18th December, 2019| News

Matt McAuliffe is our head of Product Development & Inspiration and has guest written our blog post looking at the trends we saw in 2019.

With competition for new products increasingly more fierce and consumers becoming more informed, it’s more important than ever to understand what consumers really want. Whether this is listening to people chat on the train, seeing what’s trending on instagram, reading the trade press or analysing consumer sales data we really try to drill down to the heart of the consumer.

We think it will be a necessity for products to tick all three boxes for maximum consumer success

Our NPD and insight team are becoming increasingly intertwined and one informs the other.  Throughout the year our teams have visited a number of external trend and foresight events such as the recent launch of the Future Laboratories food trends report or Future Food Tech.   We also run our very own Winterbotham Darby Animal Health & Welfare conference which provides a useful platform to present research and network with industry specialists.

Despite our wide product category span, from olives and antipasti to continental meats and now plant-based, what we have seen is that there are three trends which aren’t going anywhere. The new triple certification! We think it will be a necessity for products to tick all three of those boxes for maximum consumer success.

  1.Health

The focus continues to shift from dieting to nutrition. What was once the preserve of the medical industry and sports science, optimal nutrition is now widely available. We expect to see this and digestive wellness really come to the fore. Also watch out for helpful boosts, helping hands that will enhance your feel good factor, from sleep to mood.

2.Sustainability

Consumers increasingly see eating as a social and environmental act. Expect to see a growing interest in regenerative agriculture; where improving soil health, fertility and the ecosystem are key. Packaging recyclability and how you manage your waste will become hygiene factors to doing business in 2020.

3.Transparency

Levels of distrust have never been higher and consumers are looking for sanctuary when shopping in this time of huge upheaval. Being able to authenticate and show off the story of your supply chain will become imperative. Our own focus on animal welfare and agronomy will only accelerate in 2020.

But what else can you expect to see more of in 2020?

Fermented

Just as we’ve got used to the 3 Ks (keffir, kombucha and kimchi) along come another two in koji and kvass! Our appreciation of the benefits of fermented foods from both a taste and health perspective will continue to grow. At the same time our understanding of the science behind the gut brain axis and how it influences human behaviour will start to be unravelled. With 50+ companies currently raising capital to further research this field expect to see some interesting innovation.

We’re really excited about our latest brand – Vadasz – with 4 fermented products.

Vadasz brand - pickles and ferments

Next generation protein

Pioneering new plant proteins, which better mimic animal products in taste, texture and nutritional profile will be key in encouraging consumers to break free from the tradition of meat eating. With many consumers not getting the nutrition they need it is essential that generation 3.0 and 4.0 of these products are clean label and nutritionally balanced. Tempeh, could well be the answer with a clean ingredients deck, it’s fermented and high in fibre!

Watch out for more from us in 2020, from our Squeaky Bean brand.

Squeaky bean - wildly delicious plants

Agriculture in residence

As infrastructure for urban farming gains a foothold, the ingredients of the future may be grown in our own homes. This will not only tap into a more conscious form of convenience, but also stands to make the way we source certain foods more sociable. As a backlash to our convenience addiction expect to see a rise in the ‘kindred diners’ placing an increased importance in bringing people and communities together over a plate of delicious food!

Agriculture in residence - Ikea