2020 has been a year like no other for the food and beverage industry, and observers believe that the pandemic will be at the center of many changes we can expect to see implemented this year. Some trends were starting to materialize before the pandemic as well, and we can expect customers’ attitudes to keep changing. Let’s take a look at what some experts had to say about the state of the industry in 2021.
It’s undeniable that veganism is at its peak right now. There has been a 500% jump in the number of people who identify as vegans in the US from 2014 to 2020. Brad McKay, former CEO of a food service that supplied the healthcare industry stated that he expects red meat to be only a tiny proportion of the meat consumed 30 years from now. He also expects the consumption of traditional meat to dwindle with the arrival of cell-based options.
More Emphasis on Food Security
We can also expect companies to pay more attention to food safety and the safety of their employees. We cannot expect pandemics to stop, and much of the design of food manufacturing facilities will be made with this possibility in mind.
Companies are also taking more steps to protect the health of their employees, especially when it comes to air quality. Suspended dust is one of the most common food and beverage vacuum issues, and there is increasing regulatory pressure to keep dust levels, especially when it comes to things like silica dust, under certain levels. Air quality will be at the forefront of food operations for years to come, and in manufacturing as a whole.
Todays’s consumers are more health-conscious than ever, and it is influencing their purchasing decisions at every level. But what we’re seeing is a move towards more personalization. According to Chiang Liu from Innova Market Insights, much of this has to do with technology that allows customers to be presented with a quasi-infinite number of personalized nutrition options.
Another thing we should see more of is a trend towards mood and immune boosters. Supplements are seeing a boom at the moment, and have been somewhat legitimized by many health experts during the pandemic. Don’t be surprised if you see ingredients like l-theanine and adaptogens appearing on labels.
Brad McKay also had a theory as to why there will continue to be a move towards better eating. According to him, the aging of the population will be a major factor. While younger generations are also more health-conscious than ever, it’s people in the 40s and up that are driving much of the demand in that sector according to him. He also stated that more people will be concerned about where their food comes from as part of this general trend.
While 2020 was a year of disruption, we can expect 2021 to be a year of adaptation. We still don’t know what the year has in store, but we should see a lot of these trends solidify.