A number of trends shaped the food and beverage industry in 2017, which included some interesting flavor combinations, efficient packaging solutions, healthier snack alternatives and much more. So what’s on the radar for 2018? There a few key trends taking focus, featuring some interesting changes in the way consumers will be shopping.
1. Subscription Models
Subscriptions far surpass magazines nowadays; consumers can subscribe to just about anything – ranging from dog toys and treats to makeup and beauty supplies, there’s a subscription out there for everyone. Food subscriptions are of great interest in today’s society. Some companies that may come to mind off the top of your head may be HelloFresh and Graze. Graze is a UK-based company that provides savory snacks which originally targeted “desk snackers”. Today, the company is now selling individual snacks and sharing bags targeted toward children, as well as products with individual ingredients to appeal to those with food intolerances. HelloFresh, which originated in Germany is now available in seven countries and provides consumers with recipes and pre-measured ingredients for home-cooked meals. This is a great option for those who may have a busier lifestyle, but don’t want to order takeout every night.
2. Integration of Retailers, Food Services, and Online & Offline Ventures
As many have already heard, massive online retailer, Amazon, has officially acquired Whole Foods, the largest organic specialist grocer in the world. In addition, Amazon has also expanded its AmazonFresh food delivery service to more locations across the US and is now offering drive-in pickup options at local specialty stores. The company has even started selling meal kits and recently launched its first private label food lines.
Aside from Amazon, large consumer goods corporations such as Unilever, Nestle, and Ferrero have been creating pop-up stores where visitors can design their own food. Consumers are also seeing more food servicers selling products on the supermarket shelves, like Dunkin Donuts ready-to-drink coffees. Be sure to keep your eye out for McDonald’s too – the company is currently working with Coca-Cola to start selling McCafé Frappé drinks in US grocery stores.
Wal-Mart is slowly improving its online presence due to the decline of in-store sales and the public’s shift to more online shopping outlets. The company has recently purchased a few e-commerce retailers, including Jet.com and Bonobos to help boost its non-store presence.
3. Customization & Personalization
Not only has there been an increased focus on personalized products for consumers, but this is now creating change for the food industry. Companies are searching for new and innovative ways to engage with their audience, and personalization is key to getting the right eyes on products. Personalization in the food industry comes in many forms, including customized nutrition plans, packaging, and more. For example, The Campbell Soup Company became the official investor for Habit, a US-based personalized nutrition meal delivery start-up company. Habit allows users to provide various body metrics and complete an at-home test kit that measures over 60 different biomarkers to get a real understanding of what different individuals need for food and nutrients.
We’ve mentioned the advancements in 3D printing many times on our blog. What many don’t know is that 3D printing has branched into the food industry, meaning that some foods can now be 3D printed. It was first introduced with chocolate, but is now being used for pasta and many other foods.
Other companies who are now targeting personalization in their products include PepsiCo and Weight Watchers, among many others. Due to a decline in soft drink sales, Pepsi is now increasing its budget for continued R&D in the hopes to improve its popular sports drink, Gatorade. Its new bottle features a “smart cap” equipped with a microchip that can actually determine sweat level, electrolyte deficiencies, and other metrics to optimize hydration and fluid recovery. Similar to Campbell’s, Weight Watchers is also personalizing meal kits in a partnership with Chef’D. The meal plan with Chef’D is specifically customized to fit the new Weight Watchers program and teaches consumers nutritious recipes to stay on track.
These three trends are just to name a few topics that are driving consumers’ behavior in 2018. With the ever-evolving market and the differentiating demands of consumers, we should certainly see many more starting to take shape in the world of food shopping.
Euromonitor International. (2018, January). Food Shopping Reinvented: Alternative business models in food and nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.euromonitor.com/