For the food and beverage industry, the consumer mandate is all-encompassing. From the time when demand was largely defined by the ‘taste factor’, we have come a long way ahead. Today’s highly evolved and discerning consumers are on the lookout for not just taste, but nutritional value, environmental impact, and ethical concerns to name a few. 2021 food trends have therefore been ruled by consumer needs that have undergone rampant change owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Let us examine the top 5 ways in which consumer needs have driven the industry in 2021:-
Fortified Food and Beverage Products are in High Demand
The pandemic has brought about far-reaching changes in purchase behaviour. An interesting fact to note is that consumers today are far more receptive to processed food and drinks fortified with vitamins and minerals. These products have gained a sizable chunk of the market share that was previously reserved for pharma-based supplements. So the innate consumer need for strong immunity and wellness has directly manifested into vitamin C-enriched drinks, Vitamin B Complex-fortified cereals, and so on.
Health, Ethical, and Sustainability Labels are of Paramount Importance
Before the pandemic, only a select group of customers paid attention to food labels. But data-driven insights on 2021 food ingredients, packaged foods, and drinks indicate otherwise. What was a fringe demand yesterday has transformed into a mass requirement today. More than ever before, consumers want to opt for labels such as:-
Price versus Sustainability
A decade earlier, the consumer preference for a lower-priced, non-sustainable product vis-à-vis a higher-priced, sustainable product was a no-brainer. An average consumer would invariably opt for the former without question. Today, the situation is quite different. If we consider 2021 food and beverage trends, a significant number of the environmentally-conscious populace is happy to spend a little more on any food or beverage product that has firmly ingrained sustainable practices such as the use of renewable energy sources, recyclable packaging material, and more.
Visual Appeal is at an all-time high
Social media has fundamentally redefined our lives. For most of us, how we eat, drink, socialize, travel, shop, and work is controlled by Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Even in the latest food and drink trends, the resurgence in the demand for click-worthy foods has largely been driven by social media. So colorful baked goods, attractively-garnished drinks, and other visually-appealing foods are highly coveted by consumers. This trend is especially common amongst the millennials who are more tech-savvy and spend a lot of time uploading food and beverage pictures galore.
Meat Substitutes are being consumed with much fervor
There was rampant hesitation when the first mock meats were introduced around two decades ago. the taste, flavor, and price were not up to the mark, which put off consumers. Amongst the top 2021 food and beverage trends, the popularity of plant-based meats is noteworthy. Its cause can be attributed to cutting-edge technology like 3D-food printing that has remarkably improved the taste, texture, and flavor of mock meat products. Coupled with the modern-day, eco-conscious consumer, this zone is a goldmine for upcoming food and beverage brands!
The newfound sophistication in consumer demand is only going to increase in the coming years. With comprehensive data analysis, food and beverage companies can anticipate these demands and cater to them suitably. A data-driven approach that was largely reserved for the tech industry earlier is now helping new-age food and beverage start-ups to make their mark and break even within a short period.
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