Evolution of the Food & Beverage Industries

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iStock_000002352182SmallThe palate is no longer the sole motivator behind a consumer purchase when hunger or thirst strikes. Widespread health-conscious cultural influences and individual medical concerns are driving more and more Americans to make healthier choices in their snacks and drinks. The food industry and the beverage industry have risen to meet those challenges in a variety of interesting ways, jockeying to make the switch from processed, caloric offerings to more natural ones as painless — and profitable — as possible.
 
Pocket Change for Diet Changes
The contents of a vending machine are fairly standard in offices across the country — a bag of chips here, a chocolate bar there and maybe a granola bar tucked in a dusty corner down there by E-5. Clever marketing and machine makeovers are changing the status quo through companies like Vend Natural and Fresh! Natural Vending, both of which offer refrigerated snack machines stocked with options that offer gluten-free, lactose intolerant and even vegan snackers something sink their teeth into. Where healthy beverages used to be relegated to potential diet offerings in soda machines, these natural vending companies stock drinks alongside snacks. An all-natural, preservative-free root beer alongside a paleo-friendly fruit and nut bar? It’s not only a possibility but a reality with these two niche vendors vying for consumer attention.
 
Fresh Food Seeking Fresh Flavors
Even healthy packaged and processed foods can’t make a whole meal, which is why more home cooks are falling in love with the flavors of foreign cuisines. Mexican cuisine, for example, traditionally incorporates a great deal of fresh meats and vegetables, making it an ideal destination for consumers looking to transform their diets. This preference can clearly be seen in statistics, according to a 2013 Forbes article by Glenn Llopis, which show that taco kits actually outperform hamburgers, ketchup and hot dog buns — traditional American staples — in the grocery store. Smart food industry marketers are hanging guacamole seasonings alongside fresh avocados or stocking salsa near the hamburger meat to capitalize on shoppers hungry for fresh flavors.
 
In the beverage industry, even big brands such as Coca-Cola are cashing in on this Latin American love affair. After seeing consumers anxious to snag “Mexican Coke” from store shelves due to its cane sugar sweetening compared to the United States’ corn syrup version, the company launched the green-labeled Coke Life in 2014, sweetened with a blend of cane sugar and natural stevia extract.
 
As tastes change and dietary demands evolve, the food and beverage industries are following suit. With a wealth of new, delicious, health-focused products on the market, the consumer becomes the winner, and the spoils are sweet — even though they’re a little less fat- and sugar-laden.
 
 
Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/01/09/advertisers-must-pay-attention-to-hispanic-consumers-as-rising-trendsetters-in-2013/, http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-vend-natural-profile-20150427-story.html, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/fashion/mexican-coca-cola-a-cult-classic.html?_r=0, http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/health/choice-and-information/introducing-coca-cola-life/