Consumer needs channel food and beverage trends. Businesses in the F&B industry, whether restaurants, stores, or manufacturers, are driven by reputation. This means the industry should consistently be attuned to the wants and needs of its consumers.
Consumers necessitate F&B business owners to ensure they cater to as many customers as possible. This is accomplished by aligning consumer needs with high-quality food and beverage market research.
Food market research involves several levels such as taste tests, complimentary samples, surveys, and more. These efforts are targeted to receive honest feedback about products and services. Feedback, in turn, allows companies and brands to evaluate how their product will be received by their target demographic.
How are Food Industry Innovators Meeting Consumer Needs?
The food industry is often the origin of innovation, frequently driven by necessity. With customers perpetually connected to the internet and growing more aware, brands and businesses must maintain transparency. It is no longer about adding the ingredient list. Consumers today need to know about various aspects of the food from source to table.
This means it is essential to answer the following:
- How and from where is the fresh produce sourced?
- How is the food prepared?
- What are the ingredients?
- Who is involved in the processing, and under what circumstances?
- How are they paid?
Transparency is now the best way to improve brand reach and maintain credibility while meeting food consumer needs. Food consumer needs will constantly evolve. The best way to understand them is through food and market research. The data generated will provide actionable insights into consumer behavior.
Must Read: The Future for New Alternative Protein
Food consumer research has shown that a major trend in the industry is sustainability. The global food waste management market size was estimated at US$34.22 billion in 2019 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2020 to 2027.
A significant portion of food goes to waste because consumers are unaware of how long the packaging has been open. Insignia Technologies has developed ‘Freshness Indicators’ to counter this problem. These are smart tags or color-changing indicators stuck outside the packaging that change color based on ambient temperature and time. This is based on an actual food consumer’s need to know how long a package has been open and if it is safe to consume.
Smart tags allow consumers only to discard food that is indicated as unsafe to eat. Additionally, the company develops color-changing smart pigments and inks which are incorporated into plastic films. This offers a tangible indicator of food freshness.
Additionally, several companies now offer to take back their packaging material using incentives like discounts or coupons. Alter Eco, a fair trade candy company, has launched compostable non-toxic candy wrappers. They aim to shift to no-plastic, completely compostable packaging by 2021.
Food market research shows that the preferred form of meat is slowly changing with more awareness around the carbon footprint of meat. As more people are making the switch to alternative protein sources, there is increased room for innovation. Brands and consumers alike are growing more aware of the environmental consequences of their actions. This has led to innovation in various steps of the manufacturing process.
An excellent alternative to animal and plant-based proteins is algae protein. Swiss startup Alver uses fermentation to produce vegan protein powder from golden Chlorella algae. With a neutral taste, high nutritional profile, and complementary to several recipes, they require less water and emit less carbon dioxide.
Agricultural waste can now be processed into high-protein products. Sweden-based Mycorena ferments organic waste, which is used as feed to cultivate edible fungi. The fermentation creates Promyc. Flavor and texture are the biggest hurdles, and mycorena produces a neutral-tasting, meat-like texture with high protein (60%) and fiber (12%) content.
Over the last few years, consumer needs have evolved to understand traditional cooking methods. This involves using native ingredients, traditional cookware, and cooking food with minimal processing and maximum nutritional value.
Food market research shows that several homegrown brands are focusing on cultivating unique, native ingredients from various countries. This allows them to benefit the local community directly and keep alive traditions [both agricultural and cooking] slowly fading. This food consumer trend of reviving culture and traditional practices is often seen as a direct response to overly processed foods.
Rumi Spice works with small-scale farmers in Afghanistan for flavorful, ethically sourced, and socially responsible spices. This supports the local community by providing jobs to several farmers and women to cultivate and harvest the spices. With arid regions aplenty, their climate is ideal for saffron. Rumi Spice states their saffron surpasses ISO standards by over 25%.
The Road Ahead
Food market research companies such as Spoonshot provide carefully curated market research to help businesses make sense of the many thousands of data points before them and create a product that clicks. This is achieved by working to predict innovation opportunities in the global F&B industry with confidence.
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