Current Trends in the Food and Beverage Category

What we learned at Food Vision USA 2017

When it comes to the food and beverage category, customer needs continue to change dramatically. From more transparent sourcing to “clean label” products, brands large and small are facing a tide as increased consumer perceptions regarding health and wellness evolve from niche products to mainstream acceptance. Last month, Popskull co-founders, PJ Rashid and Anwar Khuri, attended Food Vision USA 2017 to learn about the latest trends. Here’s what they discovered.

1. Ingredient sourcing

Consumers want to see “real food” in their products and they want to know the source of the ingredients, from the country of origin down to the farmers that grow the food. But it’s important to note that the origin story of any ingredients need to lead back to why your product tastes better.

2. New protein sources

At the same time, technologies to grow food in safer, more humane, sustainable, and environmentally friendly ways are continuing to be a huge draw. For example, mass growing of petri dish meat could be as cheap as today’s ground beef and consumers are open to alternative protein sources like bugs. Yes, bugs are still on the menu and the use of bug protein is growing in the US market.

3. Moving to a “clean label”

“Clean label” is the hot new buzzword in food and bev replacing “natural” and “organic” as a key indicator of quality. But, with no clear definition, companies are choosing what clean label means to them. More importantly, brands should look to what consumers want out of a “clean label”, whether it’s simple ingredients, real foods, or basic transparency.

4. Meal delivery faces an uphill battle

We heard how companies like Peapod and meal delivery services are meeting (and not) meeting the needs for today’s convenience-hungry consumer. When asked how many people have tried meal delivery services, more than half the attendees raised their hands. When asked how many still use meal delivery services, only one remained raised. Lack of recipe choice, food waste and cost were among the top three reasons why consumers fall off the meal delivery wagon.

5. Be relevant

With the mega shift in how consumers are engaging with brands and advertising, big advertising agencies are now talking more about creating relevant messages and experiences. Popskull was founded on finding that relevant connection, or “Common Ground”, between what a consumer wants and what a brand offers.

6. How two big players are tackling the challenge

Two of the biggest brands in food and beverage are tackling the problems above in two very different ways. A team from Pepsico showed us how they are looking for ways to deliver maximum nutrients in the most convenient packaging as possible. They also discussed Pepsico’s dedication to reformulating existing products to reduce added sugars, sodium and saturated fat while introducing more nutritious options. Campbell’s Soup COO, on the other hand, talked about the new hyper transparency at Campbell’s. They aren’t changing the recipe for Spaghettios, opting instead to tell you exactly what’s in it and why their choices benefit you (read: how we keep costs down to make it more affordable).

As industry trends continue to rapidly change in response to consumer demands, food and bev brands need to answer the call with better-for-you options, quality ingredients, and transparent sourcing.

Want to know more about what PJ and Anwar learned in the food and bev category at Food Vision 2017? Give us a shout!

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