As we approach the midway point of the year, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the top food industry trends. With that, here are key findings from Trendincite’s recently-released Top 5 2022 Trends & Beyond report.
Digestive and gut health have been trending over the last decade, but especially in recent years.
“What is most interesting is that the Gut Feeling trend is overlapping with the Immune Health trend because our gut microbiome is linked with our immune system,” Amy Marks-McGee from Trendincite told The Food Institute.
A March Food Institute webinar explored how consumers are increasingly gravitating towards probiotics as a functional ingredient. Dr. Gregory Leyer, senior director of scientific affairs at Chr. Hansen, and Jordan Breslauer, vice president of data analytics & customer experience at Social Standards, said that health was the central motivation for taking probiotics, while gut health, digestive issues, and immunity typically dominate probiotic conversation online.
The report also notes the rise of mental health.
“The pandemic shifted the conversation [around mental health],” said Marks-McGee. “Now food and beverage brands are addressing mental health through products, partnerships, research, and services.”
As the issue is increasingly destigmatized, companies are seeing an opportunity to connect with consumers.
Marks-McGee recalled the example of Jeni’s Splendid Sunshine ice cream flavor, which launched in May during Mental Health Awareness Month as part of a movement to support children’s mental health.
“Phygital,” a hybrid of offline and online consumer engagement has been trending for several years and accelerated during the pandemic.
The report notes that consumers should “keep their eyes peeled for more tech-driven contactless solutions,” such as digital kiosks, food lockers, curbside pickup, and automatic dispensers.
“I’m intrigued and excited about the phygital solutions trend,” noted Marks-McGee. “Although there has been continued activity in convenient technology solutions that support consumers, I’m amazed at how quickly food and beverage brands have joined the metaverse.”
For more Food Institute coverage on food brands in the metaverse, click here.
Beauty and fashion brands are increasingly turning to food partnerships to lure in shoppers.
“The Food Is Fashionable trend addresses the sensory aspect of food and beverages and how brands are collaborating on fun and unexpected products,” said Marks-McGee. “Brands are taking inspiration from the smells of iconic food and beverages and translating them into scented products such as candles, fine fragrance, nail care, and cosmetics.”
For example, Shake Shack partnered with Apotheke on the Shake Shack x Apotheke Burger & Fries Duo, while Nails Inc. teamed up with Velveeta for the That’s La Dolce Velveeta cheese scented nail polish. Wingstop has even made a branded Air Jordans sneaker.
Consumers should also expect to see more inclusive packaging from food brands.
“I’m stunned at how long it has taken for consumer brands to focus on inclusive design and packaging that address the needs of individuals with disabilities,” said Marks-McGee. “It seems that the trend is gaining more traction in fashion. However, I think it is only a matter of time before food and beverage brands catch up and launch more inclusive packaging.”
Earlier this year, Kellogg’s partnered with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and Co-op supermarket in the U.K. to create cereal boxes to allow smartphones to detect and play back labeling information.
Canadian chocolatier Purdy’s also affixed a braille legend for its confections during the holiday season.