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5 important food and beverage industry trends to watch

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According to the US Department of Agriculture, 21,435 new food products are released every year. Many of these new products are variations on existing foods. For example, a new flavor of Doritos technically counts as a “new product.”

However, a fair number of these new products truly have never been seen before. For example, CBD gummies aren’t just a new food product, they’re an entirely new category.

Explodingtopics.com has compiled this brief 2020 trends report as a market research resource for the food industry. Here are 5 of the most important food and beverage trends happening right now, and the food companies and products that are leading the way.

 

1. Meal kits continue to grow

Blue Apron (and their massive investments in digital advertising) helped put meal kits on the map. Since then, a number of meal kit and meal delivery players have entered the fray. The space continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year.

In fact, sales for Blue Apron competitor HelloFresh are up 68.4%, according to data from FoodNavigator.com.

Why are meal kits still going strong? It’s because they are able to provide value in two consumer areas that are rising in popularity. Meal kits satisfy growing demand for healthy meals and snacks, while also making home cooking both easy and highly accessible.

 

2. “Gummification” of foods and supplements

Gummies are quickly becoming the go-to delivery system for countless nutrients,  vitamins, supplements and superfoods.

New apple cider vinegar gummies products are a great example of this trend. In fact, ACV gummies are one of the hottest new food products out there. Apple cider vinegar is far from a new superfood trend (ACV started to take off back in 2017), but adoption of ACV may have been dampened due to its bitter taste.

Enter: ACV gummies. Led by category-leader Goli Gummies, more people are consuming ACV than ever before. Expect to see the gummy + ingredient trend continue to grow in the coming years.

 

3. Food delivery & meal delivery become part of daily life

Not long ago, food delivery was reserved for certain cuisine, or for urbanites in dense cities like New York. Foods that travel well like pizza and chinese takeout come to mind.

However, Uber Eats has pushed meal delivery into the mainstream. In fact, stats show that the industry as a whole has grown by 20% over the last year.

It’s no secret why meal delivery has become so popular: it’s a highly convenient way to access your city’s restaurants. Public concern over venturing out to grocery stores and restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic has only increased consumer demand.

But the reason that Uber Eats and other food delivery apps thrive is due to their unique approach in delivering food to users.

Their fleet of delivery people (mostly made up of bicycles and motorbikes), mean that restaurants don’t need to hire, train and manage their own delivery team. This has opened up literally millions of restaurants that otherwise wouldn’t be able to offer delivery as a service.

 

4. New vegan food categories

Only 5% of Amercians consider themselves to be vegetarian. However, this number is rising rapidly.

Additionally, as part of the growing “plant-based diet” movement, non-vegans and non-vegetarians are seeking out vegan alternatives to meat and dairy. The recent plant-based meat trend, popularized by brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, is just one example.

Food and supplement companies are starting to take notice. Not only are there “plant based” labels plastered on more food items than ever before, but there are even new categories designed specifically for people that follow plant-based or strictly vegan diets.

One interesting example of this trend is vegan collagen. Technically, vegan collagen is an impossibility because collagen is derived from animal skin or bone tissue. However, savvy food and beverage manufacturers have been able to replicate a plant-based version of collagen in a lab.

 

5. Demand for keto food products on the rise

The keto diet involves eating very little carbs in favor of high-fat dishes. First popularized by Dr. Atkins, the diet has seen a revival in recent years.

While the merits of the diet are up for debate, there’s no question that it’s a challenge to adhere to over the long-term.

However, thanks to a slew of new keto food products, keto dieters are no longer limited to meals consisting of steak and salad. Instead, people that eat keto can now indulge in keto-friendly versions of their favorite foods, including cookies, bread and more.

For example, ice cream brand Rebel Ice Cream, has grown rapidly thanks to its large variety of low-sugar, keto-friendly flavors.

 

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This article was written by Josh Howarth, the co-founder (along with Kyle Byers and Brian Dean) of ExplodingTopics.com, a tool and newsletter that helps people identify rapidly-growing trends.