Amrin Walji
Amrin is a Senior Innovation Analyst who specialises in analysing trends driving product innovation and development across the food and drink industry.

In 2018, food must be as documentable as it is delicious. Flavour has long been the focus of innovation in the food and drink sector, but the rise of image-centric social media like Instagram is increasingly inspiring brands to focus on visually stimulating and shareable products. Brands are experimenting with vibrant colours, innovative shapes and multifaceted textures to make packaged products worthy of consumer praise and social media posts. There’s an opportunity to create products that engage more senses than just taste, be it through colour-changing special effects, by tapping into popular foodservice trends – like the ever-present smoothie bowls – or by creating a unique eating experience.

Looking at Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), we highlight 10 products launched across the world which would get all the likes on social media.

Sharish Blue Magic Gin (UK), launched as a special edition in summer 2017, it changes from a vibrant blueish purple hue to pink when tonic is added. Colour-changing effects can help a product attract attention online and on social media, especially if the drinks are mixed by, or in front of, on-premise consumers who can take photos or videos of the special effect.

Fjordland Litt Mat Smoothie Bowl with Mango, Pineapple, Banana, Ginger and Granola Topping (Norway) is designed for time-poor consumers. Smoothie bowls are extremely popular on Instagram, with influencers sharing their breakfast concoctions on a regular basis.

Hershey Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Summer Snow Cone Glitter Gum (US) adds an element of whimsy by incorporating edible glitter to make each piece of gum sparkle.

Wow Raspberry Activated Charcoal Drink (UK) is made with coconut shells transformed into activated charcoal and added to cold-pressed raspberry juice. The visual impact of black foods makes this especially Instagrammable!

Happy Cheeze Der Frische Spirulina Chili (Germany) is a vegan cheese alternative made with cashew nuts and spirulina micro algae, which gives the product an unusual blue hue. The addition of chilli gives this vegan cheese a kick.

Doritos Corn Chips with Chilies and Spices (Mexico) uses a unique packaging shape to introduce a new product. The pyramid-shaped bag opens horizontally to form an eat-from tray, making it the perfect snack to share with friends at parties.

Lolli & Pops Unicorn Bark (US) is described as mystical swirls of artisan white chocolate adorned with sprinkles and colourful sweetness.

Baackes & Heimes Unicorn Sliced Mild Gouda (Germany) features lactose-free slices of gouda cheese cut into a unicorn shape.

Arnott’s Tim Tam Chill Me! Iced Coffee Flavoured Biscuits (Australia) are inspired by Gelato Messina, who has been leading the gelato movement in Australia since 2002. They can be eaten at room temperature or chilled in the fridge, where the packaging will change colour when they’re ready.

Lidl Flamingo Shaped Chicken Nuggets with Curry and Sweet & Sour Dip (Austria) are made with seasoned, breaded and fried minced chicken meat. Flamingos are giving unicorns tough competition this year, with plenty of pink flamingo innovations popping up in the food and drink sector.