The Food and Beverage industry is on the cusp of a major transition with consumers shifting their focus towards new food and preferences that suit their physical and lifestyle needs. The changing demographics, taste and purchasing behavior of consumers offer an array of opportunities to manufacturers alike.
Manufacturers will have to re-adjust their business models from production and packaging to marketing in order to capitalize on the purchasing decision of the consumers. However, it will take time for brands to respond to the consumer demands and make changes to their product portfolio. As we sail through 2017, here are the top five food and beverage trends that will become pervasive in the industry:
1. Convenience remains top priority
Convenience is the most preferred attribute that will influence the buying decision of consumers. With busy lifestyles and changing working habits, consumers are willing to pay more to save time and consume food at their own convenience. Immediate consumption, ready-to-eat food, quick single portion meals are the most important decision factors for most of the consumers.
According to a survey of CEO’s from leading food and beverage companies, over 60% of the respondents believe that convenience is driving food sales. As the disposable income rises in many countries, convenience and time will significantly impact the food and beverage industry this year.
2. Consuming natural and organic is a status symbol
Healthy living and consuming natural and organic food are becoming a status symbol. According to a study, 74% of grocery shoppers and 78% of millennials said better health is a big benefit of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Many food manufacturers are taking big bets on health and have crossed out preservatives and artificial ingredients from their product line-up. Further, health accreditations and organic standards will traverse the growth of organic food market globally.
According to our report
the organic food and beverage market is growing at a CAGR of 11.9%. Organic food sales currently make up nearly five percent of total food sales through conventional and natural food supermarkets and chains. North America and Europe occupy more than 85% of the food share globally.
3. Aging gracefully with product benefits
With health among the top priorities in the consumer mind, products free-from many ingredients such as gluten, wheat, and dairy are growing in popularity. Food and beverages which include added vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and other supplements are gaining prominence as they prevent aging and help consumers look young. However, consumers avoid products which are high on allergens, sodium, trans-fats, sugar, chemical additives, and preservatives as these trigger allergies and give rise to many health-related problems. These “free-from” food products improve the health of the consumers and make better choices at the point of purchase.
4. Carbonated drink sales fizzle
The beverage industry is facing an evolution in consumer demand with growing focus on health and wellness. Consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of artificial sweeteners such as; aspartame and are turning away from drinks including Pepsi and Coke.
Soda consumption which saw a boon from the 1960s through 1990s is slackening by more than 25% every year. The decline in sales is attributed to the shift in consumer preferences to bottled and flavored water, sports drinks and iced teas. These alternatives do not contain as many calories as soda and other carbonated soft drinks and certainly offer a healthy kick to consumers.
5. Intersection with technology creates a medici effect
The intersection of technology and food is offering new horizons to the food and beverage industry as well as the consumers. It not only helps to make food quickly but also increases the shelf life of different food products.
Technological innovations play a significant role in the value chain and consumer choice – particularly with the widely-accepted use of mobile devices. Consumers can now check the product ingredients on their smartphones and make quick decisions. Shopping online is burgeoning globally and a lot of developments are expected to be seen this year. The U.S. B2B e-commerce market alone is expected to double and reach $1 trillion by 2020. The food and beverage industry will considerably benefit from these developments. Closing Thoughts
The food and beverage industry is extremely competitive as manufacturers scramble to develop similar alternative products for consumers. With the shift in consumer demand from processed food to healthier alternatives, food manufacturers have the opportunity to improve their brands tailored to the customer preferences.
Besides this, there are some challenges in the food and beverages industry including government regulations, packaging, and expansion. As we move along, these trends will constantly evolve and we are expected to witnesses a lot of developments that will impact the industry in a healthier way.
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