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February 1, 2024
The food and beverage industry is constantly evolving to meet the demands of shifting consumer preferences, new technologies, and emerging ingredients and diets. Here are four key trends identified by Mintel and International Food Information Council (IFIC) that are expected to hit foods and beverages in 2024.
IFIC’s trend prediction, “More Than Just a Label,” expects that consumers will place more emphasis on transparent food labeling in 2024 to help them make more informed decisions about the foods and beverages they consume. The organization predicts labels that consumers associate with healthfulness, such as “clean,” “cold-pressed” and “fermented,” will stay top of mind.
Similarly, Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends report indicated as part of its “Trust the Process” trend prediction that consumers are applying more scrutiny to processed foods and beverages. For example, 79% of Chinese adults ages 50 to 65 years said eating less processed foods is a very/somewhat effective way to improve health. In the U.S., 34% of adults said highly processed is a top concern when purchasing foods and beverages.
This year, these cautious shoppers will increasingly expect clear communication to help them figure out how ultra-processed and processed foods and drinks fit their lifestyles, Mintel reported.
Looking specifically at plant-based trends, Mintel analysts forecast that the plant-based market could grow to $160 billion by 2030. What’s more, Mintel’s Global New Products Database shows that the number of new CPGs with a plant-based claim increased by 302% between 2018 and 2022.
Despite this, the plant-based market is being impacted by consumers’ financial concerns, which are driving consumers away from more costly plant-based meat alternatives. Plant-based brands are expanding their audience by focusing on flexitarians and omnivores, versus focusing on a small segment of vegan consumers.
In its “Age Reframed” trend, Mintel predicts Gen X, the generation sandwiched between Boomers and Millennials, will forge a new path for healthy aging products that meet the needs of an “extended healthspan,” defined as the period of life spent in good health. With ages ranging from the mid-40s to the late-50s, Gen Xers are actively seeking out products that will meet their health needs today and in the future, and will rely on brands in the coming year to guide them through the transition from middle to older adulthood.
On the other end of the age spectrum, IFIC points to the growing influence of social media on Americans’ food and beverage behaviors in its “Swipe, Like, Eat” trend prediction. Compared to other generations, especially older generations like Millennials, Gen Z food behaviors are more likely to be shaped by social media — a trend IFIC predicts will continue in 2024.
Technology is expected to ramp up convenience by helping consumers meal plan, shop and cook, Mintel predicts in its “Eating, Optimized” trend.
For consumers, convenience in the kitchen is shaped by saving time — a priority across the globe. For instance, 51% of Canadians consider the time it takes to cook when planning or preparing home-cooked meals, and 48% of U.S. consumers choose food that is quick to prepare all or most of the time, Mintel data show.
Efficient products and tools that help consumers save time in the kitchen will make them more open to time-saving advancements fueled by new technology, like automated shopping lists and meal-planning apps. IFIC further predicts in its “AI on the Plate” trend that AI functions like ChatGPT will be used more by consumers to improve eating habits, answer questions about food safety and nutrition, and create meal plans in the coming year.
Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.
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