Mintel, a global market research and consultancy agency, has recently published the Global Food and Drink Trends 2017. As pointed out by the global analysts of Mintel, the global trends in 2017 are grounded in consumers’ demands for healthy, convenient and reliable food and drinks. For producers and retailers all over the world, highly recognized, timesaving and functional fruits, vegetables and other plant products will have more opportunities. In addition, Mintel also identifies opportunities in functional food and beverage for nighttime, specific solutions to food waste, as well as healthy food provided for lower-income consumers.

On the basis of the report, we summarize six keywords about the global food and drink trends in 2017 to share with our readers. We hope that these identified trends could help brand producers better expand their businesses in new regions and dig in the innovation of products in the future.

1. Tradition

Retro has found its extension from fashion to food. Last year, traditional ingredients like Madagascan vanilla and Mexican peppers gained particular popularity among Europeans, engaging respectively 37%, 36% and 35% consumers in France, Poland and Spain. According to a survey on the breakfast habits of Chinese consumers aged 20 to 49, 67% of those surveyed prefer traditional breakfast like porridge and wonton. Another investigation on Brazilians who used to make breakfasts themselves also disclose that 25% of them are more inclined to cook as their mothers or grandmothers ever did for them.

Food companies are responding to such preference. From September 2015 to August 2016, new food products labeled “ancient” in the global market have increased by 269% over the past five years, as the data of Mintel’s Global New Products Database showed. These days, people once again find new business opportunities in traditional ingredients, flavors and cooking methods.

Consumers seeking for safe products with recognition over fashion want to get comfort from these old recipes, flavors and formats. Therefore, people’s trust in familiar things will bring opportunities for brand producers, because the sense of deja vu provides a reliable source of inspiration.The potential for innovation liesin reforming on the basis of tradition with high recognition.

2. Vegetarian

Consumers’ inclination to natural, simple, and elastic vegetarian will add more fuel to the prevalence of vegetarian, vegan and other plant formulations. Regarding healthy diet, 55% adults in UK believe that one should have mostly vegetables for a meal; 24% consumers following closely to the trend take such superfoods as avocado and quinoa to be indispensable; and 35% Chinese consumers between 20 to 49 years old want to eat healthy through having more vegetables.

Over the past five years, worldwide products referred to as vegetarian increased by 25%, while those labeled vegan grew by 257%. Indeed, consumers find it easier to get vegan substitutes for animal food, for example, vegan hamburgers, milk and mayonnaise.

In 2017, the food and drink industry will embrace even more vegetarian products highlighting their plant ingredients. Selected fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and other plant ingredients will appear more frequently in recipes on food package or household cook books, whichis to meet consumers’ demands for healthier and cleaner lifestyle.

3. Conservation

Eliminating food waste is a focus of sustainable development.

Retailers, restaurants and charities are working in a larger number to address food and drink waste all over the world, which will change consumers’ old perceptions.

In UK, bread takes the largest proportion of food waste among all categories. According to the investigation of Mintel, 56% consumers in UK urge for better food packaging to extend the preservation of bread; 53% Chinese look forward to small packages of sauces and seasonal food and worry about the waste caused by the package itself; 40% Canadians advocate the use of biodegradable materials in mini coffee or tea packages.

In addition to packaging, some kinds of food are wasted simply due to the “affluenza” of modern people. For example, a large amount of fruits rot away on the shelves because they do not look good. A sample research covering 2023 American adults shows that when shopping for fresh food 80% interviewees admit that they pay special attention to its appearance, and 43% say they would check if it has flaws or irregular shape.

Therefore, the year 2017 will see a trend where small packages will be used, selected raw materials will no longer be a highlight, and more products will be made with materials that would have otherwise gone to waste, such as fruit snacks made from “ugly” fruits.

4. Time

For modern people believing in “time is money”, the time necessary for making products and meals is no less important than their nutrients and ingredients. Particularly for breakfast, 42% Chinese consumers accepting instant food wish for more options for instant breakfast, and 30% Canadians state that little or no effort needed to prepare breakfast is an important criterion for deciding what to have for breakfast.

Time is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Our busy life requests simplicity —which is shown in fresh, nutritious and customizable products. Some consumers have tried so-called “biohacking” drinks like Soylent that contain nutrition concentrate. However, it is not acceptable yet for consumers to have meal replacement all the time, instead they only try these chic products occasionally.

In 2017, the time spent on, or saved by, a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more producers to directly tell consumers about how long they will take to receive, prepare or consumethe products.

6. Equality

Just as almost all cosmetic brands promoting “nighttime skin repair” face creams or masks, the food industry also starts to dig the business treasure of nighttime.

“Nighttime snacks” in tradition has always been regarded as a synonymous phrase for “unhealthy” and “obesity”. However, in 2017 eating at night will be redefined by functional food and drink formulations.

The increasingly hectic pace of modern life is creating a market for food and drinks that help people of all ages calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Producers can draw inspiration from tea byadding chamomile, lavender and other herbs into their products to help sleeping, andposition chocolate as a comfortfor consumers to wind down after a stressful day. In the days to come, there is a potential for more innovation in food and drinks formulated for night relaxation. Those products, taking a cue from the beauty industry, may function and benefit consumers while they sleep.

6. Equality

The trendiest healthy food, including superfoods and organic vegetables are often highly priced and thus unaffordable for lower-income consumers. But healthy food and drinks ought not to be “luxuries”. Inequality is not just a political or philanthropic issue; it also resonatesa lot with the food and drink industry. Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets and eat healthy, but the access to and the cost of healthy food and drinks is often an impediment. More campaigns and innovations, including new apps to teach people how to make the ingredients on sale into fine dishes, are expected in the market, which will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their health ambitions.

Asda, a supermarket in UK, provides irregular “ugly” vegetables at a lower price than general ones; a crowdfunding project in Argentina is planning to design an online map app that tells consumers where to find cheap and good meat sellers; another app in Netherland teaches users how to cook with ingredients on sale.

Every soul is equal before food. Besides, lowering down the price threshold for food also helps expand the market, which will never be bad for all businesses.

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