Innova Identifies Top 10 F&B Trends Set to Accelerate Innovation in 2021

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Transparency emerges as a clear winner in Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2021 report, with food and beverage (F&B) brands upping their game to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands.

Data crunched by the Arnhem, Netherlands-based analytical company provides an in-depth delve into how the industry has evolved. As the Covid-19 pandemic transforms shopping and eating habits around the world, staying ahead of the curve and keeping on top of the changing and sophisticated food and beverage landscape is of paramount importance.

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) scare has sharpened overall focus on overall health and immunity, with consumers seeking foods and ingredients that support personal health. Attention is now on exploring how these changed behaviors will shape the future of the food and beverage industry.

“Transparency throughout the supply chain will dominate in 2021, with consumers searching for brands that can build trust, provide authentic and credible products, and create shopper confidence in the current and post-COVID climate,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of insights and Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

The new Top Ten Trends for 2021 are:

  1. Transparency Triumphs

The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 reveals that six in ten consumers around the world are interested in learning more about where foods come from. Transparency dominates consumer demand in 2021. Increasing transparency to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands is key. Brands adopting and pairing new packaging technologies such as invisible barcodes and near-field communication technology with creative, meaningful storytelling will be successful. The consumer lifestyle trend toward cleaner living is broadening and heightening expectations around what constitutes a clean label. Aspects include human/animal welfare, supply chain transparency, plant-powered nutrition and sustainable sourcing.

  1. Plant-Forward

As plant-based food trends reach global phenomenon status, the “plant-based” definition is evolving. Its rising appeal will drive expansion to different regions and categories in 2021, including accelerated demand for new formats, plant proteins and more sophisticated alternatives. Propelled by sustainability and animal welfare concerns, lab-grown foods have the potential to disrupt the industry by mainstreaming the use of new technologies. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 indicated that the top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives are health, diet variety, sustainability and taste. As demand for plant protein rises further, opportunities and challenges relating to regional consumer preferences and sustainability expectations are attracting attention.

  1. Tailored to Fit

Personalized nutrition is in the spotlight as consumers look for food and beverage options that fit their lifestyles. People expect a tailored approach to eating, with technological breakthroughs, constant new launches and exciting sensorial experiences providing the opportunity for customized lifestyles to extend to food and beverage consumption. Sophisticated personalized nutrition advice on functional foods is still expensive, but the emergence of tech platforms allows for comparable customer service via automation. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 showed that 64% of respondents have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual style, beliefs and needs.

  1. New Omnichannel Eating

As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. They are seeking convenience, richer experiences and accessible indulgence. Traditional hospitality is getting edged out, particularly with Covid-19 forcing many people to stay at home. Increased home cooking is driving the use of convenient meal kits/starters and more sophisticated ingredients, resulting in new food experiences. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 found 46% of consumers believe restaurant-branded products are a convenient way to attain the restaurant experience and flavors at home. Along with restaurant delivery growing, consumers can now directly access many specialty products that were previously only accessible via foodservice.

  1. In Tune with Immune

Ongoing anxiety stemming from Covid-19 will encourage consumers to prioritize their immune health into 2021. According to the Innova Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019. Immunity-boosting ingredients will play a significant role in the coming year, while research and interest in the role of the microbiome and personalized nutrition as ways to strengthen immunity will accelerate.

6. Nutrition Hacking

7. Mood: The Next Occasion

8. Product Mashups: When Trends Collide

 9. Modern Nostalgia

10. Age of the Influencer

“The ever-evolving food and beverage industry has seen a significant consumer push for transparency throughout the supply chain, immunity-boosting products and the use of technology. 2021 is a huge year for opportunities and innovation that meet these needs,” said Williams. “Based on our latest Innova Consumer Survey 2020 and database findings, our Top Trends for 2021 reveal the latest need-to-know insights to enable brands to grow, innovate and lead in the food and beverage industry.”

Williams will present further details about the survey during a webinar on November 11, 2020 at 4pm CET/10am EST. Register to attend the upcoming webinar here.