The Adventurous Consumer – F&B Industry in 2019

As the world gets increasingly connected though the web, it becomes smaller and smaller in a way. We are at the age of technological boom and are ever so close to creating something as big as, if not bigger, than the internet itself. Aside of the technological advances, what are the implications of increased connectivity between one side of the earth to the other? Blending cultures, converging thought processes and hence, matching needs and desires.

Of all the consequences, a few are of utmost importance to the food and beverage manufacturers particularly. The blending cultures ensures ‘westernization’ and ‘easternization’ of diets. A young boy from India prefers Mac’n’Cheese while a young girl from USA prefers Chicken Tikka Masala. Times are changing.

Innova Market Insights identifies itself as the ‘Food Intelligence People’ and has compiled a comprehensive report about the trends for the F&B industry for 2018. It is the elephant in the room for the F&B companies as the report postulates important trends portrayed by the consumers of 2018. It serves as a mild warning for well established F&B companies as well as opens up a world of opportunities for F&B start-ups.

As part of the report, IMI elucidates on the top 10 trends for 2019 as follows:

10. Bountiful Choice

According to a consumer survey conducted in Brazil, Germany and the United States the percentage of people that think a new flavour is a deciding factor increased significantly in just two years, between 2015 and 2017. The new consumer is looking for a variety of choices within the same product and the only way of achieving a differentiated offer of a single product is by meeting the consumers’ demands around flavour, nutrition (functionality) and visual appeal (packaging). The way in 2019 is to go beyond the signature products and their signature flavours.

9. Ocean Garden

As the vegan culture sets in, most meat eaters are looking for milder forms of meat to perhaps make them feel less guilty about consuming the traditional meat from cows, goats and pigs. Apart from the most obvious form of milder meat, chicken, one in two consumers in the US and UK are considering fish to be an alternative to meat. The current global seafood sales is about €400 billion and is only set to increase in 2019 and forward.

‘Sea-lami’ is an alternative to the pork version salami that is gaining popularity. Sea vegetables including algae, dulse, kelp, kombu, wakame, arame, nori, Irish moss are enjoying a massive surge in the F&B market launches today compared to 2013. Sea ingredients are being used across various product categories such as crisps, noodles, muesli, jam and even water.

8. From Snacks to Mini Meals

This is an interesting trend because the consumers are looking for indulging in something wholesome. It is hence imperative to differentiate between indulgence and wholesomeness. Indulgence is a consequence of quick craving and hence can be attributed to small portions of snacks. Wholesomeness usually refers to getting enough nutrition from a healthy square meal. This trend implies that the new consumers want to indulge in something as small as a snack but get from it, what one gets from a healthy wholesome meal. Enter mini-meal, a hybrid version of a snack and meal – usually a small portion of a healthy meal.

Studies have found that food cravings increases as the day goes on. To cater to that, the market has been responding very well to products that are called snacks but made of fruit and vegetables in small portions. From 2013 to 2017, there has been a 13% increase of product launches of fruits and vegetables with a ‘snack’ claim. Meat snack is also gaining popularity. ‘Peperami Tex-Mex Bunch of 5S’ claims to make that ‘HANGRY’ feeling disappear and it is made of 100% pork (and gluten-free).

7. Dining Out, In

The definition of ‘foodservice’ keeps getting skewed by the year. 2019 will be the year when the new consumer would want to dine at home with food of a premium restaurant quality. The consumer is taking up the role as a service provider with concepts such as hobby chefs opening up their own homes for an intimate dining experience. Food service is meeting retail in a unique way as cafes and diners are popping up as in-store concepts. Ready meals are another important consequence of this trend, and Millennials and Gen-Z are especially willing to pay more for a good quality ready meal. Concepts that boast ‘healthy’ are being met with success in the market irrespective of the type of offer.

6. Say it with Colour

Visual appeal stands in the front of strategies to market F&B products, especially with the advent of social media and smart phones. Studies show that in countries like Mexico, US, Canada, Spain and Netherlands, one in ten consumers are influenced by social media to purchase F&B products and in India and China, the number is one in five.

A unique combination of colour attributed with health is also gaining traction. Product launches of bottles containing health drinks with dashing colours are on the rise.

5. Beyond the Coffeehouse

Coffee is being incorporated as a flavour in almost anything and everything. Though this trend has only just begun, incorporation of coffee as a flavour offers endless possibilities. One in two consumers from US, UK and Australia want more fusion of flavours in their beverages. The applications of coffee and tea across various F&B categories has significantly increased between 2013 and 2017 and will continue to rise. Brands as big as Coca-Cola are following the trend and have launched a new product of Cola blended with coffee.

Brands like Twix, m&m, KitKat, Hoegaarden and Oreo have also come up with products with tea or coffee incorporated in them.

4. Going Full Circle

As the awareness around pollution, plastic waste and food waste is on the rise, it is having a clear impact on the buying behaviour of the new consumers. The number of F&B product launches featuring ethical product packaging has increased close to 10 fold from 2013 to 2017 and it will continue to accelerate. The potential for ‘planet-friendly’ foods will also increase in 2019 and it can be attributed to the fact that the number of F&B product launches with ‘bio-degradable’ and/or ‘Carbon Footprint Reduction’ has increased steadily between 2013 and 2017. Consumers are more likely to buy products that include upcycling, no-waste and bio packaged products.

In the diary industry too, the new consumers are more and more inclined towards plant based alternatives. In a study done in 2017 with consumers from the US and UK, close to half the respondents agreed that plant based milk/yogurt is more sustainable compared to cow based milk/yogurt. In conclusion, the market is tending more and more towards a ‘cleaner earth’.

3. Positively Processed

Old techniques of food processing and raw ingredients are now considered to be ‘premium’ for better health. Cold pressing, cold brewing are some of the methods of processing that are regaining popularity.

Distilled drinks are slowly replacing alcohol as they promise to be crafted with over 20 natural ingredients including green fruit juices and filtered through silver birch charcoal and steam-distilled botanicals including apple, citrus peel and oak tincture. Similar trends are observed in new products such as ‘barrel aged cocoa tea’ and ‘unique and ethnic yogurt’.

2. Lighter Enjoyment

The new consumer does not want to be extremely full or extremely drunk or extremely hit by flavours. Just as the portion size is reducing according to one of the previous trends, so is the content of alcohol or flavours in a certain drink. Between 2013 and 2017, there has been a 50% increase in the product launches of alcoh9olic beverages with less than 0.5% alcohol. Light flavoured alcoholic beverages are also gaining popularity as there is an 18% global growth of flavoured beer launches between 2013 and 2017.

Indulgent products with a ‘thin’ claim is making the new consumer feel less guilty about consuming the same. The number of bakery launches featuring a ‘thin’ claim has increased close to 60% between 2013 and 2017. Mild flavoured water is also gaining a lot of traction in the market.

1. Mindful choices

Mindful choices refer to the responsible food choices that new consumer has started making. Not only does it contribute in peace of mind but also ensures good health. According to a study conducted in the UK in 2017, 4 out of 10 respondents admitted that they have increased their consumption of ‘healthy’ foods. High degree of awareness has set on meat eating and the culture of ‘vegan-ism’ is spreading.

The new consumers want to be completely aware and understand what they are consuming as attributed by a study that found 7 out of 10 consumers in UK and US wanted a deep understanding of what they ate to have a balanced health choice. The consumers also want to have a peace of mind while making a positive impact upon making a choice. The industry is hence looking to meet the ethical demands of the new consumer in 2019.

 

All these trends mean that the focus of the food & beverage companies must change slightly if not much. Since the consumer wants to be completely aware of all the stages of production of F&B products, it is imperative for companies to employ the best in class facilities and methods of production. The vital aspect of maintaining the best in class facilities and methods of production includes incorporating extremely high levels of hygiene to maintain product quality. This applies especially to products that have limited shelf life. Maintaining a clean work environment and pasteurizing appropriate food products are a must.

Sinteco manufactures machinery that ensures the best in class working environment and product/process hygiene. From Air Handling Units, Air Distribution Systems, Clean Rooms and solid food pasteurizers, Sinteco aims to be an end to end problem solver for its clients.

If you are a F&B establishment looking to understand more about these trends and what you can do to combat the potential tantrums the market can throw in 2019, or if you just want to have a chat with us regarding the contents of this article, get in touch with us now!

Cleanroom Tech

There has been a lot of buzz in the Cleanroom industry regarding design and aesthetics. While the traditional narrative says that a Cleanroom must solely serve specific technical purposes, there is a new narrative that emphasises on innovative ways by which the previously mentioned technical purposes could be served in the best way, leading to the best results possible.

Any manufacturing company, regardless of what it produces, must maintain a highly controlled environment that is free from any contaminants to ensure maximum product integrity. Up until now, clean rooms have been regarded as highly controlled working environments with restricted access where one can only enter with a sophisticated space suit of sorts. Personnel inside Cleanroom usually work lengthy shifts and are often deprived of natural resources like ambient air, ambient light and sometimes even ambient noise for long periods of time. Cleanrooms are generally coloured white or grey on the inside.

Because of the above reasons, Cleanrooms are often labelled as ‘dull’ and ‘boring’ and in turn, the number of specialists working inside Cleanrooms are decreasing at an alarming rate. More emphasis must hence be placed on counteracting the lack of specialists. Human resource takes centre stage and while trying to identify new ways to retain Cleanroom personnel, one needs to discover innovative ways to make the usually monotonous work inside cleanrooms bearable.

Enter design and aesthetics. ReinraumAkademie (Leipzig, Germany), one of the proponents of the latter narrative mentioned in the first paragraph, organises a yearly conference and push the agenda for Cleanroom sector to open its eyes and start to incorporate colours and designs inside Cleanrooms. In their yearly conference cleanzone, ReinraumAkademie also presents two awards for Cleanroom manufacturers. One for Cleanroom solutions on innovation, sustainability and energy efficiency and one for creativity inside Cleanrooms.

“Cleanrooms as main working spaces of staff require an aesthetic upgrade” says Franck Duvernell of Reinraum Akademie. It helps to understand the positive impact design and aesthetics may have on personnel working inside the Cleanrooms. For instance, if the walls are painted in different colours, it may help create/set a mood for working. Neuroscience studies have shown that different colours trigger different kind of emotions in the subconscious mind. Yellow stands for freshness, optimism and motivation; red stands for aggression; blue stands for satisfaction, harmony and equilibrium; and green stands for assertiveness and perseverance. Any piece of art (abstract or concrete) made with the combination of the four mentioned colours may create a more relaxed mood for the personnel to work and can also help reduce error rates, sickness rates and process fluctuations.

Additionally, to combat the issues of Cleanroom personnel not being exposed to ambient light, Human Centric Lighting must be considered. Light is essential for humans not only to perform visual tasks but also to facilitate healthy daily rhythm (light acts as a vital time reference for our biological clocks).

Research in this area is slowly picking up speed. One more interesting theories to ponder upon will be music inside the Cleanrooms. Though there is literature online suggesting music/sound should never be a part of a Cleanroom environment, the reasons they give are rather weak – personnel working inside maybe unable to hear alarms that may be triggered outside, personnel must concentrate on the work and not on music, music may trigger particulate matter (contaminants) inside the Cleanroom environment. The author of this article believes that only engineering and research stands in between making music, design and aesthetics inside Cleanrooms, a reality.

Want to have a chat with us about the latest in Cleanroom technology or know more? Get in touch!