April 27, 2020
5 Trends Set to Shape the Food & Beverage Industry in 2020 – FREE REPORT
In 2000 we had cupcakes, comfort food, and Rachel Ray. In 2019 we had realistic burgers made from plants, and a wine brand that exploded in popularity because of augmented reality.
How did we get here? And, more important to food & beverage brands, where are we heading next?
With so much change happening so quickly, it’s more essential than ever for brands to look forward to future trends in the food & beverage industry. Fortunately, we’ve done the research and forecasted the top 4 food & beverage trends coming our way in 2020 so you don’t have to.
You can download the full report here, or keep scrolling for a taste of what’s inside.
Download “5 Megatrends Fueling Change in the Food & Beverage Industry in 2020”, now updated with current information regarding COVID-19
Trend #1: Consumption with a Purpose
Midway through August 2019, fast food chain Popeyes, a franchise that has struggled financially since 2017, released their new chicken sandwich to the public. It exploded in popularity.
Compare this story to Chick-fil-A, whose chicken patty was long considered the best around. When word spread of Chick-fil-A founder’s right-leaning politics, consumers responded. And tweeted. And protested. And boycotted.
This tale of two sandwiches highlights a changing consumer behavior in the food & beverage industry. We no longer consume solely to satisfy hunger or thirst. Tastiness is still a prerequisite, but our consumption is now more tied to the ethos of our tribe. We choose to consume a product that aligns with our values and personal goals, and reject (often vocally) what we see as a threat to them.
Instead of eating “just ‘cause,” more are preferring to eat for a “just cause.”
Cause-based marketing penetrates almost every industry and has been growing for some time. Edelman’s 2018 Earned Brand Report cites that the majority of consumers across all ages and all incomes are belief-driven buyers, people who choose, switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues. The food & beverage industry is no outlier.
Environmental sustainability is maybe the most relevant example of purposeful consumption in this industry today. It has helped fuel the rise of veganism, plant-based protein, and sustainable packaging, which are significant trends in their own right.
To zero in on this “green” trend in food & beverage, think about the following statistics:
- A recent analysis has shown that, while meat and dairy only account for 18% of consumed calories, it produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gases.
- On average, consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for foods or beverages that are certified organic or environmentally friendly.
- Heineken has committed that by 2020, at least 50% of their main raw materials will come from sustainable sources.
While only a snapshot of a big, complex trend, these three statistics help form the story that’s shaping in the minds of today’s consumer. As the story goes, our consumption of meat is harming the environment at a higher rate than our consumption of plants, and we’re willing to spend more to put pressure on brands to address these growing concerns.
A new kind of “buzz” around health and wellness
Consumption with a purpose as a trend in food & beverage can point to a purpose beyond self (environmentalism, racial equality, income inequality, etc.), but it can also point to a more personal purpose.
Sure, we could call the rise of CBD, plant-based meats, and non-alcoholic drinks individual trends in the industry. They answer “what.” But the more valuable question we can ask is “why,” and that answer is, because these things offer a perceived benefit to our health, wellness, or physical appearance (“perceived” being an important word). One example cited by the International Food Information Council Foundation says:
Despite the importance of familiarity, 7 in 10 consumers would be willing to give up a familiar favorite product for one that did not contain artificial ingredients. Of those who would, 4 in 10 would be willing to pay 50% more and 1 in 5 would pay 100% more. That said, there are about 4 in 10 who would pay nothing more for the new product.
According to research by McKinsey, fresh produce and health-oriented packaged goods are growing far faster than all other categories. This will charge both product developers to create healthier products, and brand marketers to design packaging that communicates this value prop clearly and succinctly.