The market is constantly changing, with new trends rising and falling as businesses try to entice new customers while retaining the brand loyalty of their established base. Clear lessons will lead forward from 2017 however, and new technologies offer new brands the chance to enter the market and established products to explore new venues and adapt to a changing consumer base.

The ever-popular millennial market is likely to continue to be a driving force for brands both new and old but broader trends across the industry can also be seen to be coming fully into play this year.

Global Trends 2018: Mintel’s five key predictions

In their Global Food and Drink Trends 2018 report, Mintel identified five key trends likely to impact the market over the coming year: transparency, self-fulfilling practices, new sensations, personalisation and developing technological solutions. From a point of business responsibility, transparency is the most important as an increased use of natural, as well as ethical and environmental claims, has become prominent as manufacturers attempt to reassurance customers of the safety and trustworthiness of their food. From a consumer point of view however, it is likely to be a push to offer novelty and adapt to the changing demand for healthier options that will be at the forefront.

Mintel Global Food and Drink analyst Jenny Zegler said: “In 2018, Mintel foresees opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to help consumers regain trust in food and drink and to relieve stress through balanced diets, as well as memorable eating and drinking experiences. There also is an exciting new chapter dawning in which technology will help brands and retailers forge more personalised connections with shoppers, while enterprising companies are using scientific engineering to create an exciting new generation of sustainable food and drink.”

Changing lifestyles: mindful millennials

The push for adaptation to changing lifestyles is likely to play a major role, particularly given its intersection with the millennial market. As alcohol alternatives gain popularity and a broader desire to eat and drink healthy continues to gain momentum, brands are likely to continue to place emphasis on the health qualities of their product while introducing new products focused on catering to these alternative markets. Expect technological disruption to play a big part in this as emerging areas such as cultured and synthetic drinks allow companies to produce drinks that may be inherently more nutritious or pure.

Tranquini founder Ahmed Elafifi predicts, “What we are going to see in 2018 is a shake-up of the functional drinks category. Currently it is dominated by energy drinks and enhanced waters, but there are certainly new lifestyle areas to be exploited. Could there be a swing away from anti-energy for example given the ever-growing mindfulness economy?

“To add to this, the clean living, millennial generation are also looking at ways to de-stress naturally, without the side-effects or drowsiness of alcohol. And with initiatives such as Dry January and Stoptober gaining popularity, 2018 will see new soft drinks emerge for the growing ‘sober curious’ consumer.”