3 global food trends Mintel predicts will be big in 2019

Consumer expectations and attitudes towards sustainability, health and convenience will influence what we eat next year.

14 November 2018
image credit: Getty Images

Sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience will inspire new products, pre-prepared meals, formulations and packaging in 2019, according to Mintel.

Jenny Zegler, associate director of Mintel Food and Drink, said consumers will demand more from corporate sustainability programmes to achieve a circular food and drink economy. “These sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but creating products with ingredients that are grown in accordance to regenerative agriculture practices,” she explained.

Food and drink manufacturers should also look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy ageing product development, said Zegler. “More food and drink will address longevity-related health concerns, be marketed with positive language that rejects terms like anti-ageing for its negative connotations, and appeal across ages,” she commented.

Then there will be consumers seeking out convenient meals that offer upscale, speedy solutions and restaurant-quality, ready-to-consume products, added Zegel. “As meal kits and foodservice-inspired beverages lead the way, there will also be more opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable, and quick premium convenience products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert occasions,” she said.

Food Spark sets out three things forecast to influence food next year.


1. Circular consumption

The definition of sustainability is already extending to encompass the entire product lifecycle and this will only become more prominent, according to Mintel. Its part of the seismic shift in consumer’s attitudes towards plastic, with bio-based packaging materials set to be a key component to the next generation of responsible packaging. Kantar Worldpanel found in a survey earlier this year that 42% of people want food and drink manufacturers to make recycled packaging a priority, while 21% want products to be entirely plastic-free.

In 2019 and beyond, sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but incentivising consumers to recycle packaging and offering upcycled goods.

This movement will also follow on from farm to retailer, and fork to bin, into consumer’s seeking the rebirth of waste as a new plant, ingredient, product or package, ensuring a 360-degree approach to keep resources in use for as long as possible. The movement towards circularity as the new sustainability will require collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers, governments, non-profits, retailers and consumers.

At the same time, efforts to improve air pollution, support plant welfare, restore soil health and embrace regenerative agriculture will emerge as crucial.

2. Healthy ageing

Human’s longer lifespan means significant opportunities for food and drink manufacturers to take inspiration from the beauty industry, which has successfully established a model for healthy ageing by designing products that are marketed with positive language to people of all ages.

Its big business too with Eurostat predicting one in four European consumers will be over 65 by 2040. In the UK, more than a quarter of residents will be aged 65 years or over within the next 50 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Mintel said seniors’ needs can be addressed through food and drink for medical purposes, as well as products designed for prevention, with formulations that are nutritious, flavourful, and easy to consume. It’s an area that is already emerging with projects like making protein products more palatable for the older generation to help them maintain muscle mass.

But it’s not all about the oldies. More food and drink can be formulated to address concerns of all age groups such as bone, joint, brain and eye health, according to Mintel.

3. Premium convenience

From breakfast to dinner, a new generation of modern convenience food and drink are emerging as manufacturers respond to healthy eating priorities, quests for foodie-inspired flavours, interests in personalisation and competition from speedy delivery services.

Looking ahead, a new wave of shortcuts will be available such as the expansion of individual meal kits sold at retail, foodservice-inspired packaged beverages, and a new generation of prepared meals, sides, and sauces that emulate the flavours and formats of restaurant meals.

Advancements in technology will also elevate the expectations of convenient options for consumers in areas like planning, shopping and preparation. Interest in premium convenience will not be limited to dinner time, creating opportunities for every meal, snack, and beverage break.

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