2017 is an interesting year. Not only on a social level, with Trump’s inauguration as the president of the United States, the recently held and upcoming elections in Europe and the international trust crisis – recently confirmed by the results of the 17th Edelman Trust Barometer. The Trust Barometer revealed the sharpest fall ever in the trust in business, government, media and NGO’s.

Also in the field of ‘food trends’ there are a few new developments. It will be a tumultuous and consumer driven year where change is key. This has been confirmed several times during the development of our 2017 Food & Beverage Trends. Everything seems to be changing: from the way we grow our food and the ingredients we use, to the way we package our food and beverages, the way marketing and communication are deployed in retail, and the way we shop – more and more online.

If we look back to the trends for 2016, we see that many trends are still of the essence in 2017. To name a few: the authenticity of brands, food waste and food security.

Curious about what awaits us for the remainder of 2017? Several important conclusions can be found below:

  • Renewed focus on beverages: consumers are longing for more and more beverages. They want the classics, but with a twist. From water to coffee and soda: what we drink should give us a good feeling; not only in the way the beverages are made, where they originate from and how they contribute to our health, but also regarding the unique and diverse taste experience they create. The demand for new types of beverages is however putting additional pressure on our water supply and can lead to a misconception about matters such as sourcing, ingredients and health benefits. Whether an organization is new to the beverage industry or not, organizations need to dispel these troubles by outlining the way they source, how they deal with the environment, choose their ingredients and communicate their product benefits.
  • Global Food Forum 2.0: due to the globalization in the food industry, tensions and disagreements between cultural, social and political movements about issues such as food waste, climate change, animal welfare, food security and health and safety, take up a prominent place in the current debates. This ensures that issues that previously only got local attention, are now entering the international spotlight. Therefore, it is beneficial for brands to – if they want to succeed in the international globalized market – formulate a global and multicultural approach to their marketing activities and the way they are in contact with consumers. ‘Brand communities’ need to incorporate a top-down and bottom-up approach, which means that ‘centrally-developed’ campaigns need to be driven by a program with content that suits local needs and nuances.
  • Culinary creativity: food and beverages should not only be nutritious, but also tasty and bring us joy. More and more chefs and home cooks are incorporating new flavours and ingredients to tested favourites. They are continuously on the hunt for new destinations, for more culinary discoveries. Hint: those places do not necessarily have to be on dry land. Regardless of the origin of the food – land or sea – we want it to be tasteful and sustainable. This means that brands, and the organizations behind them, need to underline how much they want to invest in innovations that should provide solutions. Large marketing campaigns cannot be a substitute for compliance and accreditation. Brands need to be sensitive in terms of food and its affordability. Culinary creativity is exciting, but we need to make sure that it does not come at the expense of consumer needs and desires.
  • Supreme Technology: technology combined with the food industry is nothing new, but the need and relevance of technology in this growing industry is increasing. From functional technology – technology that supports sustainability and food security benefits – to inspiring technology; there are countless innovations that impact the way we eat and drink. Implementing and investing in technology is an absolute must for organizations. Technology enables us to provide crucial solutions that are needed in the global food industry. Involving all stakeholders, including consumers, in the way companies use technology for these solutions, is simple. But technology can also lead to scepticism and reduced confidence. It is difficult to involve stakeholders when technology can lead to a high unemployment rate and higher costs of cyber security risks. Instead of avoiding these difficult issues, organizations should proactively work together with NGOs, government and even competitors to find solutions to these issues. By doing this and by telling the stories behind these collaborations in an authentic and transparent manner, brands will be able to build leadership and maintain trust.

The complete overview of the 2017 trends for can be found via the following link.

In a time where changes are unavoidable, food and beverages continue to nourish, bring joy and relief and connect us in ways that are not always as obvious as we would like them to be. We look forward to seeing how these trends – and its consequences – contribute to the development of food in the coming year.

Soon, in addition to the general Trust Barometer results which we referred to, we will publish the results specifically for the food industry. Keep an eye on our channels or send us a message if you want to stay informed.

For more information about the Edelman Trust Barometer, specific data cuts or to discuss the findings in relation to your institution, please do not hesitate to give us a call at +31 20 3010 980.

To read the full results of the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, please click here.