Trends gain momentum and traction when they are executable and scalable across platforms and categories. As we look at what needs to be true for brands to maintain relevance with consumers, we shine a light on three macro trends with traction in food & beverage innovation.
Plant-powered is a trend that continues to grow with new launches seemingly daily. Consumers in general (and regardless of food tribe) are seeking plant-forward diets, which consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, and sometimes plant-based alternatives to their favorite foods. Consumer motivations include their personal health and the health of the planet. As the plant-based solutions space becomes more crowded, brands can differentiate themselves with transparency. Specific ways to help shoppers discern launches are by addressing consumer concerns that plant-based alternatives are highly processed, and by quantifying any favorable environmental impacts to further support consumers’ reasons for purchasing.
“Last year we described plant-based as a revolution; now we just really see that it’s marching forward. I think I’ve never seen anything move bigger so fast in my twenty-five years plus of experience.” – Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director, Innova Market Insights
Recent plant-powered executions:
This is a mansion-sized space with lots of room to explore and far-reaching implications and opportunities. At its highest level, consumers are simply eating in their homes more frequently. With that comes a shift in their definition of “convenience,” which previously often encompassed portability. Now, “convenience” is more about ingredient quality, new flavors and experiences, and ease of shopping and preparation. Both Innova and Whole Foods reference the rise of at-home cooking in their respective trend predictions for 2021:
Increased home cooking is driving the use of convenient meal kits/starters and more sophisticated ingredients, resulting in new food experiences. – Innova Market Insights’ Top 10 Trends for 2021
With more time in the kitchen, home chefs are looking for hot, new takes on pantry staples. Pasta, sauces, spices — the basics will never be boring again. Get ready for reimagined classics like hearts of palm pasta, applewood-smoked salt and “meaty” vegan soup. – Whole Foods Market’s Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2021
Recent home-centric executions with an emphasis on consumers’ new “convenience” meaning:
Another aspect of the home-centric trend is that it makes it easier for consumers to see the amount of food they waste at home. With this new awareness, they are looking for smart ways to shop and cook to reduce waste.
Recent food waste-reducing executions:
“Healthy” means different things for consumers, but shoppers, in general, continue to be interested in their holistic health. As a result, they’re viewing foods and beverages as medicine — fuel for their everyday lives and tools to build and boost their bodies’ immune systems. This natural medicine reduces stress and improves mood, sleep, and overall health.
The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021. That means superfoods, probiotics, broths and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system. For obvious reasons, people want this pronto. – Whole Foods Market’s Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2021
Recent health-centered executions:
How is your brand thinking about these trends? How might you reach consumers where they are and provide them with innovative new solutions that solve for emerging pain points and Jobs to be Done? If you need a partner to help think through these questions, get in touch with The Garage Group. We leverage startup-inspired approaches to solve BigCo’s toughest innovation and growth challenges.