At the beginning of each year, food industry professionals are waiting for food forecasts to find out what are the main trends of the moment. Innova Market Insights, DigitalFoodLab, and Ivanti have unveiled the major trends that the food industry expects to mark this year.
Let’s take a look at some food processing trends.
Food Processing Trends
1. Increasingly Responsible Consumers
“Manufacturers must therefore be more and more transparent in order to gain the trust of consumers: this is how their products can be favorably evaluated by consumers who condition their food choices to their impact on the climate,” emphasizes Innova Market.
According to Innova Market Insights, which revealed its key trends for 2022, health and environmental issues continue to drive consumer choices. Consumers are now demanding transparent and zero-waste approaches. With environmental protection being one of the two main reasons for consumers’ attraction to plant-based alternatives, sustainability is at the top of the Innova Market Insights trends for 2022.
“Consumers have a sense of shared responsibility with brands on this issue. While it may not be the primary reason for purchase for all, it can be a deciding factor for many,” explains Lu Ann Williams of Innova Market. Manufacturers must therefore be more and more transparent in order to gain the trust of consumers: this is how their products can be favorably evaluated by consumers who condition their food processing choices on their impact on the climate. Here are the top food processing trends listed.
2. Functionality and Authenticity, Drivers of Innovation
Innova Market Insights also identifies functionality and authenticity as two drivers of innovation in food processing 2022. Consumers are demanding that their food be fresh, flavorful, and nutritious.
Local products are just one part of the solution. Consumers increasingly appreciate the benefits of local products.
3. Redefinition of Valuation
The rise of environmental preservation issues goes hand in hand with the growth in demand for products from the circular economy. Innova Market Insights’ “Redefining Recovery” trend highlights the role of products that use ingredients typically considered waste. According to the latest research, 35% of consumers worldwide believe that products containing recycled or recovered ingredients are more valuable.
4. A Divergence in the Offers
Today, most have the same product and meal offerings. “Small players and giants alike can try to differentiate themselves by deviating from the standard,” DigitalFoodLab believes.
5. Investments for the Food of the Future
DigitalFoodLab predicts that the shift in investment to infrastructure will go further in 2022 with more money for B2B companies building the food processing architecture of the future, including in large vertical farms, new texturing technologies that will help solve the challenges of plant-based bioreactor alternatives and growth companies providing the tools to make fermentation and cell farming work.
6. More Food Brand Development
Food brands should continue to grow according to DigitalFoodLab: “D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) launched around beverages (no or little alcohol, coffee) or supplements, more and more heat-and-eat meal kits and finally some
major acquisitions by large companies (especially in the plant sector and everything related to the link between food processing trends and health).
7. More Mega-Transactions
“In 2022, we can expect to see a lot more mega deals (50+ million euro investments) as investments increase in infrastructure, growing brands, and new trends,” DigitalFoodLab believes.
On the other side of the investment funnel, we are watching with great interest as more deals are closed by business angels. “These groups of informed investors somehow threaten the role of early-stage venture capital. We expect some of them to become professional and famous in the coming year.”
8. Agtech, Biotech, Ultra-urban Agriculture
The line between Agtech and Biotech will become even thinner with startups working on new inputs predicts DigitalFoodLab. “We also believe that some of the feed insect startups will consider an introduction into the stock market.” For Whole Food Processing Market, 2022 paves the way for ultra-
urban. Innovation in indoor agriculture has exploded, from hydroponics and aquaponics to mushrooms grown above grocery store aisles – and even fresh produce grown by robots.
Growers are finding new ways to push the boundaries to grow hyper-local crops and maximize efficiency.
9. Plants and Alternatives
“Plant-based products are no longer just trying to mimic meat and dairy products. As they evolve, they have become innovation drivers in their own right.” So, according to Innova Market Insights, the type of products being designed are likely to undergo major evolutions – especially in terms of taste and texture. Almond is a perfect example.
Innova Market Insights confirms that health and sustainability are key drivers of innovation. In this context, plant-based food products will continue to gain momentum and democratize into a market that is no longer limited to a substitute food processing trends for animal-based products. “Plant-based products are no longer just trying to mimic meat and dairy products. As they evolve, they have become innovation drivers in their own right.” Thus, according to Innova Market Insights, the type of products being designed is likely to see changes in tastes and textures. The almond is a perfect example.
According to Lu Ann Williams of Innova Market Insights, “There is a growing need for optimization in the plant-based food processing trends, as 1 in 3 consumers worldwide is not considering 100% plant-based alternative products because of taste and texture.” While taste and texture are still the most complex aspects of plant-based product development, they remain key drivers of choice for consumers. According to DigitalFoodLab, 2021 saw a notable increase in the amount of money invested in alternative proteins from plant-based startups, cellular farming, and fermentation (from cheese companies like Remilk to those creating new protein-based mycelia like Nature’s Fynd).
By 2022, DigitalFoodLab believes these three ecosystems will diverge: “Plant-based startups focused on consumer products, from burgers to fish substitutes, will struggle. Over the past half year, sales have declined and Beyond Meat’s stock has fallen.” Consumers want tastier, less processed products. As a result, DigitalFoodLab expects many startups with little funding and unconvincing products to fail.
Similarly, cellular agriculture startups have made a lot of promises in 2021. “In 2022, they will have to deliver on their promises, and some won’t be able to. On the bright side, we expect to see (and taste) more experimental products and move forward on regulations.
However, we also expect many more voices to be raised against cell farming, perhaps shifting the consensus and creating challenges,” DigitalFoodLab believes. This is one of the top food processing trends in 2022.
10. Precision Fermentation
Precision fermentation should get a huge boost with Perfect Day’s planned IPO and new product launches.
“This often-overlooked technology between plants and cellular agriculture could make headlines. We expect many more offerings, product launches, approvals, and company announcements regarding precision fermentation and biomass fermentation. Some of the products already sold in the U.S. use Perfect Day’s non-dairy protein,” DigitalFoodLab notes. These are popular food processing trends in 2022.
11. Health Food
Health foods are appealing to consumers. Called the “miracle tree,” moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India and Africa. Moringa leaves are packed with nutrients and these fast-growing trees are drought resistant. Increasingly popular in the U.S. as the latest alternative to matcha, it can be found in powdered form and added to make magic in smoothies, sauces, and baked goods. It also appears in unexpected products like frozen desserts, protein bars, and packaged cereal mixes. This is an amazing innovation in food processing trends.
12. Ingredients that Take Off
Turmeric, or “the golden spice,” has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, and has become popular in the United States as a dietary supplement. The spice is taking root as an ingredient in packaged foods. People want to have their turmeric and eat it too.
Yuzu, lesser-known citrus fruit is grown mainly in Japan, Korea, and China is taking the culinary world by storm. Sour and tangy, this tangerine-sized fruit is making an appearance in salad dressings, mayonnaise, and more. On the restaurant scene, chefs are using its lemon-lime-grapefruit flavor to accent soups, vegetables, noodles, and fish. These food processing trends are expected to shine in 2022.
Hibiscus has a long history in the world of teas. Its vitamin C content is well known. Now, growers are harnessing its sweet and tart flavor in the form of fruit spreads, yogurts, and more. Beverage makers are keeping pace, relying on hibiscus to create new beverages that adopt its characteristic bright pink hue
Sunflower seeds provide protein and unsaturated fats and could transform the snacking game. Many sunflower seed products are made without nuts, which means allergen-free school snacks.
Finally, grocery grains are refocusing on the environment in 2022. These are grains grown via farming practices and agricultural processes that contribute to soil health.
13. Automation will play a key role in ensuring maximum efficiency in the supply chain Making way for reductionism
According to Whole Foods Market, “Reduced” will take on even more significance this year.
Reducing meat, dairy, and egg consumption without eliminating them altogether will be the underlying trend as consumers opt for more premium grass-fed meat (plus, our Meat department doesn’t allow antibiotics) and farmed eggs. These are very efficient food processing trends in 2022.
14. Drinks side
According to Whole Foods Market, the light spirits category has seen record growth in stores this year. “With millennials and Gen Zers indulging in “drysolation” during the pandemic, we don’t see the sober, curious mindset going away anytime soon,” Whole Foods Marke believes. In addition, consumers are looking for fizzy drinks that not only taste good but also offer ingredients that balance out the sweetness.
“We’re talking about soda with probiotics and sparkling tonics with prebiotics, botanicals, and more.”
15. Packaging and Alternatives
As countries (like France just did) increasingly ban single-use packaging from our daily lives, we can expect an increase in alternatives. “If the obvious answer was recycling or compostable packaging, we don’t expect much change in food processing. Things may have to change in higher-margin ecosystems first,” DigitalFoodLab says. These are the best food processing trends in 2022.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in both the number of startups and investments around reusable packaging (Pyxo), cleaning and management, especially for restaurants (Vytal, a German startup that lends you reusable packaging when you buy takeout or a meal delivered to your door and allows you to return it when you get another delivery). We expect these solutions to be much more successful in 2022 (especially in Europe), perhaps with partnerships with large restaurant chains.”
16. Robotics, Automation, IIoT, and Supply Chain
“IIoT applications will enable companies to better modernize their supply chain operations,” says Brandon Black of Ivanti.
Robotics will continue to move into manufacturing but not just that… More robot experiments in delivery, and more funding for food processing robots, “but we don’t expect a major shift here because we don’t think either delivery robots or food processing trends robots will be ready for their big debut in 2022,” DigitalFoodLab says.
According to Brandon Black, VP and GM at Ivanti Supply Chain, automation will play a key role in ensuring maximum supply chain efficiency. Automation in the warehouse is going to remain one of the top priorities for supply chain operators, especially given the shortage of personnel, which is expected to continue into 2022.
With the free flow of raw materials along the supply chain, it’s going to be especially important for third-party logistics companies to adopt automation solutions that can accelerate the onboarding of new employees and quickly bring workers up to peak performance. Automation in the warehouse takes many forms: artificial intelligence, machines, cobots, and robots that assist humans with processes related to inventory management, asset tracking, order processing, and more.
“I think this technology is really going to take warehouse operations to the next level in 2022, as automation tools help bridge the gap in staffing, secure the supply chain, and prepare the business for the future, even in uncertain times. IIoT applications will enable companies to better modernize their supply chain operations,” says Brandon Black. These are very innovative and the latest food processing trends.
Today, many companies lack visibility into the location of their products or components. By 2022 food processing trends in more companies are expected to turn to IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) solutions, to know the location and health of their equipment in real-time, to achieve operational excellence, and detect and self-correct vulnerabilities. IIoT will accelerate the food processing and digital transformation of the supply chain, bringing more value to fleet management, land management, remote asset monitoring, location tracking, and smart distribution.