Food Trends To Watch in 2011

April 21, 2011
Food and beverage innovation will continue to run broad and deep, with convenience remaining an unexpected, yet secondary attribute of most successful new products.
When it comes to food and beverage innovation other key influencers include:Self-Driven Health & Wellness – Early in the recession, consumers put a 21st Century spin on the adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Eating to prevent and manage common ailments became widespread. Innovation around health and wellness is prevalent, and consumers enthusiastically receive these new products to achieve their wellness goals. Demand for healthier-for-you products will continue to proliferate in the next several years. CPG manufacturers will continue to invest significant amounts of time and money in these products.Experiential Eating – Wellness goals notwithstanding, consumers view eating and drinking as an opportunity for fun and excitement. Bold new flavors, forms and textures bring added pleasure. From restaurant-quality meals to unexpected flavor and/or texture combinations, eating with a twist has really caught on. In the coming months, at-home and from-home eating will remain pervasive. CPG manufacturers have the opportunity to bring excitement to the home, building share, margin and goodwill along the way.Gluten-Free – Once a small niche, gluten-free has exploded during the past several years. Packaged Facts projects U.S. retail sales will reach more than $5 billion by 2015, driven by a sharp increase of celiac disease and intolerances to gluten.Sustainability – CPG companies have invested time, money and effort into reducing their environmental footprint. Facilities have been redesigned to use more natural resources, and packaging has been re-evaluated for opportunities to reduce/reuse/recycle. Fleets have been retrofitted with more efficient and/or hybrid engines, and products have been reformulated to contain more sustainable/natural/organic ingredients. Consumers are taking notice. When making brand decisions, one in three indicates environmentally friendly/ethically produced products is important. In the coming months and years, marketers should focus on sustainability as an opportunity to build/fortify consumer relationships.