6 trends to impact the food industry in 2019
In 2019, both everything and nothing will be new in the food and beverage business. As the year unfolds, there are sure to be trendy products, major deals and paradigm-shifting innovations rocking the industry. But the major trend lines in the industry have all already started, and will continue to grow and develop this year.
- Cannabis: Both consumers and manufacturers have been buzzing about including cannabis in food and beverage in the last several years. And with President Trump’s signature on the 2018 Farm Bill, items made from the plants known for their psychoactive and relaxation qualities are getting closer to being a part of everyday grocery carts.
- Mergers and acquisitions: A busy 2018 in mergers and acquisitions could lead to a more subdued 2019 as Conagra Brands, General Mills, Campbell Soup and other big-name CPG companies digest recent multi-billion dollar deals. Food and beverage companies have been active acquirers in recent years in a bid to overhaul their portfolios to better reflect growing consumer interest in snacking and consumption of better-for-you fare, or to enter new faster-growing markets altogether.
- Functional foods: As consumers have grown increasingly concerned about what they eat and ever-rising medical costs become more prominent in an aging population, functional foods have taken a more prominent role in the diet. No longer a niche segment, the global functional foods and beverage market is anticipated to grow close to 8% annually through 2021, according to a report from Technavio.
- Better-for-you: Healthy, natural and better-for-you are terms and phrases that have dominated the food industry in recent years and forced CPG companies to evolve. Consumers’ healthier eating habits — especially millennials and Generation Z — are pushing Big Food to switch up their portfolios and consider swapping legacy brands for newer, healthier ones. That will likely continue to accelerate in 2019 as consumers pressure brands to keep up with changing tastes. Another strong motivator is the bump many companies saw to their bottom line in 2018 when shifting their strategy to healthier products.
- Plant-based meat: While traditional veggie burgers are still out there, manufacturers like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are making vegetarian products for meat eaters. These items are designed to give consumers another option that is more sustainable and healthier — without sacrificing the taste, feel and even look of meat.
- Sustainability: As sustainable business practices across the food and beverage industries become the norm, companies have begun to change their ways to gain a competitive edge and boost profits.