Research group, Mintel just announced four key trends that will shape the global food and drink industries in 2023 over the next five years, and they center around space, climate change, mental performance and the overwhelmed consumer:

  1. Weatherproofed provisions: Consumers are in need of food and drink formulations that help them endure heat waves, sub-zero temperatures and disastrous weather events. Adaption and resourcefulness are top of mind as brands innovate to help consumers deal with the harsh effects of the planet’s more dangerous weather. From polar vortexes to heat waves, consumers will look for products that help their bodies withstand the varying temperature extremes. Food and drink innovations will offer easy-to-use nutrition during catastrophic floods and other weather-related disasters. The demand for energy savings in 2023 will drive a newfound appreciation for the benefits of having energy-efficient food and drink on hand during extreme weather. Stronger UV rays will create demand for functional foods and drinks with skin health benefits, while shelf-stable formats will be the norm to cope with supply chain issues. Brands will innovate emergency food and drink for special diets, children, and the elderly.
  2. Staying sharp: Consumers are demanding formulations that will help them optimize their mental performance at work, home, and play. They seek food and drink that influence cognitive capacity, manage stress levels, and optimize brain function. Expect to see brands promoting the brain boosts available from familiar energizing ingredients, such as plant-based ingredients like fruits, vegetables and legumes and caffeine. New research and patents related to gut-brain will create opportunities to highlight how the digestive health benefits of pro-, pre- and post-biotics support cognitive health.

    New research for gut-brain will create opportunities to highlight the pro-, pre-, and post-biotics’ support for cognitive health. (Photo: Gutxy)

  3. Cosmic comforts: Space will become a source of optimism, innovation, and connection. Centering around escapism, the food and drink market will draw inspiration from space-inspired technologies and earthly innovations from space travel findings. The undiscovered novelty of outer space is likely to win over Gen Z. Brands should also consider the inspirational role space will have in Gen Alpha’s lives. New technologies, including resource-efficient agriculture and powdered protein, will come to light, giving food and drink brands a wider variety of space-inspired themes. Astronauts require food and drink solutions that can facilitate multi-year missions into deep space and these breakthroughs will prove useful on Earth.

    Consumers expect clear and simple communication, especially on food packs. (Photo: Laura James)

  1. Minimalist messaging: Clear and simple communication will be essential to connect with fatigued consumers. Communication will be streamlined to essential selling points as consumers seek brands that focus on their advantages on pack, and save the storytelling for websites, social media, and marketing. Products with clean designs that highlight natural ingredients and key health benefits will satisfy shoppers who are looking to escape information overload. Over the next decade, expect to see consumers rely on more virtual solutions to inspire, educate, and affirm their purchases. Brands will share information on e-Commerce sites to ensure their stories and benefits reach consumers who rely on their smart assistants, smart refrigerators, and eventually curated shops in the metaverse to filter out items that do not meet their pre-set preferences.