As we enter a new year many things will change but our need for food will not. But, that need is turning into specific demands from consumers that manufacturers should not ignore – what are those demands? Here are the trends we’re seeing that you should make a part of your 2020 business resolutions.

Sustainability
The demand for sustainability is rising as consumers are paying more attention to food labels, packaging and the desire for clean and green options. Thus, retailers are putting pressure on manufactures to deliver products to meet that demand. Luckily, consumers are willing to pay more for the more eco-friendly goods. Sustainability can come in many forms but whether this means eliminating things from your process such as plastics and waste or adding clean-labels and rethinking how you deliver your products, it should be a vital part of your production process in order to gain competitive advantage and earn loyal customers.

Transparency & Traceability
If transparency is not one of your top values in your business, it should be. Being open and honest sounds obvious, but this is 2020 and just like the demand for sustainability is rising, so is transparency. To build value and trust, you have to be able to pinpoint issues in your product immediately. Having a solid traceability program in place is crucial to efficiently handling those issues. Even the FDA sees this as an important factor as they plan to put out new food safety and traceability standards this year.

Plant-Based Foods
Speaking of resolutions, healthier eating is one of the top resolutions consumers make each year. One of the industries taking note of this is the plant-based meat market. According to a research study conducted by market research firm Dynat, 56% of Americans will consider eating meatless one day per week in 2020. And with funding in that industry accelerating, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. $16 billion was invested in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018 – if that trend continues, it will increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030.

Plant-based meat isn’t the only type of food projected to dominate in 2020. According to an article in Food Dive, “Manufacturers are continuing to develop more natural formulations and brands realize that consumers are willing to pay a premium if they know flavors are organic and sustainably sourced.” With young consumers driving this trend as they push for (hint, hint!) transparency and a need to know where their food is coming from, the plant-based food industry is one way customers feel better about their consumption habits.

Technology
Technology is a topic that is ever changing, but always trending as we become more reliant on how it can help grow our businesses. A couple of buzzwords you might hear in the tech world this year are blockchain and nanotechnology. And guess what, both are being developed and used to help companies provide more transparency and sustainability of their products as they focus on being able to trace things back through their supply chain.

Cannabis & CBD Expansion
The manufacturing of cannabis and CBD infused goods are no longer the black sheep of the food and beverage industry. Business is taking off and quickly (Michigan recreational marijuana sales hit at $6.5 million in the first month) becoming more and more accepted. Not only did the Farm Bill help with the acceptance and consumption of CBD, many states are now considering adding the legalization of marijuana to their ballet in 2020; 62% of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana (now legal in 11 states, plus Washington D.C.). And with big brand names like Mondelez and Molson Coors considering launching some form of cannabis into their products, there’s no denying this is a hot trend.

A trend within a trend within a trend
As you may have noticed, most of these trends are interrelated. Plant-based foods are more sustainable; in order to prove your sustainability, you need to be transparent and let consumers know exactly what’s in your products. To be transparent, you need to be able to trace all of your goods to their source of origin. And a well-oiled traceability program likely means getting a boost from technology.

What other trends are you anticipating seeing in 2020? What resolutions are you making for your company this year?

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