5 key trends set to define food retail in 2018

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5 key trends set to define food retail in 2018

By Gina Acosta - 10/26/2017

Five key trends are set to impact food retailers and suppliers in the coming year.

According to a new report from Mintel, consumers will increasingly expect to see transparency and traceability for all products. Health and wellness will become a priority for many consumers and that includes choosing food and drink that address perceived nutritional, physical and emotional needs.

"In 2018, Mintel foresees opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to help consumers regain trust in food and drink and to relieve stress through balanced diets as well as memorable eating and drinking experiences," Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, said. "There also is an exciting new chapter dawning in which technology will help brands and retailers forge more personalized connections with shoppers, while enterprising companies are using scientific engineering to create an exciting new generation of sustainable food and drink."

Other major trends predicted to play out in food and drink markets around the world include:

Full Disclosure

Widespread distrust has placed pressure on manufacturers to offer thorough and honest disclosures about how, where, when and by whom food and drink is grown, harvested, made and/or sold.

The need for reassurance about the safety and trustworthiness of food and drink has led to increased use of natural as well as ethical and environmental claims in global food and drink launches. In addition to more specific product details, the next wave of clean label will challenge manufacturers and retailers to democratize transparency and traceability so that products are accessible to all consumers regardless of household income.

Self-Fulfilling Practices

The frantic pace of modern life, constant connectivity, pervasive distrust and contentious tones in politics and the media have caused many consumers to look for ways to escape negativity in their lives. Many people who feel overwhelmed are focusing on "self-care," or prioritizing time and efforts dedicated to themselves.

Looking ahead, individual definitions of self-care and balance will reinforce the need for a variety of formats, formulations and portion sizes of food and drink that present consumers with positive solutions—and treats—that can be incorporated into their customized and flexible definitions of health and wellness. Going forward, more consumers will be looking for ingredients, products and combinations of food and drink that provide nutrition, physical or emotional benefits that advance their priorities for self-care.

New Sensations

In 2018, the sound, feel and satisfaction that texture provides will become more important for food and drink companies and consumers alike. Texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive—and documentation-worthy—experiences. The quest for experiences will provide opportunities for multisensory food and drink that uses unexpected texture to provide consumers, especially the teens and young adults of the iGeneration, with tangible connections to the real world, as well as moments worth sharing either in-person or online.

Preferential Treatment

As technology helps to make shopping as effortless as possible, an era of targeted promotions and products is emerging. Motivated by the potential to save time and ideally money, consumers are sampling a variety of channels and technologies when shopping for food and drink, including home delivery, subscription services and automatic replenishment.

Companies and retailers can leverage technology to establish new levels of efficiency, such as customized recommendations, cross-category pairings and resourceful solutions that save consumers time, effort and energy. Opportunities exist for companies to tempt consumers by creating products, suggesting combinations of goods and other options across consumer categories that make shopping more efficient and affordable for customers.