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Innova Identifies top 10 food & bev trends set to drive innovation in 2021

21/10/20 – Trends / Consumers / Innovation / Insight / Transparency / Plant-based / Immunity / Innova

Innova Identifies top 10 food & bev trends set to drive innovation in 2021

Transparency emerges as a clear winner in Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2021, with brands upping their game to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands.


Food trend specialist Innova Market Insights has unveiled its annual Top Ten Trends report, offering manufacturers, retailers and brands with the latest insights to drive innovation and answer current consumer demands.

As Covid-19 transforms our shopping and eating habits, staying ahead of the curve and keeping on top of the changing and sophisticated food and beverage landscape is of paramount importance – and Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2021 provides an in-depth delve into how the food and beverage industry has evolved.

The pandemic has bolstered focus on overall health and immunity, with consumers seeking 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.

“Transparency throughout the supply chain will dominate in 2021, with consumers searching for brands that can build trust, provide authentic and credible products, and create shopper confidence in the current and post-COVID climate,” highlighted Lu Ann Williams, Director of Insights and Innovation at Innova Market Insights.


Register to attend the firm’s upcoming webinar here

With its top trends for 2021 in response to the ever-evolving and consumer-centric food and beverage industry, Innova Market Insights provides rich data to support brands in prompting a post-Covid revival or acceleration. The new trends for 2021 are:

1. Transparency triumphs

The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 reveals that 6 in 10 global consumers are interested in learning more about where foods come from. Transparency will dominate consumer demand in 2021. Increasing transparency to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands is key. Brands adopting and pairing new packaging technologies such as invisible barcodes and near-field communication technology with creative, meaningful storytelling will be successful. The consumer lifestyle trend toward cleaner living is broadening and heightening expectations around what constitutes a clean label. Aspects include human/animal welfare, supply chain transparency, plant-powered nutrition and sustainable sourcing.  

2. Plant-forward

As plant-based trends reach global phenomenon status, the ‘plant-based’ definition is ever evolving. Its rising mainstream appeal will drive expansion to different regions and categories in 2021, including accelerated demand for new formats, plant proteins and more sophisticated alternatives. Propelled by sustainability and animal welfare concerns, lab-grown foods have the potential to disrupt the industry by mainstreaming the use of new technologies. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 indicated that the top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives were health, diet variety, sustainability and taste. As consumers are powering up on plant protein, opportunities and challenges relating to regional consumer preferences and sustainability expectations are attracting attention.

3. Tailored to fit

Personalised nutrition will be in the spotlight in 2021 as consumers look for food and beverage options that fit their unique lifestyles. Consumers expect a tailored approach to eating, with technological breakthroughs, constant new launches and exciting sensorial experiences providing the opportunity for customised lifestyles to extend to food and beverage consumption. Sophisticated, personalised nutrition advice on functional foods is still expensive, but the emergence of tech platforms allows for comparable customer service via automation. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 showed that 64 per cent of global consumers have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual style, beliefs and needs. 

4. New omnichannel eating

As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. Consumers are seeking convenience, richer experiences and accessible indulgence. Traditional hospitality is getting edged out, particularly with Covid-19 giving consumers more time to stay at home and sharpen their own culinary prowess. Increased home cooking is driving the use of convenient meal kits/starters and more sophisticated ingredients, resulting in new food experiences. The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 found that 46 per cent of consumers believe restaurant-branded products are a convenient way to attain the restaurant experience and flavours at home. Along with restaurant delivery growing, consumers can now directly access many speciality products that were previously only accessible via foodservice.

5. In-tune with immune

Ongoing anxiety stemming from Covid-19 will encourage consumers to prioritise their immune health into 2021. According to the Innova Consumer Survey 2020, 6 out of 10 global consumers 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. Immunity-boosting ingredients will play a significant role in the coming year, while research and interest in the role of the microbiome and personalised nutrition as ways to strengthen immunity will accelerate. 

Push for better transparency, immunity and technology

Other entries in the Top 10 Trends are: ‘Nutrition hacking’, ‘Mood: The next occasion’; Product mash-ups: When trends collide’; Modern nostalgia; and the ‘Age of the Influencer’. 

“The ever-evolving food and beverage industry has seen a significant consumer push for transparency throughout the supply chain, immunity-boosting products and the use of technology. 2021 is a huge year for opportunities and innovation that meet these needs,” shares Lu Ann Williams. 

“Based on our latest Innova Consumer Survey 2020 and database findings, our Top Trends for 2021 reveal the latest need-to-know insights to enable brands to grow, innovate and lead in the food and beverage industry.” 

On Wednesday, 11 November 2020 at 4pm CET/10am EST, Lu Ann Williams will present the Top Ten Trends for 2021 that will impact the food and beverage industry over the coming year and beyond. Register to attend our upcoming webinar here

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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