Transparency triumphs in Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2021
20 Oct 2020 --- “Transparency Triumphs” leads Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2021, with a spotlight on emergent technologies like invisible barcodes and near-field communication technology that help brands convey creative product storytelling.
In other spotlighted F&B product themes, the sustained plant-based revolution is branching out into more sophisticated alternatives. At the same time, COVID-19’s influence over omnichannel eating and bolstered interest in immunity-elevating offerings remains prominent.
“Big trends can morph and change over a decade or more,” Lu Ann Williams, director of insights and innovation at Innova Market Insights, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“The first time I discussed clean label kitchen cupboard ingredients was 2006. Now consumers are definitely looking past no additive or preservative claims and demanding much more transparency about how their food is made.”
The F&B industry is predominantly driven by consumer needs, even if they do not know exactly what they want yet, Williams illustrates.
“I don’t know any consumer that was dreaming and wishing for pea protein 15 years ago, for instance. But the dynamics at play at the time – consumer needs for products that stop cravings in a healthy way, for weight management – boosted the market for plant-based protein,” she remarks.
“Trends are so interesting now – we don’t rely on magazines and the 6 o’clock news for our information anymore. In measuring today’s trends, it is really important to know what’s really happening in society and what algorithms are feeding into social media.”
Morphology of a trend
Certain elements of the Top Trends for 2021 are relative to Innova Market Insights’ preceding 2020 report. “Transparency Triumphs,” for instance, pays homage to “Storytelling: Winning with Words” with a renewed consumer interest in ingredient sourcing through the lens of emergent technologies that elevate supply chain visibility.
“A trend is something that sticks and evolves over time. It doesn’t just come and go,” says Williams.
“The Atkins low carb diet is a good example. We saw a big spike in low carb launches during that period and then fizzled out. The trend was really a form of lifestyle eating. When the protein trend boomed, low carb became a feature of the bigger trend.”
Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for 2021 are:
1. Transparency Triumphs
The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 reveals that six in ten global consumers are interested in learning more about where foods come from.
In light of transparency dominating 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.
Meanwhile, the consumer lifestyle trend toward cleaner living is broadening and heightening expectations around what constitutes a clean label. Aspects include human and animal welfare, supply chain transparency, plant-powered nutrition and sustainable sourcing.
As plant-based trends reach global phenomenon status, this year’s Top Ten Trends report sees a renewal of 2020’s “Plant-Based Revolution Trend”. As a natural progression, this years’ “Plant-Forward” theme spotlights expansion to different regions and categories in 2021.
The accelerated demand for new plant-based formats and more sophisticated alternatives is forecasted for upcoming successful launches. In particular, lab-grown foods have the potential to disrupt the industry with acceleration from animal welfare interests.
“I want to see what happens with the trade off between plant-based dairy, fish, meat and cheese. I am wondering how big the potential shifts could be. Plant-based cheese is still not quite there yet, but could it be that at some point, in a few years. I am curious to see how these categories continue to develop,” says Williams.
“If I think of myself as a consumer and I believe there is more room to make vegetables even more exciting. There are new developments in seasonings and meal kits, such as the new formats of vegetables – think riced vegetables.”
The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 indicated that the top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives were health, diet variety, sustainability and taste.
3. Tailored to Fit
Personalized nutrition is in the spotlight as consumers look for food and beverage options that fit their unique lifestyles.
Sophisticated personalized nutrition advice on functional foods is still expensive, but the emergence of tech platforms allows for comparable customer service via automation.
Consumers expect a tailored approach to eating, with technological breakthroughs, new launches and exciting sensorial experiences providing the opportunity for customized lifestyles to extend to food and beverage consumption.
The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 showed that 64 percent of global consumers have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual style, beliefs and needs.
4. New Omnichannel Eating
As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. Consumers are seeking convenience, richer experiences and accessible indulgence.
Traditional hospitality is getting edged out, particularly with COVID-19 giving consumers more time to stay at home and sharpen their own culinary prowess.
Meanwhile, 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 percent 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.
5. In Tune with Immune
Ongoing anxiety stemming from COVID-19 will encourage consumers to prioritize their immune health into 2021.
“Functional foods are back. Twenty-five years ago they changed the industry and we’ve come full circle,” Williams tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“While we’ve seen a huge shift due to regulations and the move to clean label where consumers were looking for more inherently healthy products, there is a lot of interest in fortified and functional foods, again. Vitamins C, D and zinc are flying off the supplements shelves,” she notes.
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.
The other top trends for 2021 identified by Innova Market Insights are:
6. Nutrition Hacking
7. Mood: The Next Occasion
8. Product Mashups: When Trends Collide
9. Modern Nostalgia
10. Age of the Influencer
The Top Ten Trends for 2021 will be presented by Innova Market Insights during a live webinar to be held on November 11, 2020, at 4 pm CET / 10 am EST. You can register here.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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