Ten of the most interesting food and drink trends for 2019

Today’s consumers expect food and beverage experiences to be healthy, sustainable, customised and convenient. Taking a deeper look at the current food and drink trends by Natalie O’Brien.

Once seen as a point of difference for a brand and dining experience, today organic, natural and sustainable attributes are entry-level expectations and no longer regarded as premium. As health and wellbeing awareness are predicted to grow, businesses should consider how these trends interplay with their current offerings. In this article Natalie will share her favourite top ten food and drink trends.

Urban farming for fresh picking

Vertical farms are increasingly found in urban areas. Supermarkets are experimenting with pick-your-own vegetables grown in store – the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands recently launched a “Help-yourself Herb Garden” in store. 1

In Australia, agri start up Farmwall has launched small-scale vertical farms –growing fresh produce indoors in a beautifully designed natural ecosystem, thus allowing the chef or home cook to pick foods as needed, for immediate use.

Vegan meals for the masses

Vegan food is crossing into the mainstream, popping up on the menus of popular restaurants and fast-food chains. In New York businesses are leveraging this trend with to-go vegan dishes, packed in reusable jars and available online.

In many cases products are no longer marketed as vegan, they are simply great flavours and healthy ingredients designed to appeal to health-conscious and eco-friendly consumers.

Recently I heard Hungry Jack’s advertising soy-based burgers. We know something is mainstream when food chains are catching on!

Food as medicine

Longer lifespans present opportunities for the food and drink industry to create products that help people look and feel young.  

We see on breakfast menus and supermarket shelves products like grains linked with goji berries, paprika with anti-ageing benefits, and drinking yogurt enriched with calcium and vitamin D for bone, muscle and immune system health.

Food and drink products can help people of all ages improve their bone, joint, and brain health, as well as proactively address other age-related health concerns. 2 2.

Food meets mood and mindfulness

As consumers begin to appreciate the effect of diet on mood and overall health, food and drink brands are updating their products and services to look beyond mere sustenance.

A British airline, Monarch, has introduced a mood-enhancing menu to create a calmer in-flight experience. The Mood Food box features echinacea and liquorice icecream to boost immunity, green tea and lavender cakes to improve relaxation, and herbal tea to reduce bloating.

In a similar vein, a late-night London bar has developed mood-boosting cocktails, each named for the feeling it supposedly induces, including Happiness, Focus or Relax. Who doesn’t want one of those? Consumers will increasingly expect brands to deliver products that don’t just taste good but make you feel good. 3

Tea Totalism is on the rise

Detox drink company Dirty Lemon opened a non-alcoholic pop-up bar in New York. The space, themed to look like a vintage drugstore, sells wellness elixirs containing ingredients such as collagen and activated charcoal. The brand worked with local mixologists to develop an experience that feels more like a nightclub than a wellness centre. 3

In Australia, in all age brackets except one coffee surpasses tea as the most popular beverage. The exception is those aged 14-17, who are more likely to drink tea than coffee, providing an opportunity for tea businesses to build on-going loyalty in this demographic. 4

With awareness of specialty tea increasing new opportunities are being created in the hospitality space. As well as focusing on improving their tea menus, dedicated tea cafes are appearing. From Sydney’s The Rabbit Hole to Sonder Dessert in Brisbane, these cafes are presenting tea to new markets.

Replacing wine with water

As consumers continue to look for the next beverage promising glowing skin or improved mental acuity, water brands are also upping their offerings to capture a share of the market.

U.S. company Napa Hills is another brand looking to capitalise on the shift, with wine waters. This vineyard-enriched water – a mix of fruit-flavored water (a blend of extracts of red grape skin and red wine) is said to offer the same antioxidants as a glass of red wine. The wine waters are calorie free with low sugar, and flavours include Cherry Rose, Lemon Chardonnay and Peach Grigio,with a Pinot Berry variant. 5

Healthy baking – we’re trying!

A new generation of bakers is re-popularising bread, taking it in a healthier direction. Personally, I am very happy that bread is back in vogue. Despite gluten-free notations on every menu, wellness-focused consumers are expressing an appetite for getting baked goods back in their diet.

Technological apps for food data

Artificial intelligence (AI) points to a future of effortless transparency when it comes to the food on our plate. Pic2 Recipe is an APP that recognises meals and predicts their recipes. In the future, the website could also provide nutritional advice by identifying the dish’s ingredients. “It could allow people to analyse their meals and determine their nutritional value, or even to manipulate an existing recipe to be healthier or to conform to certain dietary restrictions.

Pinterest similarly announced a dish recognition feature to improve the user experience for foodies. The feature has been called “Shazam for food” and uses machine learning in a similar way to Pic2Recipe. AI will become commonplace in the food and drink industry, enabling consumers to simply point their phones and discover all the facts about their food. 6 66

The premium preferences of today’s consumers are advancing demand for more natural, nutritious, or customisable products that help people keep pace with busy schedules without sacrificing their health goals or curiosity for new ingredients, flavours or formats. This creates an opening for more premium convenience packaged products designed for this food-obsessed generation.

Automated convenience stores present new ‘fast’ food options

Leading the way for enhanced expectations of convenience food and drink are new automated convenience stores, such as Amazon Go in the U.S. or JD.ID X-mart in Indonesia.

These fully automated stores use mobile apps and cameras that virtually track purchases without the need to queue for checkout, making the retail experience almost as fast and as seamless as fast food, drive through, or ordering for delivery.

Sustainable practises now an expectation, not nice-to-have

More and more consumers are making purchasing decisions based not only on what is good for the body and mind but what is good for the planet. This approach will require companies, retailers, and consumers to embrace their roles in sustainable sourcing, production, distribution and consumption. Consumers will help ensure that sustainability extends from farm to retailer to fork to bin and, ideally, to regenerate as a new plant, ingredient, product or package. 7

Like nutrition, sustainability will become an expectation for companies to offer consumers into the future. It should be remembered the best experiences are consistent across all facets of the customer interface, not only what’s on the plate or in the glass: the visual, sounds, textures, and aromas of the space, coupled with genuine hospitality, makes for experiences that surprise, delight and satisfy the customer in a fast-changing environment.

Global trends together with localised customer data can inform the development of an effective customer experience strategy. View our services, or better contact Director Natalie O’Brien for a free consultation.

1.  Mintel – Global Food and Drink Trends 2019

2.  JWT Intelligence – The Future 100 Trends & Changes to watch 2018

3.   www.teavision.com.au

4.   JWT Intelligence – The Future 100 Trends & Changes to watch 2019

5.  JWT Intelligence – The Future 100 Trends & Changes to watch 2018

6.   Mintel – Global Food and Drink Trends 2019

7.   Mintel – Global Food and Drink Trends 2019