Innova identifies transparency as the top trend for 2021

13 Nov 2020

As 2020 prepares to turn to 2021, Innova Market Insights released its industry trend analysis for the upcoming year to help manufacturers align products with consumer demands in food and beverage.

The market research firm noted that while the pandemic has bolstered consumer focus on overall health and immunity, driving growth in foods and ingredients that support personal health, attention is now on the post-COVID landscape to explore how these new behaviors will shape the future of the food and beverage industry.

Innova identifies transparency as the top trend for 2021
Courtesy of Innova Market Insights

Many trends from last year will carry over into the new year, but there will be some, like transparency, that stand out as clear winners for consumers. In addition to transparency, Innova predicts that plant-based options; personalized nutrition; restaurant-branded products in retail; functional food supporting immune health, overall nutrition and mood; nostalgia-inducing products; offerings that fuse trends; and influencers will define the next year in food and beverage.

Plant-based choices and products that hybridize trends carry over from the firm’s 2020 trend analysis report where storytelling was identified as the number one trend for this year. Storytelling was defined as a strategy that companies can adopt to position ingredients within a cultural context, highlighting traditions, sourcing methodologies, and describing how ingredients are processed and put into packaging.

This trend seems to have only expanded over the course of the year and morphed into a call from consumers for even more transparency. Innova’s survey found six in ten global shoppers are interested in learning more about where foods come from and are pushing manufacturers to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands.

It is clear that consumers no longer just want to be feed for the sake of replenishing their energy. Now, choosing a food and beverage product comes with concerns about human and animal welfare as well as a search for feeling like a part of something bigger than simply a full stomach.

This trend toward transparency is one that has been growing. In 2018, Innova found that product launches with social and ethical claims jumped 20% from 2017. And consumers have responded well to manufacturers that are transparent about their practices. Nielsen found that nearly half of U.S. consumers will alter their purchasing choices to meet environmental standards and that 66% of millennials are willing to pay more for products that are sustainable.

Innova’s Director of Insights and Innovation Lu Ann Williams said that transparency will only become more important as brands look to bolster consumer confidence in the current and post-COVID climate.

Not only should brands be looking to transparency through labeling in order to provide consumers with confidence in the COVID era, but they should look toward integrating functionality into their products. From plant-based options to personalized nutrition plans that are shipped directly to consumers, Innova found that six out of ten people are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019.

Companies who combine these trends will undoubtedly capture the attention of consumers that are looking ever more for their food to provide more than just basic sustenance.

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