6 Trends That Will Shape Food & Beverage Growth In 2022


If you’re hoping for a fresh start in 2022, the ongoing pandemic will play a major role in shaping your food and beverage choices. Regardless of whether COVID-19 itself finally becomes a thing of the past.

Though the rise of these so-called ‘functional’ ingredients is still in its early stages, the proliferation of CBD-containing beauty products and supplements comes as no surprise to ingredient suppliers.

Nevertheless, plant-based meats are evolving into a variety of products that mirror traditional meat. With growing interest in ethical sourcing, sustainability, and local food, we’re looking forward to seeing what products emerge in the future.

Meanwhile, CPGs that are not only facing higher expenses. But also supply-chain disruptions will continue to see ongoing labor shortages disrupt their operations. Food Dive talked to industry experts and analyzed industry trends. Here are the six biggest trends that will affect beverage and food trends in 2022.

1. Gen Z gets ready to take over

Now, the newest buzzword is “millennial”, referring to people born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials have their own opinions and ways of approaching the world they live in.

Barb Stuckey, president, and chief innovation officer at Mattson, said the perspective of this generation is likely to drive business changes in the food industry.

“I think the Gen Z consumer will really dictate trends from the bottom up,” Stuckey said.

As one person who works with young readers around the globe has described them: “They have a generational stress on them because of what’s happening with the planet.”

According to a recent study, Generation Z holds $29 billion – $143 billion in buying power. Gen Zers said that the food they buy has the most influence on their spending. They pay the most attention to its background information, nutrition, and where it comes from.

Impossible Foods, Inc. is a plant-based meat maker that has been paying close attention to Gen Z’s opinions and behavior. A survey commissioned by the company discovered that kids were optimistic about their potential contributions to help stop global warming. After those kids read a statement about the impact animal agriculture has on climate change,

78% said it was important to do something to reduce the use of cows for food.

Stuckey said that these assets are often the most important for brands to display if they want to succeed in the luxury world. “These things matter,” said Stuckey, “and they will always matter.”

Sustainable Social Mission

Nowadays, many big companies are working to promote sustainable and social missions. This is why many food brands use local produce and avoid importing food from other states.

There are other companies that are breeding a new spin on old ideas, like AppHarvest with its massive greenhouse for indoor farming in Kentucky.

This is not too far from the population of more than two-thirds of the U.S and some are using technology to build chemically identical items to traditional commodities.

While companies like these are still working to scale up, it’s likely that in five years’ time, more traditional manufacturers and retailers will also be willing to work with them.

The pandemic taught everyone some important lessons about what happens when long and inflexible supply chains break, reinforcing consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from, and underlined the environmental footprint that such long and large scale supply chains leave behind.

Though some of these foods might seem odd to older, more traditional consumers, Stuckey said that Gen Z will help them succeed on the global market in both the short and long term.

2. Functional ingredients find new applications

As the importance of personal health becomes more important with so many people on medications, many CPGs are developing new ways to incorporate functional ingredients into their products by 2022.

Neil Saunders, managing director with Global Data, said “These products have been around for a while, but they’re now being viewed and consumed differently,”.

Also Read: Food and Beverage Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

3. Plant-based meat takes on new forms

Even though some publicly traded companies that make plant-based meat got dinged in recent earnings reports, analysts say the segment will continue to grow.

But even as it continues to rise in popularity and become a long-term trend, plant-based is changing.

4. Value returns

According to Gary Stibel, founder & CEO of New England Consulting Group, brand manufacturers are set to make a comeback in 2022. After being overtaken by private labels and value brands in the early 2000s.

According to the tracking firms, private label brands were hard hit by supply chain and transportation disruptions.

Consumers who have been working from home due to the pandemic also tend to be buying more premium goods. Reason being they haven’t been spending money on commuting or meals out.

It’s useful to note that while this entire statement remains true, it’s a lot more readable and digestible once rewritten.

5. Greens embrace the branded approach

Dole pineapples, Chiquita bananas, and Driscoll’s berries have given a branded facing to fruits and vegetables. While the greens section has been filled with nameless, generic perishables.

But more and more, producers are branding their lettuce. In order to tell the customer where it comes from, or to indicate they are environmentally friendly.

6. Labor continues to weigh on supply

Following a year where striking workers at Frito-Lay, Mondelēz, Kellogg, and other food CPGs were able to win better contracts. Labor has emerged emboldened by these successes in 2022.

This could lead to new rounds of contentious negotiations between companies and workers, as well as strikes.

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