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Top Food Trends of 2018

When operating in the food industry, it is crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the game when it comes to the latest trends, and to include the ones that are already in high demand. 2018 has been a year of innovation and excitement within the food sector, with a number of trends picking up more traction than even the experts had anticipated. Take a look at the examples below that are likely to continue to impact the food industry throughout 2019.

Meat alternatives

Many people thought that plant-based food alternatives were just a fad. However, with supermarkets and eateries across the globe offering an expanding range of plant-based products it appears that this is simply not the case. As more people adopt either an entirely plant-based diet or simply want to reduce their meat intake, veganism is predicted to continue to increase in popularity globally.

In Europe, supermarkets have launched their own vegan ranges and even giants like Nestlé want a slice of the action. In Germany, for example, it was reported that more vegan food products were launched there than any other country last year (according to Mintel).[1] Berlin is also home to the world’s largest vegan grocery store chain, Veganz.

Looking ahead, retailers and eateries must tap into new ‘plant based innovation’ to stay relevant to their customers. Products like jackfruit, which mimics the texture and consistency of pulled pork, are examples of meat alternatives, which are growing in popularity and are predicted to become more widely available.

Locally grown food

2018 has seen a significant rise in consumers buying more locally grown products, which is more nutritious and costs less to get to market. Shoppers not only support local farmers, but also retailers who stock local produce from trusted named suppliers and they are prepared to spend a premium on it! Using locally sourced food is therefore a major selling point.

Initiatives such as The Food Assembly, a method established in France in 2011 which involves buying and selling locally produced food, bypassing the large chains, has now been adopted by several European countries. The initiative, known in France as La Ruche Qui Dit Oui, is a cross between a farmers market and a buying group, meaning the customers and food producers get the opportunity to meet regularly.

Transformative food technology

Advances in technology are revolutionizing the food industry and satisfying the demands of the consumer better than ever before.

In addition to being able to deliver an enhanced shopping experience, digitalization means that companies are able to provide consumers with the transparency they desire. Shoppers have access to a vast amount of information, from how the ingredients were sourced to details of the manufacturing process.

New technology enables more food to be produced using fewer resources, and responds to an important consumer demand, to make food production more sustainable. Moisture sensors, drones, smart irrigation, self-driving and GDP enabled tractors and terrain contour mapping are just a few examples of technology used by farmers to produce food sustainably.

With the capability of creating foods tailored to the individual consumer, new technology can create a highly personalised experience – another key trend for 2018 that is a highly effective way to maintain long-term customer loyalty.

Gut Health

In 2018, improving health and wellness is important to consumers and as a result of this, brands in this sector have skyrocketed in popularity. However, there are some healthy food trends that people are latching onto more than others.

A bit of a taboo subject in the past, gut health is fast becoming a new lifestyle approach that will have an impact on many food companies. With evidence suggesting that increasing the good bacteria in the gut is said to improve digestion, boost immunity and help maintain a healthy weight, consumers are seeking new ways to optimize their gut health. Eating fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are said to produce good bacteria, resulting in an increase in consumer demand. Retailers and eateries are responding to this trend, incorporating these foods into menus and stocking them on the shelves.

Food waste reduction

Each year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is “lost” or wasted around the globe[2]., This year, however, consumers, producers and sellers have adopted innovative ways to reduce waste.

France has led the way in terms of plastic reduction and is the first country in the world to prohibit supermarkets from throwing away unused food, with the Government introducing measures to help tackle the issue. For example, schools are required to teach students about sustainability; companies must report food waste statistics in environmental reports and restaurants must make ‘doggie‘ bags available.

In other countries, supermarkets and restaurants are changing the way food is sold, to help reduce waste. For example, supermarkets are offering ‘wonky fruit and vegetables’ and damaged foods, which would have been rejected in the past. 

These are a few of the trends that have impacted the food industry this year. With innovations and changes happening all the time, we will see many new trends in 2019.

Make sure you keep up with the trends or risk falling behind.