from @collagecollectiveco on Instagram

2018 Food and Drink Trends

As 2018 is rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming trends that we’ll be seeing in the new year. Based on Mintel’s Global Food & Drink Trends in 2018, here are a few of the top trends we’ll be seeing:

  1. Transparency in the Food Supply Chain

In their Global Food & Drink Trends in 2018 report, Mintel begins by highlighting ”In our new post-truth reality, consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies.” Based on trends that we’ve seen in the past and in other markets, this doesn’t necessarily surprise us, but it does demonstrate the growth of the consumer’s distrust and Mintel notes, “This places pressure on manufacturers to offer thorough and honest disclosures about how, where, when, and by whom food and drink is grown, harvested, made, and/ or sold.” In the upcoming year, we’ll see the traceability of products become much more transparent.

What this means for us:

This general distrust towards the supply chain and any organic or environmental claims will make it necessary for packaging and e-commerce experiences to tell a fuller, more thorough story about their products. Storytelling through these mediums need to be richer and more transparent to meet the standards of consumers in 2018.

When we created the site for Dao Labs, we focused on the transparency of the supply chain, ingredients, and sourcing of the ingredients.

2. The Balancing Act

Balance comes in multiple forms when it comes to food and diets across the world. While in the past, we’ve seen diets limited by specific ingredients (salt, sugar, etc.) or types of foods (carbs, fats, etc.) now we’re seeing consumers that are more interested in what foods and drinks provide them with, rather than focusing on what they don’t. Mintel notes, “Plants are just one component of balanced diets, with many consumers creating personalised diets that also prioritise consuming sufficient protein, staying hydrated, and allowing themselves the occasional treat.” This idea of the occasional treat will change the types of products we see in the grocery aisles — for example, instead of full size ice cream pops, we’ll see more mini sizes with healthier ingredients. We’ll also see more pre-portioned snack and meals that make it easy for consumers to know how much they should consume.

What this means for us:

When creating packaging for a new product, consider how you can highlight the benefits of the food or drink and make pre-portioned sizes that make it easy for consumers to know what serving size looks like. On web, these aspects, along with transparency, can start to shape the story you tell about the product. The narrative that you tell consumers can highlight benefits as well as an cooking instructions or tips.

3. Highlighting Texture

It’s pretty obvious that food trends in the past years have focused on making insta worthy food and drinks with bright colors and shapes. While that legacy will carry on, we’re now going to be venturing into the world of textures. As Mintel notes, “Texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive — and documentation-worthy — experiences.” We’ll be seeing an uprise of products with surprising textures and flavors, like chewy drinks or interesting layers or coatings on crackers. The rise of these new textures and flavors stems from the potential to appeal to younger consumers who are used to interactivity and multi sensory experiences. Mintel captures, “ The quest for experiences provides opportunities for multisensory food and drink that uses unexpected texture to provide the iGeneration — as well as consumers of all ages — with tangible connections to the real world as well as moments worth sharing either in person or online.” This new lense can also provide marketers with a new way to sell existing products.

What this means for us:

Transparent packaging. If the product has an interesting texture, let it shine and talk it up. Through the e-commerce experience, you can highlight textures in product detail shots and descriptions. Depending on your audience, you can add in interactive components if they add meaning and help you to better tell the story of your products.

When we worked with Latin Baby to design their packaging, we used transparent packaging to show consumers the texture of the product.

4. The Power of Voice

We’ve heard it before, “The best interface is no interface” and in the food and drink world, it’s no different. Walmart recently partnered with Google to offer thousands of items for voice shopping through Google Assistant — but that’s just the start. We’ll be seeing the rise of voice technologies, which make it easier for customers to order their favorite products and for companies to offer customized recommendations and build consumer loyalty. The report spells out, “The rapid expansion in the variety of food and drink retail channels will fuel the opportunity for recommendations, promotions, and product innovations based on actual consumer behaviour patterns.” But on the flip side, this might hurt brand discovery and loyalty because consumers rely on technology rather than self discovery.

What this means for us:

We need to take personalization up a notch. Think about ways that you could be recommending more products to your consumers, suggesting bundles or subscription boxes for signature products. Creating a relationship with the consumer matters. Now’s the time to think about how you can make your brand indispensable to them and do it in a way that leverages technology that are convenient and efficient.

Is your ecommerce experience doing all it can to communicate your values to your consumers? Are you connecting with the right consumer? Talk to SMAKK, we love this stuff.