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The top 10 food trends 2024 for food and beverages from Innova

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The food and beverage industry is always evolving. Each year brings new trends and innovations that shape our diets. For 2024, Innova Market Insights has identified the top 10 trends through extensive consumer research and market analysis. In this article, we explore these trends and their impact on the global industry.

Every year, Innova Market Insights develops the top ten trends for the coming 12 months through extensive consumer research and market analysis. In our article, you can find out which trends will take center stage in 2024 and how they will influence the global food and beverage industry.

Trend #1 – Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight

Our first top food trend  focuses on companies leveraging positive consumer attitudes towards key ingredients by promoting a product’s star element. Global consumer research shows an increasing interest in ingredients. For example, one in three consumers globally say that they always look at ingredients of interest on product packs. When asked about which ingredient is most important to them, protein was chosen most often, by 42% of consumers.

Companies are helping consumers navigate the multitude of product choices with storytelling and visual cues. Many brands now include narrative driven descriptions of ingredients and sourcing on the back of their products, alongside visual cues such as artistic renditions of almond flour or pasture raised eggs, to help drive home their star ingredients.

Trend #2 – Nurturing Nature

In our  second top food trend , consumers say companies have more responsibility for the environment than just sustainability, requiring actions that make a positive difference to nature protection. When asked about what they would like to see companies do to help environmental causes, the number one choice was nature protection.

Companies are taking notice of these consumer demands. Between 2020 and 2023, there has been a 37% increase in growth of food and beverage with a forest protection-related claim, and a 40% increase in products with a water-usage claim.

Companies are also leveraging more sustainable farming practices when producing their products. Agrobiodiversity (crop diversification for planetary health and food security) is on the rise, with companies such as Bayer betting on crop gene editing to “survive and thrive amid climate uncertainty.

Trend #3 – Prioritizing Prevention

The next top food trend is predicated on consumers taking positive action to prevent health concerns before they arise, driving them to products that meet their personal wellbeing needs. More than one in three consumers claim to be proactive in preventing health issues. More specifically, they see weight management, heart health, and bone and joint health as their most important physical health concerns. Products can already be seen on the market addressing these concerns, such as Beeza Peanut Butter claiming to help with weight management and improve heart health.

Consumers are also showing interest in healthy aging, with more than one in three globally stating that weight management and observing a balanced diet are the most important steps for healthy aging.

Trend #4 – Plant Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings

This  top food trend sees plant-based  products working their way into well-known dishes and formats, offering familiarity and clarity to consumers who are keen to embrace plant-based products. Half of consumers globally say that familiar culinary formats are important for them when buying plant-based products.

When looking at the most popular formats for plant-based foods, fingerfoods and ready-made meals are seeing growth in the past three years. Fingerfoods is the format where consumers are most open to trying plant-based meat and poultry products, while ready meals are not far behind.

Trend #5 – Local Goes Global

Our fifth top food trend is based on local ingredients, as well as authentic and adventurous foreign dishes spreading across the globe. Products advertising ingredients sourced locally, as well as dishes deemed foreign and authentic are growing in popularity.

Two in three consumers globally say that they are open to trying new global cuisines. African cuisine products have seen a rise of 13% in the past five years, and East Asian cuisine products have risen 5%.

Consumers are also concerned with choosing products that use local ingredients, with more than half of them stating that they actively look for them. Additionally, honesty and transparency of ingredients was chosen most often by consumers as the most important value relating to their diet.

Trend #6 – Home Kitchen Heroes

In our  sixth top food trend , the home has become an alternative venue for enhanced social occasions that fit changed lifestyles and budgetary realities. 43% of consumers stated that they have eaten more at home in the past twelve months, while only 15% state that they ate out more. Additionally, value for money and health benefits are seen by most consumers as the most important aspects when eating at home.

Consumers are also more likely to experiment when cooking at home. When asked when they are most likely to experiment in terms of flavor, home cooking was by far the number one choice, said by three in five consumers.

Trend #7 – Indulging in Health

This top food trend follows the enmeshment of health and indulgence, whereby health brands are moving into indulgence, while comforting treats are coming with added health benefits.

More than half of consumers globally say that they are willing to compromise on indulgence for healthier food. Consumers want the best of both aspects, seeking health benefits through indulgent formats. Alongside this, there has been a 14% increase in indulgent products with active health claims over the past five years.

Using some products as examples, Loacker Quadratini Chocolate Wafers come with claims of less sugar, no sweeteners, added flavorings, and colors, as well as made with chicory root fiber. Joya Chocolate comes with functional benefit claims of increases the body’s resistance to stress, helps maintain healthy immune function, rich in antioxidants, packed in nutrients, and low in sugar.

Trend #8 – Oceans of Possibilities

Our  eighth top food trend  tracks how the seas are developing into the farms of the future, providing inspiration alongside new, environmentally positive ingredient sources.

The oceans are increasingly being looked at as untapped potential for sustainable ingredients. Ingredients such as kelp and spirulina are growing in popularity, and between 2020 and 2023, new food and beverage launches containing microalgae grew by 42%.

Seafood products are also demonstrating their sustainability through claims such as “sustainably sourced,” and complying with terms set by ocean focused organizations such as MSC or Friend of the Sea to use their sustainability labels on products.

Trend #9 – H2.O: Quenching the Future

This  top food trend  addresses the added health benefits and exciting endorsements leading the way in carving out a strong future for hydration products.

Soft drink and sports nutrition launches with a hydration-related claim have risen by 10% over the last three years. Claims such as 9-stage ultra purified, ionically charged, electrolytes for taste, and pH9.5+ alkaline water can be seen on water-based sports drinks, exhibiting their added health benefits. Products with functional health claims, such as Core Hydration+, boasting unique benefits like skin health, are pushing the category forward.

Trend #10 – Minimizing the Noise

Our final top food trend discusses how open and straightforward communication appeals to consumers who want an escape from information overload. Amidst all the claims, labels, and other information that comes with food and beverage products, many consumers feel overwhelmed, and want simplification.

When asked about the information consumers would like to see simplified on packaging, the top four were brand overview, shelf-life, product storytelling, and  sustainability  info.

One of the major points of confusion with labeling for consumers is how to deal with greenwashing. Half of consumers are concerned about greenwashing, but also just over half of consumers cannot recognize if a company is greenwashing. Simplification of environmental claims can help minimize this problem and create a more streamlined and understandable purchasing experience.

What’s Next in Top Food Trends?

As each of our top trends develop throughout the year, brands should look out for different ways each trend may shift towards adapting consumer desires.

For “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight,” protein is currently the most important ingredient for consumers, but as protein sources continue to develop and improve, consumers may quickly shift their focus towards other ingredients, with protein becoming easier to access.

In “Prioritizing Prevention,” each demographic shows specific health interests. As the generations age, and new ones take their place, there will be a continually shifting desire for the types of beneficial health benefits on products.

In “Indulging in Health,” there may be a difficult line to cross regarding healthy ingredients, and indulgent tasting treats. At a certain point, companies may struggle to create increasingly healthier indulgent products without sacrificing too much on flavor and texture.  Consumer interest  in combining health with indulgence may also begin to wane over time, with healthy benefits coming from a multitude of other products on the market.