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.

Self-Fulfilling Practices

As more consumers find modern life to be hectic and stressful, flexible and balanced diets will become integral elements of self-care routines.

Many people who feel overwhelmed by the pace and contentious tones of modern life have turned to “self-care,” a broad term for behaviors and attitudes that aim to ensure one’s physical and emotional wellness. In terms of diet, self-care often equates with eating healthy most of the time, but allowing room for treats. The need for flexibility finds many people writing their own dietary rules, with almost two-thirds of US adults who are currently managing their weight and say they follow their own program or guidelines according to Mintel US research on weight management.

In terms of diet, self-care often equates with eating healthy most of the time, but allowing room for treats.

Personalization of diet allows for occasional treats, which often serve as emotional boosts or rewards. More than four in 10 UK adults consume unhealthy food or drink if they want to cheer themselves up, compared to less than four in 10 if they are rewarding themselves. Food and drink products can also provide self-care by giving consumers reasons to take a break during a hectic day. India’s Rage Chocolatier offers a line of Smart Bars that combine the traditional indulgence of chocolate with on-pack mazes, connect the dots, crossword or Soduku puzzles to encourage consumers to take a break.

New Sensations

Texture is the latest tool to engage the senses and deliver share-worthy experiences.

Creative use of texture is the latest opportunity for food and drink manufacturers to respond to consumers’ desires for food and drink experiences that are worthy of sharing on social media. Advancements in texture can help showcase the freshness or healthiness of a product. The addition of grains, seeds and fruit pulp is appearing more often across beverage categories. Austria’s Friya offers a Cucumber & Pear Superfood Drink with Basil Seeds, which add texture but are also said to curb appetite.

The texture of a product can also help food or drink align with specific occasions. Almost half of Chinese adults aged 20-49 who have consumed comfort foods and would choose comfort food with a crunchy texture according to Mintel research on attitudes towards comfort foods in China.

Texture is particularly important for indulgent categories. More than eight in 10 French adults who eat ice cream agree they like ice cream with ingredients that add different textures. In Japan, potato chip brand Chip Star collaborated with confectioner Fujiya to create chocolate chunks covered in sprinkles of Chip Star chips. Crossovers between snack categories are also appealing to Brazilians, with more than one-third of Brazilian adults indicating interest in cookies containing pieces of their favorite chocolate or sweets.

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