The predictions were shaped by in-depth conversations with more than 60 of Mintel’s global analysts to gain a comprehensive perspective on the momentum and forecast for drink in 2017 and beyond.
Thanks to the rapid pace of change, the unpredictability of current events and contentious political environments in many countries, consumers are heading to the safety of products that are recognisable rather than revolutionary.
However, Mintel’s Food & Drink Trends 2017 report stated that the trust in familiar doesn’t eliminate the need for innovation but emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration.
Heritage is a trend that has been seen across the trade and Mintel’s report echoes this, having stated the ongoing consumer interest in a product’s narrative – preferably one that reflects reality – was explored in one of Mintel’s 2016 Global Food & Drink Trends reports.
It also said this move to the past will also lead to innovations that use the familiar as a basis for something that’s new but recognisable.
Aspirations for healthier and cleaner lifestyles have motivated consumers to prioritise fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals.
In response to this, more manufacturers have released or promoted formulations that centre on plants and the flavours, fortifications and functionalities they can add to drink products.
The momentum began in 2016 as plants gained top billing in product names and marketing, such as the European launch of Evian Fruits & Plants flavoured waters.
This year, the priority for plants will drive an acceleration in new products and marketing that casts plants in the starring role, according to Mintel.
Plant-based innovations provide new directions for existing products or categories, as is the case with botanical-based, non-alcoholic distilled spirit Seedlip.
Rise in launches
According to Mintel Global New Products Database, the number of global food and drink launches on-the-go increased by 54% between September 2010 to August 2011 and September 2015 to August 2016.
The global research company also found that a small segment of consumers already take efficiency to new heights by using so-called ‘biohacking’ products such as nutrition drink Huel.
With many consumers seeking functional food and drink, night-focused innovations can go beyond herbal teas and be more plentiful and unique.
More products can leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs in formulations as a way to achieve a sense of calm before bedtime.