Chicago, IL—ADM has released its top five trends that will impact the food and beverage industry in 2021.

The trends are based in part on research from ADM’s OutsideVoice consumer insights platform, a press release says, and take into account behavioral and societal changes that have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic.

The trends include:
  1. A proactive approach to nutrition. 31% of consumers are purchasing more items tailored for their health, according to OutsideVoice, 50% report a preference for foods and beverages that naturally contain beneficial ingredients. Manufacturers are creating functional foods to meet this demand. The press release notes that factors like flavor and color are playing an increasingly crucial role; consumers are gravitating towards foods and beverages with bright and exciting colors that indicate citrus flavors and towards products with familiar, nostalgic flavors to counter stressful times.
  2. Sustainability. 65% of consumers want to have a positive impact on the environment, according to research from the Hartman Group, and Euromonitor research shows that 32% of consumers buy sustainably produced items. This demand can be addressed through specialized feed to reduce methane emissions in livestock, farming practices such as regenerative agriculture, and renewable materials such as cornstarch or seaweed in consumer packaging.
  3. Microbiome health. Euromonitor research shows that approximately 25% of global consumers suffer from digestive health issues, with 50% claiming that it has a moderate or severe impact on their overall health. The pandemic has accelerated interest in an understanding of the role of the microbiome in health. ADM expects to see innovation in food and beverages, with functional solutions that support microbiome function.
  4. Plant-Based Food. 56% of plant consumers are trying to eat ever-more plant-based foods and beverages, OutsideVoice has found, pushing demand for plant-based proteins in protein snacks and alternative foods like plant-based seafood. In dairy alts, ADM expects products to differentiate themselves by delivering more protein, as well as by being fortified with vitamins and minerals or functional ingredients.
  5. Transparency. A winner in other 2021 trends lists, transparency takes the stage here, too. ADM sites a February 2020 study from Euromonitor finding that 26% of global consumers look for the country of origin on food and drink labels. Consumers are demanding locally sourced products, cleaner ingredients, natural flavors and colors, and alternative sweeteners, and they expect to see those demands reflected on the label.

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“The global health crisis has changed consumer preferences in new and unexpected ways,” says Vince Macciocchi, President, Nutrition, in the press release. “We are seeing a heightened demand for foods and beverages that support immune systems, enhance our mood and reduce our environmental impact, driven in part by emerging human tensions. This has provided a unique opportunity for brands to develop disruptive new products that will forever change the way we eat and drink. It’s going to be a year of innovation, marked by significant breakthroughs in nutrition.”