With the first quarter of the year nearly over, we’ll dive into the 5 things you should know that are shaking up the food and beverage industry. Consumers have made their voices heard and their buying power has solidified that brand transparency is key, convenience is still a priority, functional ingredients add interest, and throwbacks are still favorites. Lastly, we dive into Yaupon, the only source of caffeine native to North America. This snapshot into the trends thus far gives a glimpse into what we may see for the rest of the year.
Brand transparency is crucial when launching a new product and establishing credibility. Consumers care about ingredient sourcing, sustainability practices, and brand stories that give them an idea of a company’s ethos. Consumers are changing their habits in terms of minimizing food waste, recycling/ upcycling, and choosing products with environmentally friendly packaging. Brands can appeal to consumers by being clear about what is and isn’t in products, being upfront on product changes, whether it be in formulation or price, and implementing eco-conscious packaging. In fact, 3 out of every 4 consumers agree that companies should be more efficient with natural resources according to an Innova Market Insights Report. Consumers appreciate when brands are just as conscious. Plus, in a Food Ingredients 1st article, fighting food waste gives companies a good return on investment. The pandemic has intensified feelings of distrust in the food and beverage space driving the demand for a wider understanding of products.
Convenience is Key
As the woes from the pandemic begin to settle, the pace of everyday life ramps up. This puts consumers in the position of looking for convenient and healthy options to satisfy dietary needs. In fact, 2 in 3 consumers globally look for simple and convenient ways to get their daily nutrient intake according to Innova Market Insights. There is growing demand for meal kits, all in one meal shakes, and packaging that simplifies meals like drinkable oatmeal. Affordability and nutrition are key components that appeal to consumers. Across many product categories, cost and health aspects ranked high when consumers were asked to rank the factors that influence their purchasing decisions across all income levels. In a recent article, the quote “The longer a crisis lasts, the more solutions will emerge”. The rising costs of food and beverages have consumers simplifying their purchases and looking into products that have many functions such as high protein, servings of fruits or veggies, and vitamin/ mineral content. Convenience is here to stay as consumers stay busy and value is placed in healthy food and beverage choices.
Functional ingredients aren’t new, however their widespread availability is. These ingredients span snacks, beverages, sports nutrition, and even desserts. Consumers look for functionality to support their daily lives with 45% looking for energy boosts, 40% for stress reduction, 36% for weight management, and 31% on gut and digestive health. The top functional ingredients added are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, pre/probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids. These ingredients would classify as established in the industry while more experimental ingredients like mushroom extracts and herbal extracts are starting to gain traction. Given the functional ingredient boom, some considerations when formulating are: 1. Consumers are still calorie conscious and 2. flavor selection is crucial. Consumers are still conscious of what makes up a product even when it has functionality added. Sugar consumption is a main concern for many consumers as well as having high levels of fat. Keeping total calories top of mind is important during product development. Additionally, flavor choice can be a make or break. Many functional ingredients have their own flavors to them whether that be earthy, bitter or maybe overall astringent. Choosing a flavor to mask those notes, or even compliment them is key to successful formulation.
A plant native to North America that has a source of caffeine? Yes, please! Yaupon is found in the southeast of the United States. It has bright red berries and dark green leaves that Native Americans would use to make ceremonial tea and is described as having a similar flavor profile to yerba mate and black tea. It has a strong earthy, smoky, and somewhat fruity flavor. This plant had been forgotten about when traditional tea and coffee really took over. The caffeine levels found in yaupon are comparable to green or black tea at 60 mg per cup and it also contains theobromine which has a similar yet more mild effect compared to caffeine. The recent rediscovery goes beyond tea blends. Yaupon is showing up in energy drinks, alcohol, and even skin care. Many products claim antioxidants, energy boost, and supporting brain function. This ingredient is bound to make its way into many new products in the coming years that fall under the functional category.
Whether you want to call it nostalgia or newstalgia, bringing back and reimagining childhood favorites has been a fun trend to watch. This trend has seen all decades and appeals to Boomers and Gen Z alike. This trend proves that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just have to spin it a little. Brand collaborations keep industries like cereal and candy relevant given that they have been deemed “bad for you”. For this reason, Fruity Pebble flavored protein or Ring Pop flavored energy drinks keep the nostalgic flavors that consumers love at the forefront. 71% of consumers are interested in buying nostalgic flavors from their childhood. The ‘new’ in newstalgia is taking these throwback flavors and making them healthier, more grown up, and relaunching discontinued favorites. Social Media plays a huge part in the success of these launches with many users reminiscing together on the feeling of simpler times the flavors bring.
When it comes time for new formulation or revamping an old favorite, our team at Flavor Insights is here to help you. With an expertise in functional ingredients and flavors that wow, we have what it takes to make your product stand out. Looking for more information on specific topics? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flavor Insights believes this information to be correct. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is given or made in respect to the information provided. Flavor Insights is not in a position to validate the actual production or labeling of products. Flavor Insights recommends that all finished product labeling be reviewed by legal counsel, and finished product and label claim testing be confirmed to ensure product label accuracy.