Jennifer Zegler
Jenny Zegler is an Associate Director of 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 launched its 2019 Global Food & Drink Trends. The three trends predicted an emerging circular view of sustainability, an increasing need for food and drink that keep pace with our busy lifestyles, and that healthy ageing will become a new consideration in people’s diets. As Mintel gets ready to take a 10-year-out forecast with the 2030 Global Food & Drink Trends, we revisit the 2019 Global Food & Drink Trends to see how each of the three predictions evolved in the past year.

Evergreen Consumption

A circular view of sustainability that spans the entire product lifecycle requires action from suppliers to consumers.

Company action and consumer understanding of sustainability has broadened to encompass the entire product lifecycle. This circular definition of sustainability requires efforts from food and drink suppliers, manufacturers and consumers to create and support sustainable products and avoid conspicuous consumption. In the past year, global food and drink manufacturers have made more commitments and shared more details with consumers. Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD) shows that on-pack use of ethical and environmental claims has risen in global food and drink launches from December 2015 to November 2019.

Packaging continues to retain the focus of ethical and environmental claims. The leading ethical and environmental claims made by global food and drink launches are environmentally friendly packaging and recycling claims. Improving recycling motivated the American Beverage Association and its members; The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper to form the “Every Bottle Back” joint venture in 2019 with the goal of improving access and processing of plastic bottle recycling in the US.

In the past year, global food and drink manufacturers have made more commitments and shared more details with consumers.

Responsible use and disposal of plastics is a top sustainability concern for consumers and companies. In the UK, two-thirds of adults have made efforts to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they bought in the year to February 2019. Companies also are taking action: Nestlé will use paper instead of plastic straws for packaged drinks in Indonesia and Malaysia, Mondelēz used upcycled plastic to build school playgrounds in the Philippines and Dutch retailer Spar and French company Aoste are the latest European companies to exchange plastic for recyclable cardboard for some food packaging.

The circular approach to sustainability noted by ‘Evergreen Consumption’ includes more than just packaging. For example, nearly two in five German and Italian internet users agree sustainable sourcing is a benefit of food and drink that motivates purchase. Consumer interest in sustainable sourcing has inspired some brands to creatively use “upcycled” ingredients such as beer made with breakfast cereals like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and “wine waters” made with antioxidant-rich grape skins.

In 2020 and beyond, consumers will continue to want to know more stories about corporate sustainability commitments. We have already seen increased interest in farmers and animal welfare, education about regenerative agricultural practices, and responsible energy use. In addition, nearly half of Chinese adults would be encouraged to purchase food and drink that claims to reduce the pollutants used during production processes.

To find out how Mintel’s remaining two trend predictions fared over 2019, check out part two.