How do funny-shaped vegetables and a good night’s sleep fit into 2017’s top food and drink trends?

How do funny-shaped vegetables and a good night’s sleep fit into 2017’s top food and drink trends?

Trends, in every industry, can come from anywhere and keeping ahead of them is a constant battle. Identifying trends for the year ahead is a crucial part of the work we do at MSLGROUP, especially for consumer facing clients, such as Swisse Vitamins.

So how do oddly-shaped vegetables fit into this? And what about the constant consumer complaint about not getting enough sleep? We attended a seminar that included experts from Mintel and here is what we found out.

IN TRADITION WE TRUST

We all love a tradition, it brings back those fond memories like the stong smell your Grandma’s roly poly on a Thursday! Well…we love tradition so much that the forecast is that we will be incorporating this in our food and drink flavourings.

The rapid pace of change, the unpredictability of current events and contentious political environments in many countries are leading people to the safety of products that are recognisable rather than revolutionary.

The trust in the familiar does not eliminate the need for innovation; instead, it emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration.

Over the past few years, interest in authenticity and a product’s story has expanded the use of craft, artisan and handmade claims in food and drink. The ongoing consumer interest in a product’s narrative – preferably one that reflects reality – was explored in Based on a True Story, one of Mintel’s 2016 Global Food & Drink Trends. Traditional or retro-inspired products are able to align with consumer desires to know more about products, especially if there are tangible connections with the past that lend an element of trustworthiness to the claims or tales told by the product. This move to the past will also lead to innovations that use the familiar as a basis for something that’s new but recognisable. This is reflected in the release of hybrid products as well as updated concepts such as cold-brew coffee or alcoholic root beer. Other products can adapt to a new market by connecting with heritage too, as exemplified by Guinness’s Nigerian release of an Africa Special Stout. Guinness Africa Special Stout contains local ingredients ginger, lemongrass, cola nut and chilli and its packaging features artwork by a Nigerian graffiti artist.

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POWER TO THE PLANTS

We feel this trend has been creeping in a lot recently with many people opting for a plant based diet and the rise of ‘clean eating’. People are more health conscious and more inclined to feel healthy if they purchase a plant based product. With Vegetarian and Vegan claims on the rise – 84% absolute increase in Vegetation’s and 634% absolute increase in Vegan eating, this trend is bound to thrive. Aspirations for healthier and “cleaner” lifestyles are motivating consumers to prioritise fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals.

In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that leverage plants as a way to align with consumers’ growing interest in health and wellness. Plant-based innovations provide new directions for existing products or categories.

THE NIGHT SHIFT

It’s getting more difficult to ‘clock out’ as the global workforce grows and technology advances. Many people buy certain food to address their emotion or mood at that particular time. We all know we head for the chocolate when you’re feeling like a pick me up, it’s that sugar drive you really crave! In fact, one third (33%) of UK adults who are employed eat comfort food to deal with work stress.

The increasingly hectic lifestyles of people are creating this market for night time products that help you relax, calm down and aid their sleep. Evening has already been linked to beauty with various creams/ gels on the market that claim to work overnight and make you feel rejuvenated in the morning.

Multitasking is hard so consumers are wanting to make better use of their late hours by relaxing and having a well-earned sleep. Therefore an opportunity exists for food and drink products designed to aid these relaxation/ sleep stresses to help consumers restore for the busy day ahead.

There are some innovative products which have already addressed this trend and have brought it to the market. Such as, retailer Lidl’s Solevita Relaxing Juice with Melatonin in Spain that is designed for night-time consumption.

In the UK, The Barisieur is an alarm clock designed to wake the user with the sound of boiling water and smell of coffee or tea. The design requires that the user prepare the elements of their morning brew the night before as a way to relax and unwind before bedtime.

If products can promote the ability to avoid middle-of-the-night food cravings with formulations that keep consumers full until morning then this will certainly target many people who have those midnight snacks.

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BALANCING THE SCALES: HEALTH FOR EVERYONE

Inequality isn’t just a political issue – it is also a matter that resonates with the food and drink industry. Its increasingly harder for lower income families to purchase healthy foods. In the UK, Mintel finds 40% of adults in socioeconomic group DE try to eat healthily most of the time, which is less than the 56% of socioeconomic group AB who eat healthily most of the time. Obesity is an ever growing issue and with the prices of fruit and veg often costing more than a microwavable meal, it forces families to go for the latter to work with their finances. In 2017 more campaigns and innovations are needed to make it easier for lower income households fulfil their healthy eating ambitions. Some companies have already taken the initiative, such as Asda’s box of misshapen vegetables that is capable of feeding a family of four for £3.50.

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If you would like to find out more about how MSLGROUP works with clients to make the latest trends work for them, please contact Danielle.

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