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6 emerging opportunities for food & beverage executives

January 10, 2017

As we enter a new year, many people are reflecting on the past 12 months, and setting priorities for those ahead.

For forward thinking C-level executives these goals are best driven by shifting consumer sentiment that presents new business opportunities.

A recent research project by leading market intelligence firm Mintel titled Global Food and Drinks Trends in 2017 identifies 6 key trends to be considered.

  1. Trust and tradition
    Foods and beverages with authentic connections to tradition provide an inherent element of trustworthiness many consumers yearn for in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. This is evident in the increasing use of craft, artisan, and handmade claims in foods and beverages that leverage familiarity as a basis for something new but also recognizable.
  2.  Plant-based formulas
    As consumers appreciate the importance of leading cleaner and healthier lifestyles, there is greater demand for fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and botanicals. Mintel predicts in 2017 the food & beverage industry will welcome more products that feature these ingredients for home cooking as well as packaged goods.
  3. Reducing food waste
    The rise of consumer awareness around food waste presents opportunities for food manufacturers to sell goods that may otherwise be discarded. Already we have seen retailers, like French grocery store Intermarché, successfully promote misshapen fruit, vegetables, biscuits, and cakes. In the US, companies ranging from Whole Foods Market to Walmart are testing sales of ‘imperfect’ or ‘ugly’ products.
  4. A change of pace
    With free time becoming a diminishing resource, the demand for shortcut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious, and customizable will continue to grow. Paradoxically, as consumers look for more balance in their lives, we can also expect a further increase in “slow” claims, such as slow roasted.
  5.  Evening foods
    As the pressures of modern life intensify and sleep time becomes more precious, manufacturers are achieving success with products designed to help us recharge while sleeping. Cereals that aid digestion overnight or provide the comfort of feeling full until morning, for example, are gaining traction. New developments like melatonin-infused juices, and chamomile and lavender teas that calm nerves before bedtime are recent examples of innovations designed to help us get more from our hours of sleep. 
  6. Healthy choices for everyone
    The relatively high cost of healthy food and drinks have traditionally impeded lower-income earners from purchasing goods that are natural, organic, or free from certain ingredients. But with so many consumers living within restricted budgets, there is enormous opportunity for those developing lower-cost healthy food products.

Looking forward

While these six considerations provide specific opportunities for the new year, they can also be viewed within the context of an overall shift towards healthy, convenient, and trustworthy goods.

By incorporating this sentiment into new product development, food & beverage manufacturers can look forward to a healthier, happier, and more profitable 2017.

Read more about solutions that can help you achieve your goals for the new year.

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