2020 is well on its way now and it’s hard not to be excited about the fascinating trends we’re seeing develop in the food industry. Cambrian’s Food experts are excited to share the top trends they’ve observed for 2020.
This trend has only continued to grow over the past few years and it’s probably safe to say that it’s more than just a passing fad – plant-based foods are here to stay. With more new options popping up on the grocery store shelves many consumers are now facing choices, and as a result, formulators are looking for ways to differentiate their products from the rest. With every trend comes criticism, and one question many consumers are questioning of the plant-based trend is whether products are actually “healthier” or more environmentally friendly simply because they are vegan. Nutrient-dense plant-based ingredients that are sourced with sustainability in mind will shine in 2020 as consumers look for these types of differentiators in the plant-based products they choose to buy.
2) Sustainably Sourced
Sustainability was a huge conversation in 2019 and has carried over into 2020. As consumers become more connected to the importance of sustainability, many are taking a careful look at their lifestyle, reevaluating aspects such as transportation, use of packaging and single-use plastics, and even the food they choose to eat. Many consumers are interested in food that fits into their sustainable choices such as consuming a plant-based diet, wasting less food, and looking for food grown organically or through regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture refers to farming or grazing practices that help to restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity, and increase carbon capture to create long-lasting environmental benefits. These are the types of differentiators that will help products stand out in what is becoming a more crowded market space than ever.
3) Non-Alcoholic Drinks
As health and wellness continues to be a focus, many consumers are looking to reduce their consumption of alcoholic beverages but don’t want to sacrifice the flavours they enjoy, or the social element often associated with alcohol. This has increased demand for low or no–alcohol cocktails and beverages that mimic the flavours and experience (e.g. fizz) of their alcoholic counterparts, but without the intoxicating elements.
4) Meat-Plant Blends
Despite the popularity of plant-based diets, it’s unlikely that consumer demand for meat is going to disappear altogether. In fact, we’re predicting the flexitarian trend is going continue to grow in the food industry as consumers look to eat less meat without removing it from their diet completely. Meat and plant blended products like flexitarian burgers, which mix ingredients like mushrooms, vegetables, or other meat analogues with real meat, are becoming more common on grocery store shelves, and we expect to see more of these throughout 2020.
With the legalization of edibles in Canada, we’re seeing interest in the CBD (the non-intoxicating element of cannabis) category on the rise. The calming health and wellness benefits presented by CBD is more approachable to many consumers who are put off by the intoxicating effects of cannabis products containing THC. Bakery, confectionery, and beverage are leading areas of development for products containing CBD and, as with any new ingredient, formulators face new challenges such as off-flavours and issues with dispersion. This has increased a need for flavours, flavour maskers, and new delivery methods to help create products that are both consistent and delicious.
6) Spreads & Dips
Pivoting off last year’s trend prediction on the rising popularity of seed butter, we expect to see spreads and dips made from nutritiously packed ingredients show some impressive growth in 2020. Though this trend is a versatile one and is not limited to only plant-based products, we are noticing that plant-based dips and spreads are particularly popular as an alternative to typical charcuterie/appetizer go-to’s that are often packed with meat and dairy. Spreads and dips that mimic the flavours and textures of dairy or other non-vegan spreads are becoming popular ways for consumers to enjoy nutritious snacks from plant-based sources.
7) Flavour Exploration
We’re noticing that North American consumers are becoming more adventurous eaters, resulting in the blending of cultural influences from all over the world and unique flavour pairings popping up left, right, and centre. Flavour can have a significant impact on the experience of eating and elicit an emotional response for consumers. For many, flavours can evoke the nostalgia of places they are from or that they have travelled to, or perhaps make them think of places they have never been but wish to travel. This desire for adventure as well as just a general intrigue towards novel flavours is increasing demand for products that have new and interesting flavours or unique flavour combinations that intrigue consumers to try something different.
Are you curious about how these trends could work for you? Talk to your account manager or contact us here!