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Six food and drink trends to watch in 2017

By Emma Eversham+ , 11-Nov-2016
Last updated on 11-Nov-2016 at 10:32 GMT2016-11-11T10:32:02Z

Food and drink trends for 2017

The food and drink product trends set to make an impact over the coming year have been revealed with ancient grains, plant-based products and calming ingredients predicted to make it big in 2017.

Foodservice operators can also expect to see a greater emphasis on cutting food waste with more products designed to make use of ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted coming to the market. 

For retail food and drink products, Mintel’s global food and drink analyst Jenny Zegler, also predicts the creation of more time-saving products for busy consumers and of ways to make it easier for everyone to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, regardless of income. 

Zegler said: “This year’s trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient and trustworthy food and drink. 

“Across the world, manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to provide more people with food and drink that is recognisable, saves time and contains servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables and other plants. 

“In addition, Mintel has identified exciting new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption, progressive solutions for food waste and affordable healthy food for low-income consumers. 

“Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalise on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future.”

Mintel's six food and drink trends for 2017:

  • Tradition: Zegler believes that as consumers seek safety in recognisable products manufacturers should look to the past for inspiration. She says 'ancient' product claims including grains, recipes, practices and traditions will be popular, as well as innovations that use the the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognisable, such as cold-brew coffee.
  • Plant-power: With the number of people turning vegan and vegetarian rising and the growing trend for 'flexitarianism', Zegler predicts the arrival of more products using plants as key ingredients. She says more packaged products and recipes for home cooking will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. 
  • Calming: With modern life becoming more hectic, Zegler believes there is a market for food and drink with calming qualities for consumption before bedtime and which can restore the body while resting. She gives examples of using calming herbs such as chamomile and lavender in products other than teas and positioning chocolate as a way to wind down after a stressful day. 
  • Waste not: Zegler predicts that products that can make use of ingredients that would otherwise have gone to waste, such as fruit snacks made of 'ugly' fruit and mayonnaise made from chickpea water (aka aquafaba) will gain interest, as will systems which can re-purpose food waste. 
  • Health equality: Campaigns and innovations that will make it easier for consumers on lower-incomes to eat more healthily will come to the fore in 2017 says Zegler. She gives the example of apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale and value-priced boxes of 'wonky' vegetables. 
  • Time-saving: Food products providing short-cut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious and customisable will be in-demand, says Zegler as time continues to be a precious resource for consumers. "In 2017, the time spent on – or saved by – a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more products to directly communicate how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume," she said.                     

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