes, practices and traditions to the use of technology to create more and better tasting plant-enhanced foods.

There will also be a focus on ingredients and foods that promote well-being and an emphasis on reducing food waste, such as including ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables on menus.

Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, said the upcoming trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient and trustworthy food and drink.

One key trend will see consumers seek comfort from modern takes on age-old recipes, flavours and formats. Zegler said, “People are seeking the safety of products that are recognisable rather than revolutionary. The trust in the familiar emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration such as “ancient” product claims including ancient grains and also ancient recipes, practices and traditions.

“Potential also exists for innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognisable, such as cold-brew coffee.”

Customers will also seek out dishes that contain servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables and other plants. According to Zegler, “In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that emphasise plants as key ingredients… fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities.

“Expect to see more of the unexpected, including fruit snacks made with ugly fruit and mayonnaise made with the liquid from draining chickpeas, which has been dubbed ‘aquafaba’.”

A focus on promoting sustainability and eliminating food waste will also be a priority for businesses, as the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world affects consumer perceptions.

Zegler predicted, “In 2017, 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 mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas, and food waste will be repurposed in new ways, such as power sources.”

Consumers of all ages will also look to “slow-down” and healthy food and drink will no longer be regarded as “luxuries” as customers seek out affordable healthy food options, stated Mintel.

Zegler added, “Time is an increasingly precious resource and our multi-tasking lifestyles are propelling a need for short-cut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious and customisable. The increasingly hectic pace of modern life is also creating a market for food and drink that helps people of all ages calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest.”

She pointed to offering customers chamomile, lavender and other herbal teas as well as hot chocolate to help them relax and unwind after a stressful day.

She added, “Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets but the access to – and the cost of – healthy food and drink is often an impediment. More campaigns and innovations are to be expected that will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfil their healthy ambitions.”

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