Food and beverage trends for 2017: hyper-focused

 In FoodBev, Press

The beginning of the year is always filled with predictions for the food and beverage industry – what the biggest flavour, ingredient and consumer trends will be for this year. The over-arching themes that I expect to read about will include new technologies for sugar reduction, sustainable initiatives, and an emphasis on vegetables, including launches of more vegetable ‘butcher shops’ (see Herbivorous Butcher and YamChops).

Many of the major food and beverage trends of 2016 will not change drastically this year, but rather will become more focused, hyperlocal, and hyper-personalised. It takes time for brands to respond to consumer demands and make substantial changes to their product line-up. Here is a list of my predictions for 2017, which are a new spin on what we saw last year.

Specific spices

The broader trend last year was spice everywhere, but this coming year, it will be focused on some specific spices and groups of herbs. Adaptogenic herbs, such as ashwagandha, reishi, and holy basil, have garnered attention for their ability to naturally lower cortisol levels, and will be key components in new food and beverage products in 2017. Additionally, spices like turmeric (which saw a 21% increase in use in global product launches in 2016), caraway, cayenne, curry and horseradish will continue on the upswing.

Eat local and global

Food and beverage marketing will be more specific about the origin and flavour profiles of their product offerings. Asian cuisines like Japanese and Chinese have been mainstream in Western culture for ages, but 2017 will include more of a spotlight on Filipino and Korean foods, both in restaurants and retail. Packaged products will also often call out a very specific location where the product was conceived or created.

vegetables on forksVeggies are the new entrée

Vegetables will be central to innovation in 2017. I expect to see vegetables in less common forms, like jerky pickled or fermented veggies. In addition to vegetable-only restaurants popping up, certain vegetables will gain attention for being especially nutrient-rich and versatile. Expect to see more beets, previously discarded leaves or greens, seaweed and cauliflower in products and on menus.

DIY experience

Customising your food and beverage experience will come in several innovative forms in 2017. Brands initially known for clothing or home furnishings, like Guess Corporation, Martha Stewart and KITH, are incorporating a dining experience into their stores, or are partnering with other retailers to make branded edibles available to the shopper. Consumers can customise their retail outing by combining it with their dining experience, or they can use a meal delivery kit to DIY at home. No matter the venue that consumers choose for dining, brands are willing to meet them in their preferred environment.

forager chipsSustainable initiatives

Food waste is starting to gain consumer attention, especially as people are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious. In response to growing consumer awareness, several brands are making commitments to being more resourceful with their ingredients and generally reducing waste. If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘upcycling’, you probably will be soon. Upcycling focuses on reusing or repurposing produce that is either near the end of its shelf life or ‘ugly’.

Consumers are looking for healthier options and ingredients that provide benefits naturally. Millennial and Gen-Z consumers in particular want a nutrition plan that is catered to them and their needs. In addition to the emphasis on personalised nutrition, they are also focused on what is happening around them and how they can have a positive impact on their community at both the local and global level. I am looking forward to seeing how companies and brands incorporate these trends into their product offerings in the coming year.

Cheers to your 2017 – no matter how you D-I-Y!

Originally posted on Foodbev