The food and beverage industry has faced significant challenges in the last few years. Infrastructures from supply chains to labor were hit hard by Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the energy and climate crises.
Despite these challenges, companies are strategically working to stay profitable, competitive, and meet market demands.
Going into 2023, we see food and beverage trends that developed in recent years continuing to gain momentum—with some interesting new twists. Let’s take a look at the trends that will have a significant effect on the industry this year.
4 key food and beverage trends for 2023
The good news is that consumers are still spending, and though perhaps counterintuitive, they’re often willing to pay a premium to get what they want. The catch? Consumers are prioritizing products and services that align with their personal values and lifestyle.
1. Value-based Spending
Inflation combined with stagnant wages in 2022 changed the way consumers are spending. However, rather than spending less or choosing cheaper options, consumers are focusing on intentional spending—being deliberate and mindful in purchasing decisions.
Consumers want to perceive value in their purchases, and there are many ways companies can demonstrate this.
Convenience is a huge value to many busy consumers. For example, purchasing food and groceries online for pickup or delivery exploded during the pandemic out of necessity but became the new normal as we returned to pre-pandemic routines. Going cashless with seamless payment options like tap-to-pay and ApplePay offers convenience for both consumers and businesses.
Consumers are also interested in easy but exciting meal prep options that work with their schedules and skill levels. Meal prep kits designed for kids are also getting attention as a great way to bond as a family and teach healthy habits.
2. Sustainability & Transparency
Consumers are looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact, and they’re scrutinizing their purchasing and consumption habits. They want to know where and how their food was sourced and produced.
This has fed the rapidly growing interest in local and indigenous foods and food systems. Sales of Heritage meats and ethical poultry are also on the rise.
Additionally, research findings show that 34% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are generated by food systems. Companies investing in sustainable products and processes that minimize energy and material usage will win out in the eyes of consumers. Steady, incremental change can yield big results.
Companies can also improve messaging in branding and marketing (including labels) to be more transparent about their sustainability practices and company values.
Interest in healthy foods is always trending, but exactly what that looks like for consumers is always evolving.
A slew of healthier drink options is entering the market to meet growing demand, including pre- and pro-biotics, fermented drinks, tonics, and CBD-infused beverages. Low-alcohol and non-alcoholic options are also continuing to grow in popularity.
The nostalgia and “mood foods” trends (think mac-n-cheese, pizza, TV dinners) are also continuing but with a healthy makeover. Options include plant-based alternatives, non-dairy and/or gluten-free alternatives, and natural sweeteners.
Don’t forget Fido. We all want to care for the health and longevity of our furry, feathered, or scaled companions. Pet owners expect pet food and supplements with transparent, quality ingredients.
The “foodie” narrative has expanded, and more consumers are now interested in experimenting with new foods and flavors. Global dishes and ingredients, especially from Indian, Asian, and Native American cultures are more popular than ever.
Some specific ingredients and flavors that are stepping into the spotlight include:
- Tinned fish
- Koji and other umami flavors
- Artisanal butter
- Yaupon-infused beverages
Online influencers and TikTok creators are also helping drive trends, such as mushroom coffee (marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional coffee). Their experimentation with uses for leftover nut, soy, and oat pulp seems to have inspired some companies to do the same—upcycling these by-products to create new products such as alternative flours, baking mixes, and ready-to-eat sweets.
Invest in research and innovation
There are some exciting new trends on the horizon for 2023, and smart companies are looking for strategic ways to incorporate them into their business models. Investing in research and development and looking out for innovative new ideas will help you stay a step ahead of the competition.
At Curtis Food Recruiters, our industry insights, research, and access to a network of diverse executive talent gives you a market advantage. Our goal and guarantee is to find you the right candidate for your job. If you need C-suite executives and senior level talent who can contribute to your R&D goals and nurture an environment of innovation within your organization, contact Curtis Food Recruiters today.