Moments of feeling good matter for everyone, which is why FrieslandCampina Kievit is seeking to enrich these moments by appealing to the senses – delivering the desired end-consumer experience with the right solutions for food and beverage ingredients. As 2018 starts to wind down, the Dutch-based ingredient manufacturer has announced what it sees as the top trends likely to inform food and beverage development in the year to come.  

Anneke van de Geijn, Marketing Director & Trend Expert, FrieslandCampina Kievit comments: “The trends that we have identified are applicable to the food and beverage segment as a whole, but can especially be observed in the subsegments that we are active in coffee, (milk) tea, pastry, decoration, desserts, and soups and sauces.”

“When taking a deep-dive on the application level, we see great potential in ready-to-eat and ready-to-drink (RTD) applications in the foodservice segment on the one hand and instant mixes in both beverage and food applications on the other. A large driver for this potential is the need for elevated and healthier convenience from end-consumers, who require easy, flexible, and affordable solutions that suit their needs wherever and whenever,” she explains.

Below are five trend predictions:

1. Experiences that cover all the senses: look, feel, smell, taste, sound

For many, eating and drinking is not just a primary need, but a full-fledged lifestyle. What we eat and drink is often a conscious choice that balances our nutritional, mental, emotional and economic states.

The role of storytelling has become a vital aspect of the food and drinks that are available.

With the rise of social media, consumers do not just want food and beverages to be delicious. They have become fashionable, with consumers sharing and rating food online, via blogs, social media and apps. Consuming “Instagrammable” food has become a must for millennials, which means it must have the potential to touch all the senses, with variations in taste, colour, texture, temperature, flavour and even sound. 

“Next year, we expect social media to continue to have an essential role in relation to the identified trends. As the world becomes more digitally savvy, connected consumers are becoming the key drivers in shaping food and beverage trends. With the rising use of social media, and the internet in general, as their primary source of information, buying behaviour is changing,” explains van de Geijn. “Consumers want easy and instant access, ‘Instagrammable’ offerings, more educated choices from both a regional and global offering. Furthermore, social media continues to place certain pressure on consumers to be unique and exciting.”

This accelerates the trend of personalizing diets, fulfilling the need of consumers to be their best selves on social media and creating the opportunity to be a “brand of one.” 

2. Healthier ready-to-eat & ready-to-drink

Consumers have become busier than ever; our lifestyles are more active, we’re constantly on-the-go. Consumers require convenient, flexible and affordable solutions that suit their needs wherever and whenever. With more consumers out of the home and on the go, the segments of ready-to-eat and ready-to-drink are growing. When preparing their meals at home, consumers seek easy-to-prepare food and drinks.

As lives become more hectic, there’s an increased need to balance that out with personal care. This means that more food and beverages will need to offer consumption on-the-go, and these can no longer compromise on health, to fulfil the growth of consumer consciousness. 

“With regards to NPD, we develop both ‘healthier’ building blocks – answering to consumer trends on sustainability and labelling – as well as ‘indulgence’ building blocks – providing great taste and texture in food and beverage applications. With these building blocks, we have a great degree of freedom to construct consumer and customer applications within the field of ‘healthier indulgence,’” says van de Geijn. 

3. Glocalization: Getting the best from cultures

The middle class is rising in different regions in the world. At the same time, digitization of the shopping experience is also increasing, resulting in a growing presence of web shops selling not just local products, but importing products and information from all over the world. Consumers’ buying power is growing, as is their knowledge of what people millions of miles away are eating and drinking. 

In food and beverages, this growing awareness is resulting in flavours that are a mix of global and local needs. Products are travelling beyond borders, across the globe. In 2019, be on the lookout for European flavours becoming more popular in Asia, such as the Starbucks Speculoos Latte in Singapore, while for example, Asian flavours increase in popularity in Europe, such as with the rise of matcha and chai tea.

“Travelling global influences can be seen throughout the food and beverages market,” van de Geijn continues. “From matcha tea making its entrance in the Western parts of the world to milky coffee applications such as cappuccino entering historically tea-oriented markets in Asia. Global influences can certainly be observed in meal-kits as well, where the increasingly adventurous consumer who’s looking for inspiration and new experiences is served,” she adds. 

4. Clean(er) label

The rise of clean label has been rapid and will continue to grow in 2019. With information being more readily available with every new device and app, consumers can make better-informed choices about the food and beverages they consume. They are no longer simply looking at calorie intake, but are scrutinizing sugar levels, fat levels, energy intake and chemicals used. 

Providing consumers with understandable labels will be key, as consumers look for ways to make conscious, mindful and ethical choices. That means it does not end with a clear label: the label should also address health, ethical, sustainability and food safety demands. 

“We expect the clean label developments of the past years to continue its steady course. With digital and technology becoming part of everyday life, consumers’ awareness of healthier lifestyles has increased, as has their awareness of more ethical and sustainable production ways. They want to make an informed decision about the food and beverage products they buy. Providing a ‘better for you’ option for consumers who want to feel good, guilt-free, will be a pivotal start to winning the hearts of the health-conscious consumers. Additionally, making conscious, mindful and ethical choices do not end with a clear label, and the label should also address ethical, sustainability and food safety demands,” van de Geijn notes.

5. Personalize it yourself 

Consumers worldwide are looking for products that can be adapted according to their personal ideas, tastes and nutritional needs, according to FrieslandCampina Kievit.

In addition to consumers looking for a healthier lifestyle and searching for ingredients and products with specific nutritional values, the personalization trend shows an increased need for consumers to be able to add their personal finishing touches to their food and beverages. By adding a personal touch, preferably while spending more ‘real’ moments with loved ones, consumers feel that their creation is unique and made ‘in the moment.’ 

These trends show manufacturers where consumer behaviour is headed and the tools they will need to create applications that meet changing demand.

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