We live in a fast-paced world where we’re surrounded by innovation. It’s tricky to keep up with the hottest trends – especially in the better-for-you sector. It seems like every day, we’re hearing about a new advancement in food or beauty.
More and more, brands are making healthy living accessible and mainstream. Complex concepts like plant-based protein are becoming far more approachable for the average consumer. Niche products and trends previously reserved only for the “healthy elite” aren’t novelty anymore.
Functional foods boomed over the past year as consumers continue to become more impatient and demand more value from their foods. We anticipate edible collagen is the next mainstream extension of this movement.
Foods infused with collagen and amino acids (what collagen is composed of) have begun to spring up in the marketplace. Increasing your body’s collagen has been linked to diminished signs of aging (like wrinkles or thin skin), boosting metabolism, strengthening hair and nails, reducing cellulite, providing joint pain relief (especially in runners’ knees), and improving mental health.
Bone broth is the most notable fad we predict will take off in the next year. It’s an easy-to-make, convenient, and tasty vehicle for getting more collagen in your diet. Already, brands like Bonafide Provisions and BRU are making bone broth in consumer-friendly bottles ready for grab-and-go.
As the food industry moves toward healthier options, consumers demand more complex and imaginative flavors. Palates have stopped craving super-sweet, dense flavors as natural ingredients become more prevalent and common.
We predict this will impact the dessert and beverage industries the most. People already flock for lavender-flavored ice cream – but that’s just the beginning. Floral, fragrant flavors feel sophisticated, making consumers feel a heightened sense pride in their perceived culinary prowess. Additionally, the floral – rather than sickly sweet – aroma makes consumers feel like they’re making healthier choices.
This trend – seen as craft and niche until now – will become much more mainstream in the coming years. For example, Whole Foods’ 365 label already has a lemon lavender granola and violet marshmallows. Keep your eyes peeled for floral dairy, baked goods, beverages, soups, desserts, teas, and more hitting conventional grocery soon.
We’ve heard of the cronut craze, Doritos Locos Tacos, or seen pictures of coffee in a cone on Instagram. Although this trend might seem over-played, it has yet to ramp up in the health food sector. Until recently, hybrid food lives among desserts and comfort food.
Now, healthy hybrid foods are finally having their moment. Moving away from the decadence and spectacle of unhealthy hybrid foods, the health food industry masterfully engineers mash-ups to make healthy eating more diverse and enjoyable for all. For example, take Broffee (a hybrid of coffee and bone broth) – it’s a small tweak to combine two things people love. It combines the trends of collagen, alternative protein, and energy into a portable, tasty blend. These more subtle combinations and alterations on familiar staples are far more approachable and something consumers can adopt for longer than just a passing fad.
The rehabilitation of science has made people more comfortable with science and food engineering as long as it’s ethical and transparent. Scientific manipulations of food allow for endless protein alternatives. Now, instead of a rare novelty, plant-based protein prevails.
With increased consumer education, shoppers are understanding the benefits of plant-based protein. Although many consumers have yet to fully understand the concept, their shopping and consumption habits already align with the trend. Making the step won’t be too much of a stretch for most of them. For example, the Impossible Burger is a plant-based patty that “bleeds” just like a beef patty. It makes it feel like a much more natural transition from meat.
From tomato tuna to pea milk to avocado ice cream – plant-based alternatives are here to stay.
People are hacking the food chain little by little to maximize nutrient benefits and get the most out of their food. This goes beyond just eating a balanced diet – it’s all about eating the right combination of things and the right time in the right amount (also called “bioavailability”). Functional drinks have gained popularity because they combine many different nutrients in one easy-to-consume form.
Prebiotics (essentially the “food” for probiotics) are a terrific example of this concept. Combined, prebiotics and probiotics protect your body against harmful bacteria and promote gut health. One without the other just isn’t as effective. Functional drinks on the market are adopting prebiotics into their formulas to make sure their consumers reap the full benefits of the nutrients in their products.
Eating Evolved, Soylent, and Bulletproof are just a few of the companies leading the way in this movement. Functional drinks like this easily supplement healthy diets, appeal to the on-the-go consumer, and are growing in popularity by the second.
As consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of new and exciting variants of ancient ingredients, we can’t wait to watch more and more of them take personal nutrition into their own hands.
These concepts might not become “popular” this coming year, but we see them becoming more mainstream and receiving increased media attention. Overall, we can’t always predict exactly which foods or movements will trend over the next year. However, our research, experience, and intuition can inform us so we can make an educated guess.
Keep an eye on the shelves, devour industry publications, and pick the brains of fellow thought-leaders to stay up-to-date on the most recent trends in your category. Use these rising movements and changes in consumer behavior to grow your brand and drive meaningful innovation.