The food industry is the fastest-growing business sector in the world. Over time, we have seen dramatic variations in the food industry trends. From innovative recipes to quick home deliveries, the food industry has seen many advancements throughout the years.
According to research conducted in 2014, there were 15.000.000 eateries in the world. This number has massively grown since then, mainly because of the opportunities of owning franchise restaurants like Subway, Domino’s, etc.
2023 can be a challenging year for the food industry as the trends are shifting. For example, while many people are now opting for a healthier lifestyle after the global pandemic, some are preferring a green diet. Therefore, the food business needs to adapt to the changing demands of the public.
Here are the 4 major trends that the food industry may experience in 2023:
More Plant-Based Options
One of the most prominent food industry trends is consumers’ increasing interest in vegan diets. The reason behind this shift is related to both health and environmental conservation.
Since plant-based food has a low carbon footprint, people are willing to compromise on poultry and meat. Not only solid ingredients, but people also want plant-based milk as a substitute for dairy milk.
Here is how important plant-based food has become for consumers:
- According to a 2021 report, there are around 79 million vegans worldwide, and the trend is still growing. The increasing number of vegans has put a strain on grocery stores to stock plant-based items.
- The global vegan food industry was valued at $15,12 billion in 2020. It is growing rapidly and is expected to grow to $20 billion in 2023.
- Tesco, the retail giant, has committed to increasing the sales of meat alternatives by 300% as they reach 2025. They want to make innovative meat-free products more accessible to the vegan community.
- In 2018, the global dairy alternative market had a value of $17,3 billion. However, it is expected to grow massively by 2023 and reach $29,6 billion.
- Even non-vegetarian and non-vegan people prefer consuming plant-based foods due to health reasons. Studies show that 90% of vegan food consumers are not vegan.
- Since Millennials and Gen Z now represent the majority of the world population, there is more concern about the planet’s future. Therefore, they consume vegan food to reduce their carbon footprint.
Sustainable Packaging Options
Eco-friendly packaging is another food industry trend that will be big in 2023. Although most businesses have started using environment-friendly packaging, the food industry still consumes a lot of plastic.
Materials like paper, cardboard, biodegradable plastic, bamboo sheets, and foil packaging are now used as a substitute for plastic. These materials can decompose within a few days or weeks, leaving our planet free from the hazards of plastic.
Here is how food packaging is changing for the better:
- The global eco-friendly food packaging market was valued at $167,8 billion in 2020. However, since there is a major rise in biodegradable material for food packaging, the industry is set to hit $252,3 billion by 2023-2026.
- The biodegradable plastic industry is also booming. China is the largest producer of biodegradable plastic. It is also the biggest distributor of this material to food chains around the globe.
- In a current survey, more than 58% of consumers worldwide said they would stop using a product with plastic packaging to avoid creating plastic waste. It means many food industries can go out of business if they do not work on their packaging.
Spike in Small Eateries
Over the past few years, people have started to enjoy local eateries due to their accessibility, trusted ingredients, and regional recipes. However, the interest shifted towards the pandemic when people started trying out local food shops near their homes.
The popularity of small restaurants has been increasing rapidly. Here’s how it is shaping the food industry trends:
- In 2017, there were 423.496 small and medium-sized restaurants in the US. After the pandemic, the number of small-sized restaurants doubled along with the demand for local food.
- Using a small and focused menu is also important in the current era. Not only is it cost-effective, but it keeps the customer’s mind clutter-free. As a result, people prefer small businesses with a brief menu to choose from.
- Consumers prefer independent small restaurants over chains due to their high-quality food, good ambiance, innovative menus, personalized services, and value for money.
Focus on Product Labels
Several years ago, reading product labels was not as common as it is now. As mentioned above, people are becoming more health conscious. They now read the product label to understand what exactly they are consuming and how it will affect their diet and general health.
Here are a few facts and figures to prove the impact of this food industry trend:
- According to a survey, 81% of consumers read a product's nutritional label before consuming it. Most of these consumers also share that they are managing their weight.
- 53,4% of consumers look at the fat content in nutritional value labels daily. Since several low-fat diets like Paleo and Atkins have gained popularity, the practice of checking fat content has significantly increased.
- Around 40% of people in the US look at the calories in the nutritional value label, while 28% look for the amount of sugar in the product.
- Elaborate food labels are also a legal requirement in most countries as they allow consumers to make informed decisions about their food. It also helps signify any ingredient that can cause an allergic reaction in the body. In 2023, it is more important than ever to have proper nutritional labels because people are more concerned about their immunity after the global pandemic.
The food industry is a rapidly growing sector world moving towards healthier alternatives. We can expect healthier, sustainable, and more inclusive food options in the future. Post pandemic food industry is all about catering to the health of humans and the planet simultaneously. Such trends can change the food industry for the better.