- On May 17, 2021
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- 2021trends, businessleaders, CEO, consumertrends, ecommerce, foodandbeverage
Food and Beverage Trends: Beyond Consumer Tastebuds
The latest fad diets, viral recipes (looking at you, TikTok feta pasta), and even current events all contribute to the rapidly shifting trends in the food and beverage industry. Business leaders need to keep up with the latest “cravings” to develop new products that consumers will respond to and make sure production levels match up with demand.
The need to keep up with product trends is obvious to business leaders across the board. But what about shifts in how consumers select, purchase, and receive these goods? In 2020, COVID-19 shook up every industry in a way that no one was prepared for. An astounding 85% of consumers have made changes to the way they prepare and consume food due to the COVID-19 pandemic (1). The food industry was no exception. Suddenly, foodservice was shut down, and food manufacturers and distributors needed to find a way to sell their products directly to consumers. This reshaped the way consumers purchased and selected food products, and these new preferences will remain throughout 2021.
Comfort in Convenience
Amid uncertainty and disruption in their daily routines, consumers craved comfort and convenience when it comes to their food purchases. The food delivery service industry grew 20% in the past year and sales for meal kit services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh are up 68.4% (2). Furthermore, frozen food sales are seeing huge spikes, climbing nearly 20% (4). Meal kits and frozen meals can be difficult to produce and distribute. Most manufactured food products only require simple recipes with a few raw ingredients. However, full meals require multiple ingredients and cross-contamination and other complications become more of a threat. Technology that allows for simplified material requirements planning (MRP) helps streamline the production of these types of goods. Storage methods are also a greater concern for ready-made meals, which need to be refrigerated properly to ensure safety and freshness. Optimizing your route planning and inventory management helps you to avoid ingredient and product spoilage, which may result in production waste or costly recalls.
Grocery e-commerce also saw a huge boom as consumers preferred the safety and convenience of having food delivered directly to their doorstep. E-commerce now accounts for 10-15% of total grocery spend (3). This method of purchasing is only going to continue its growth pattern in the years to come and companies with the proper tools to integrate their operations with their e-commerce and omnichannel selling methods are primed for success.
Evidently, business leaders need to implement tools to give consumers more food consumers trends convenience purchasing options, and ready-made food options. To stand out in 2021’s crowded food and beverage marketplace, it is imperative to address not only product trends but behavioral trends as well. Business planning technology can help not only identify trends based on past purchases but also help to implement new processes that help cater to these trends in a way that is cost-efficient.