Trend spotting

A successful trade fair season has drawn to a close. 2022 was a special year after the corona-related break: in addition to familiar faces, new contacts, and personal conversations, I note, particularly at the last trade fair of the year – Food Ingredients Europe – the focus turned to helping brands navigate the year ahead, knowing full well there’s a slowdown coming,

Food Ingredients Europe 2022 presented numerous innovations and inspired national and international trade experts, interested visitors and exhibitors equally over three days at the exhibition centre in Paris. A varied selection of exhibits, interesting forums, special exhibitions and conferences drew a positive response.

True to its motto ‘where food moves forward’, exhibitors presented the latest technology developments from various branches of the ingredients sector: ingredients and applications, solutions and finished products, and new and emerging technologies spanning the food and drink industry.

Up to the challenge
At a time of numerous challenges, the onus is falling on brands to prove their value to consumers, which in turn means industry has to prove their value and understand purchase behaviour in addition to trends to protect market share.

As Mintel points out in its latest analysis of trends, the lesson from previous recessions is that value does not mean price, but rather is the “perceived worth in monetary units of the set of economic, functional, and psychological benefits received by the customer in exchange for the price paid for the product or service provided”.

Brands took the opportunity to highlight health benefits with the following themes figuring strongly – clean label/traceability, nutrition, functionality, and sustainability. The latter is now firmly at the top of the agenda and brands have taken to it so much they are driving the sustainability agenda.

How brands own this responsibility with evolving consumers that are becoming more knowledgeable and hardened, given economic challenges and the climate, will be an area of considerable viewing. Personally, as sustainability comes closer to home, with noticeably higher temperatures and impacts on food and drink shopping, it’s hard not to have an increased sense of personal vulnerability.

Providing greater transparency around sustainability could be key to achieving change. Though, to do this, everyone along the supply chain needs to play their part in assessing sustainability and making products even more sustainable. Food ingredients are a great start. Plant-based food featured strongly at Food Ingredients Europe and in its own way is nudging forward sustainability.

Merry Christmas!!

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Food and Drink Technology