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Top Emerging 2022 Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry

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Top Emerging 2022 Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry

The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a significant turning point for the food and beverage industry. The pre-pandemic food and beverage industry trends and investment prospects are entirely different from the post-pandemic phase. 2020 was a tumultuous year, and the changes in consumer behaviour are expected to last well into the foreseeable future.

Here are the top 4 emerging trends in 2022 that the food and beverage industry must prep for:

  1. The Flexitarian Movement Gains Momentum

With the initial non-availability of meat and meat derivatives during 2020 and 2021, the global consumption of animal protein went down. Plant-based protein alternatives like Chickpeas, Almonds, Peanuts, Quinoa, and Tofu gained massive popularity. Even though the meat supply chains have been restored, the demand has fallen considerably. Consumers have developed an affinity for plant-based proteins since they are cheaper, healthier, and eco-friendly.

Many consumers cannot practice veganism (complete abstinence from meat and dairy). For them, a flexitarian diet with reduced meat/dairy consumption and increased plant-based foods is on the rise.

  1. An Invigorating Demand for Functional Foods

As per the latest food and beverage industry trends, the health-food aisle will remain the most-thronged in 2022 and beyond. While this trend gradually picked up over the last decade, the pandemic-induced panic accelerated it in 2020 and 2021. What is interesting to note is the sheer diversity of wellness-promoting food and beverages that have emerged in response to consumer demand. These include:

  • Eatables and drinkables that have been nutritionally enhanced with multivitamins and minerals
  • Health foods with immunity-building ingredients like green tea, kale, oranges, turmeric, basil, almonds, etc.
  • Fermented food and beverage products like Kefir, Miso, Tempeh, Sauerkraut, and more
  • Products boosting mental health and wellness like Jasmine Tea, Dark Chocolate, Walnuts etc
  1. Simple, Home-Cooked Meals are in Vogue

The recent pandemic also has simplified consumer choices. With complete shutdowns in the first and second quarters of 2020, there was no choice but to depend on home-cooking, using locally available ingredients. What was perceived as a passing phase became a prevalent trend. Consumers today prefer hygienically prepared home-cooked meals as opposed to mass-catered food. There is an inherent realization about the environmental benefits and the nutritional advantage of using fresh, seasonal, and native produce. Lavish, exotic, and imported food products are no more consumed with the previous fervour. Ready-to-heat health-food packages at grocery stores or convenience cooking appliances, the home-cooking trend is here to stay!

  1. High Consumer Expectations on the Transparency Front

Consumers are highly enlightened today. Being transparent about your production, packaging, storage, ingredients, nutritional composition, and CSR policies have become a basic necessity as a food or beverage brand.

AI in food industry is not just for speeding production but also for complying with the higher food safety standards set during the pandemic. Brands with humane, ethical, and eco-friendly supply chains and impeccable hygiene compliances are doing better. Consumers are also looking for brands that use fresh ingredients with transparent labels and sustainable practices.

Conclusion

As new food and beverage trends emerge every few years, it is worthwhile to note that not all of these are worth investing in. Any trend to generate a profitable business opportunity needs to be scalable for a sizable market segment within the available opportunity window. Thanks to AI in the food industry and cutting-edge, predictive algorithms, businesses today have more clarity on upcoming lucrative trends. A holistic, data-driven understanding of customer preferences and their viability can steer your business ahead in the right direction. The food and beverage industry are turning a new leaf in its book. It is also best to remember that eating healthy should be our first priority.