Year after year, the food and beverage industry has responded to changing consumer attitudes regarding health and wellness, and this year is no different. Market research firm Canadean released its watch list of Top 10 fast-moving consumer goods trends, including health, wellness, technology, convenience and indulgence, which will be key innovation platforms for the New Year. Interestingly, eight of the 10 trends focus on food and beverages.
Protein From Plants, Not Animals. Protein has been a superstar in the food industry for some time, but storm clouds are gathering over animal-based protein. Some of the strongest support for plant protein is coming from an unlikely source—vegetarian athletes—a group that could help link plant protein with athletic prowess. Look for plant protein’s star to rise in 2016. (Read more about this in Mark Cope's article The Importance of Protein Across the Lifespan.)
Fat Is Back. Things are looking up for the once maligned fat as it is being promoted as a health-enhancing ingredient in categories you would not expect, like bottled water. FATwater functional water, a recent U.S. launch, contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) derived from coconut oil. (Check out our Survival Guide: Fats & Oils for more on this topic.)
Soft Drinks Get Hard. Filling a gap between overly sweet “alcopops" and more sophisticated drinks like beer, wine or spirits, “hard sodas" will be a trend to watch in 2016. (Our Clean-Label Beverages issue examines how beverage formulators formulate and reformulated beverages to meet the clean-label trend.)
Food You Can Drink. Recent developments like drinkable peanut powder and expanding innovation in drinkable soups that fill the white space between soup and smoothies suggest the drinkable meal concept may be an idea whose time has come in 2016. (Want more? Read our Beverages with Benefits and Drinking Up Alternative Delivery Technologies digital issues.)
Small Is Beautiful. “Big" isn’t what it used to be. Consumers are showing their growing love for smaller brands and products from smaller companies. Look for more new product launches in 2016 to avoid looking too processed or mass-produced.
Say Hello To GMO 2.0. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a magnet for controversy since their inception. Longer shelf life, reduced food waste, and more efficient use of natural resources collectively make an increasingly “green" case for new-generation GMOs.
Sweet On Sour. As 2016 begins to take shape, look for consumers to be sweeter on sour. Sour flavors could be the next big flavor trend in foods and beverages, with sour flavors breaking out in everything from candy and beer to vegetables. (Read our Eat, Drink and Be Flavorful: A Passport to Flavors article to find out more.)
Permissive Indulgence. Consumers are hard-wired to indulge; they also are hard wired to feel guilty about indulging. Now there is a solution to that conundrum. Adding healthful, “better for you" iconic health ingredients to indulgent foods is a new trend that is gaining momentum. (Check out the Transparency, It's What's for Dinner digital issue that examines clean label’s shift from trendy request to industry standard.)
Anti-Pollution Beauty. Look for innovation in skin care and hair care product designed to fight pollution in urban environments in 2016. We might even see specific skincare solutions for indoor or outdoor air pollution.
My New Personal Care Routine. Personal care routines are getting more detailed and specific with time-of-day-, event-, or even place-dependent personal care innovation reshaping the market. The tendency of younger consumers to change styles or looks based on the time of day should provide fertile ground for innovation in new personal care routines in 2016. (Check out INSIDER’s Beauty Channel to find out how natural product brands have responded to demand with innovative products packed with researched ingredients to support beauty.)