NATIONAL REPORT — No outlook on the coming year can be complete without a rundown of the consumer trends that are expected to have the greatest impact on food and beverage retailing in 2019. Consumers these days are a demanding and discerning bunch, making it imperative for convenience store retailers to stay on top of the latest trends so they can meet the needs of their customers.
To help the c-store industry anticipate what’s next, Convenience Store News has combed through multiple forecasts from leading research firms, consulting firms, technology firms and convenience channel suppliers. Here is our curated list of the top nine trends for 2019:
1. Replenishing With Purpose
Consumers want to get more out of their meals and thus are looking for functional foods that don't just satisfy their hunger, but also pack a nutritional punch, according to Culinary Visions Panel's 2019 Trend Forecast. Culinary Visions Panel is a food-focused insights and trends research practice that studies a wide range of culinary topics. Seventy-three percent of consumers surveyed say they enjoy eating superfoods that serve specific functional purposes. Whether providing a powerful protein boost or a healthy dose of antioxidants, consumers are setting high ingredient expectations for the foods and beverages they consume.
2. The Adventurous Consumer
The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable about other cultures, propelling them to move out of their comfort zones to explore bolder flavors and multisensory food experiences. Consumers are expanding their appetites to encompass global flavors and international ingredients. Targeting increasingly adventurous consumers, set on new discoveries and experiences, will be key in the food and beverage industries in 2019, according to Innova Market Insights' Top 10 Trends for 2019. The company maintains an extensive tracking system for new food and beverage product launches in more than 75 countries.
3. Cannabidiol Craze
2019 will mark the year when the cannabis plant extract cannabidiol (CBD) spreads throughout the food and beverage industries, according to KIND Healthy Snacks’ forecast of the top 10 food and nutrition trends for 2019. CBD's presence was seen in coffee, cocktails and even olive oil in 2018. This year, KIND anticipates that CBD will infiltrate other product categories including yogurts, soups, salad dressings and more. Imbibe, the beverage development company, also put CBD on its list of the top beverage trend predictions for 2019. CBD is said to aid with pain, nausea, seizures, anxiety and depression, which makes it an enticing functional ingredient. It’s also risqué in nature and that may add to its appeal, noted Imbibe.
4. Plant Power
The market for plant-based products shows no signs of slowing down. Plant-based product claims experienced a compound annual growth rate of 62 percent worldwide from 2013 to 2017, according to market researcher The NPD Group, and 86 percent of people buying plant-based products are meat-eaters. For many consumers, going plant-based is about achieving a healthy and sustainable balance between eating meat and vegetables. Manufacturers are increasingly "greening up" their product offerings to attract mainstream consumers who want to add more plant-based options into their diets. Further plant-based product innovation is expected in 2019 around nuts, extruded seeds, beans, water lentils and algae.