Jennifer Zegler
Jenny Zegler is an Associate Director of Mintel Food and Drink at Mintel. Jenny blends her trends expertise with food and drink topics such as health, formulation, sustainability and premiumization.

Around this time last year, Mintel released the 2018 Global Food & Drink Trends. The annual trends reflect hot topics such as lack of trust, growing interest in self-care and the need for experiences worthy of sharing on social media. The predictions also observed how technology will change food and drink retailing and production.

Before we unveil our predictions for 2019, we revisit the 2018 Global Food & Drink Trends to see how the five predictions evolved in the past year.

Full Disclosure

In our new post-truth reality, consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies.

Food and drink companies have made strides during 2018 to provide more information to consumers in the hopes of rebuilding the current lack of trust in food and drink. More companies have shared where their ingredients are sourced and how products are made on-pack, online or in ad campaigns. Curious consumers are willing to search for information, including more than one-third of Brazilian adults who have tried searching for information regarding products’ ingredient provenance via QR codes or websites based on Mintel research on healthy eating trends in Brazil. The demand for information extends to pets too, as three out of four US adults who purchase dog or cat food want to know the origin of pet food and treat ingredients according to Mintel US research on pet food.

Blockchain is one technological advancement that presents potential for brands and retailers to be transparent with consumers about every aspect of product manufacturing. French retail chain, Carrefour is leading the way with plans to expand its use of blockchain-based technology. Carrefour intends to offer production and processing information for own-label chicken, eggs, honey, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and beef by the end of 2018.

One-third of Brazilian adults choose a retailer for in-store purchases of food and drink because it offers promotions customized to their particular shopping habits.

Preferential Treatment

A new era in personalization is dawning due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping.

Personalization is quickly becoming a reality thanks to technology. Preferential Treatment observed the opportunity for retailers and brands to leverage customer data to provide savvy shoppers with custom recommendations of products and individually targeted promotions. Consumers across markets are interested in saving money on their commonly purchased items. One-third of Brazilian adults choose a retailer for in-store purchases of food and drink because it offers promotions and coupons customized to their particular shopping habits according to Mintel research on retail drivers in Brazil. In the US, less than half of US adults who are responsible for grocery shopping in their household would like promotions and coupons customized to their particular shopping habits according to Mintel US research on grocery retailing.

Innovative retailers including Alibaba and Amazon stand to learn more about the food and drink preferences of consumers as the companies expand from online sales and open brick and mortar stores. Alibaba’s Hema supermarkets in China and Amazon’s Amazon Go convenience stores in the US require in-store shoppers to use a mobile app to streamline in-store shopping. The app also has the potential to expand the amount of data collected on shoppers’ behaviors and purchases. Retailers and brands that harness the power of data to deliver customized incentives to consumers could be rewarded with consumer loyalty.

Science Fare

Technology is being used to engineer solutions for our stretched global food supply.

A technological revolution is also playing out in manufacturing as industry-leading companies develop solutions to replace traditional farms and factories with scientifically engineered ingredients and finished products. This new generation of high-tech food and drink can help reduce the escalating stress on the global food and drink supply chain. Sustainability is influencing some consumers to seek alternatives to standard animal sources of protein. According to Mintel research on meat alternatives in Canada, almost a quarter of adults who use meat alternatives use the products because of animal welfare concerns while one in five Canadians indicate environmental considerations.

In 2018, plant-based and lab-made meat, poultry and fish have attracted the most attention from media and investors, sparking curiosity among consumers. Lab-grown meat appeals to 28% of Thai, 25% of Indonesian and 19% of Australian internet users aged 16+ who live in major metropolitan areas. Companies are extending the range of products available such as plant-based seafood alternatives, such as Ocean Hugger Foods’ ahi tuna-like product made from tomatoes that is available in the US.

To find out how Mintel’s remaining two trend predictions fared over 2018, click here.