Many consumers are passionate about the quality of their food, the health implications, and the environmental footprint made by food manufacturers. To meet their shifting expectations, food and beverage manufacturers must speed product introductions and develop new offerings that reflect the changing views on what is fresh, healthy, and mindful—and technology can help. It’s not just taste, freshness, and convenience that drive food purchases today. Conscientious consumers also focus on health, wellness, and social issues as they shop for family meals. They take nutrition labels, visibility into suppliers, humane treatment of animals, and environmental sustainability into consideration when shopping for food. While these expectations put added pressure on food and beverage manufacturers, companies that turn to technology to help, should seize the opportunity. Meeting the demands of today’s socially aware consumers can be a valuable differentiator.
The growing demand
It starts with the farm. Consumers today want to learn more about the origins of their food and its journey from farm to fork. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation states in a recent paper about food trends for 2019, “Americans have a growing appetite for more information about their food, and technology is enabling eaters like never before… it’s also driving transparency across the food supply chain.”
Pharma-nutritional. It is not strictly millennials looking for health-related options. People of all ages are turning to vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients that are potentially beneficial for bone, joint, immune system, digestive, and brain health. Mintel’s research shows 20% of US consumers aged 65-plus currently use a supplement for joint health. As consumers seek food and drink products that reduce inflammation, more products will feature ginger, turmeric, green tea extract, and medicinal mushrooms.
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