12 Breakout Food and Beverage Trends to Watch in 2023
December 8, 2022
While pandemic-related lockdowns negatively impacted various industries, many consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands experienced welcomed revenue boons, driven by direct-to-consumer shopping and a period of consumer culinary exploration associated with, well, having not much else to do.
The fallout has caught up, however. Inflation, soaring ingredient costs, supply chain headaches, and a deep reduction in funding have all created challenges for food and beverage brands to both manufacture and supply product while continuing to drive sales.
We don’t anticipate an immediate slowdown in this period of volatility, but we do advise brands to prepare themselves for a swift recovery as issues begin to resolve. The good news is that innovation continues to thrive and there are a number of industry trends that we see continuing to evolve in 2023. Here’s our take:
- Union of Science and Nutrition – As manufacturers work to produce more sustainable options for consumers, we’ll continue to see more and more innovation leveraging revolutionary technology such as artificial intelligence and cell-cultured meat. Primarily driven by a desire to provide meat and meat-alternatives that are better for the planet, the industry’s main hurdles are breaking through a mainstream consumer’s reluctance to try food generated by people who’ve spent more time in a lab than a farm and dealing with the challenges of pushing products with short shelf lives. But as we’ve seen in the past, early adopters can move the needle and give these new options a place on store shelves.
- Plant-Based… Plants – We’re seeing a number of young brands eschewing new technologies and creating convenient plant-based options that make veggies the hero. From plant-based pastas, to vibrant, nutrition packed veggie burgers to lots of bean-based items, it doesn’t need to bleed to lead.
- Alt Sugars and Lower Sugar Options – Not necessarily a new trend, but we’ll continue to see alternatives to heavily sweetened food and beverage options as consumers are not wavering on their quests to reduce sugar. Jerkies, cereals, snacks, confections and more will continue to innovate with low or no sugar options.
- Maturity of Plant-Based – It’s so secret that the plant-based meat industry has faced adversity this year, in large part because of the tremendous volume of new players as well as consumers added scrutiny of ingredients panels and sustainability claims. We’ll see the industry do more to police itself and mature in terms of consumer offerings that “meat” all the needs of plant-based shoppers.
- Unexpected Collaborations – Last year saw some incredibly fun and unexpected brand collabs – either as LTOs or permanent offerings – and we’re excited to see what 2023 brings. From drinkable Cheetos to cosmetics and consumable mashups, the PR value is worth it’s weight in R & D.
- Upcycled Foods – As food waste grows as a global issue, we’ve seen a growing number of brands leveraging upcycled ingredients to give them a second life instead of landing them in a landfill. This is a trend that has staying power and we’ll continue to see innovation within upcycled food products.
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages – For the non-drinkers and sober curious, the options available to enjoy a zero-proof bevvie continue to grow. The movement itself has seen tremendous growth and the beverage industry heard the call. From beer to wine to cocktails and mixers, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a dedicated space in the alcohol aisle.
- Global Flavors at Home – From sauces to shelf stable to frozen, we’re seeing more and more options that give consumers the ability to create and enjoy global flavors at home within cuisines that may have felt accessible only at restaurants. As consumers continue their culinary travels via the grocery store aisles, we’re going to see a lot more delicious and convenient choices.
- Planet-friendl(ier) Packaging – We’re excited to see continued development in better-for-the-planet packaging. Going beyond recyclable, we’ll see more compostable packaging, plant-based options, paper-based and more.
- Innovation in Dairy-Free – More brands are popping up every day making dairy alternatives out of the most intriguing ingredients, and while some consumers are still on the fence about alt-meats, alt dairy products have a significant widespread appeal. We’ll continue to see more options in this area.
- Climatarian Diets – More and more consumers have devoted themselves to eating for both the health of their bodies and the environment. We’ll see more brands articulating the positive planetary impacts associated with the growing, manufacturing, and processing of their foods so that consumers can make even stronger conscious eating choices.
- Regenerative Agriculture – Brands are responding to consumer demand for planetary consciousness by elevating their regenerative agriculture practices or farming techniques rooted in promoting the health of our soil and overall ecosystems. We’ll see more brands adopting these processes in the years to come.