It’s called a food revolution or food empowerment movement for good reason. We’re finally standing up to big brands and demanding transparency on our labels. We want cleaner ingredients and more innovative alternatives that fit our lifestyle and tap into the magnificent resources Mother Earth has to offer. We want clean convenience and healthy, on-the-go alternatives. Not too much to ask, right!? So, let’s dive in and unbox some of the hottest new trends hitting shelves now.
What Consumers Want
- More plant-based protein alternatives
- More, clean, on-the-go, snack options
- More flour alternatives
- More non-dairy yogurt alternatives
- Less sugar
- Less carbs
- More fiber
- More healthy fats
Plant-based Protein Alternatives
We certainly saw a massive spike in vegan meat alternatives in 2019, not only in grocery aisles, but also on restaurant and fast food menus nationwide thanks to Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger. However, not everyone is looking to mirror the experience of eating meat in a vegan-friendly way. Consumers are looking for clean, plant-based protein alternatives that go beyond soy. Look for the use of nuts, seeds, beans, hemp and more to provide protein gusto in 2020.
On-The-Go Snack Options
Fact, the U.S. is snack happy. The snack category is seeing explosive growth as brands look to provide cleaner, healthier, lower sugar, higher protein options that go beyond shelf-stable options. Many clean label, grab-and-go options are popping up in the refrigerated section from boiled egg packs like Peckish to hummus packs like Blue Moose of Boulder. Fresh, nut and cheese packs are on the rise and the ready-to-drink sector is really stacking up with higher protein, clean label meal replacement options for those who need to consume on-the-go.
The rising demand for more gluten-free flour alternatives made this category a hot topic in years past but innovation continues as consumers look for more high-density nutrition to amp up their cooking. Consumers are also looking for lower carb flour alternatives so brands are constantly innovating to keep up with consumer demand. Enter, cauliflower, the unassuming veggie that grew to celebrity status in 2019. From pizza crusts to gnocchi to tater tots to, yep, you guessed it, flour. Keep your eyes peeled in 2020 as cool, new alternatives hit shelves.
Non-Dairy Yogurt Alternatives
The non-dairy alternatives movement is here to stay and has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. From non-dairy milk alternatives to coffee creamers to cheese to yogurts, consumers want more. More plant-based options that are higher in protein and lower in sugar. However, the evolution of yogurt has been a bit slower to catch up. Califia Farms is getting into the drinkable yogurt category, Kite Hill is working hard to make almond milk yogurt more mainstream and Coconut Cult is taking on the premium, coconut-based alternative. However, in my option, there is still significant room for improvement as consumers look for a more mainstream, non-dairy, Greek-style alternative that is lower in sugar and higher in protein. Chobani, has introduced oat milk and less-sugar dairy yogurt but certainly more innovation is on the horizon from them and many others.
Less Sugar, Less Carbs, More Fiber, More Healthy Fats
The rise in popularity in Keto-friendly foods is off-the-charts. Brands are hopping on the keto train to offer consumers innovative product options to meet growing demands. Even if you’re not following a ketogenic diet, consuming keto-friendly foods can offer a healthier alternative to your normal go-to options. You’ll also find your body is more nourished and satisfied when given foods that are lower in sugar and carbs and higher in fiber and healthy fats. You will likely snack less, and those unstoppable sugar cravings will curb. In summary, I don’t see Keto going away any time soon.
There’s certainly a LOT to look forward to with regard to new product innovation in 2020. And, all hail this new food empowerment movement! Transparency is key and top priority is meeting consumer’s needs by providing clean eats in every single food category that exists. Living a healthy lifestyle has officially gone viral.
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