Some food trends have come and gone while others have become mainstream. 2019 will be an exciting year for the food and beverage industry, and consumers will reap the benefits with healthier, more natural formulations that offer unique flavor profiles. While some food trends may not seem revolutionary or new, they have continued to evolve from previous years and will greatly influence the food industry as we move into 2019.
Here’s a look forward at the 2019 food and beverage trends to help food manufacturers position themselves for success in the coming year and beyond.
1. Adventurous Consumers
An adventurous consumer refers to someone who is willing to explore bigger, bolder flavors and multisensory experiences when it comes to food. The “foodie revolution” has been going strong for some time, and their influence on average consumers has been rubbing off. Many foods that were once considered out-of-the-ordinary are now considered mainstream and highly sought after. As the world becomes more connected, various ethnic and cultural flavor profiles are gaining more appeal. Targeting adventurous consumers will need to be a focus of food manufacturers in 2019.
As consumers pursue more active lifestyles, they want foods that can be consumed on the go. A central focus of many food manufacturers is the growth of the snack market, but not just any snacks. Sugar-laden options are out and snacks making health claims are in. While more than half of consumers report eating three or more snacks per day, 66% of them do so to provide nutritional benefits. High-protein bars in particular are seeing increased appeal among average consumers, foregoing the typical bodybuilder stereotypes of the past. Natural ingredients and minimalist labeling are among the attributes of top rated snack bars.
3. Clean Labels And “Free-From” Foods
Label transparency and clean ingredients dominated the food landscape for the past couple years, and it will remain strong in 2019. Chances are most consumers will place a product back on the shelf and reach for another more natural alternative if they can’t pronounce an ingredient. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey noted that 7 in 10 consumers would be willing to give up their favorite products for alternatives that didn’t contain artificial ingredients, and more than half would be willing to pay more for them.
Consumers increasingly want foods free from artificial dyes, sweeteners, fillers, GMOs and high-calorie, high-fat ingredients, leading many food manufacturers to reformulate their tried and true recipes. Maintaining signature flavor profiles and textures can be a challenge for many as they also attempt to keep costs in check. Removing artificial ingredients requires new formulations and possibly different processing equipment and regulation compliance. These factors combined with the volatile pricing structures of traditional premium ingredients makes the switch cost prohibitive, and manufacturers will need to seek consumer-friendly, natural alternatives that won’t compromise flavor or texture.
4. Food Sourcing and Sustainability
Not only do consumers want recognizable ingredients; they want to know where those ingredients come from. Sustainability initiatives and the integrity of a manufacturer’s supply chain are being scrutinized more closely. In the IFIC study, 6 in 10 consumers said it was important that the food they consume is produced in a sustainable way — an increase of 50% over the previous year. Ingredients such as whey protein, a product derived from the cheese-making process, is an example of an “upcycled” ingredient, which helps eliminate waste. Consumers are increasingly seeking out upcycled ingredients, as well as improved biodegradability of packaging and other associated materials.
Tracing ingredients back through a chain of custody that upholds ethical standards and maintains the highest quality is important to many consumers and has been a priority for many food and beverage manufacturers. Deeper scrutiny of how every ingredient on a label is sourced is expected to only increase in 2019.
Foods that promote health benefits are nothing new. A stronger focus for consumers, however, is going beyond the temporary “good-for-you” claims and looking at how food can help them live longer, healthier lives. Recent research showing the impact of high-protein diets in treating diabetes, for example, emphasizes treatment of conditions from the inside out rather than promoting reliance on pharmaceuticals. In addition to treating obesity and related conditions, protein has been shown to have anti-aging properties and can help prevent osteoporosis, improve the immune system and boost metabolism. Incorporating protein-rich ingredients, such as whey protein, into food and beverage formulations is important for food manufacturers wishing to add health claims to their products.
If you’re seeking alternative ingredients to reduce or replace high-cost, high-fat traditional ingredients such as milk, butter, eggs, cream cheese, oil and heavy cream, consider using Grande Bravo® functional whey protein. It can serve as an all-natural replacement for many traditional ingredients, and it can help manufacturers clean up their labels. This freeze/thaw and shelf-stable ingredient is recognized by consumers and has superior water-holding capabilities, setting it above commodity whey products that compromise taste, viscosity and mouthfeel.
For a free eBook explaining the natural benefits and production process of functional whey protein, as well as several ways that you can use it to your advantage in real food and beverage applications, click the link below. Then, reach out to one of our experts to discuss your most challenging application. We’re eager to help you find a solution.