In 2023, the food and beverage landscape was bursting with ideas and opportunities, yet it remains constrained by challenge. New products and exciting ingredient discoveries continue to energise demand, but market potential is being held back by supply chain disruption and the rising cost of living. As consumer priorities shift, old favourites are making a comeback, and new behaviours are shaking up what shines on our supermarket shelves.
No-alcohol demand grows
As more of us opt to go sober, the demand for no-alcohol grows. In fact, low-to no-alcohol beer, cider, wine and spirit products grew over 7% in volume across 10 key global markets in 2022 – and predictions suggest consumption is set to rise another third by 2026.
This shift is being driven by a myriad of factors from health consciousness and evolving attitudes towards drinking culture, to concerns in relation to over-consumption and the climate crisis. And as people continue to question their relationship with alcohol, there’s an opportunity for brands to offer nightlife spots that remove spirits from the mix without sacrificing taste or atmosphere. Club Soda Tasting Room and Shop, which claims to be Britain’s first non-alcoholic tasting room, is a great example.
On the shelf and across the high street, challenger brands are recreating the profile of popular spirits, expanding non-alcoholic menus and developing complex formulas that offer a buzz, without the booze:
- Caleño Ellie Webb’s range of tropical non-alcoholic spirits take inspiration from the flavours of Columbia, featuring pineapple, coconut, lemon peel, ginger and kola nut. Webb believes consumers want no-alcohol that looks familiar – so keep the spirit bottle and serve as a double measure.
- Lucky Saint This brand restored a Marylebone pub into a haven for both alcohol drinkers and those going teetotal. It’ll remain a "proper boozer" while also offering an impressive range across the low-and no-ABV spectrum.
- SENTIA This functional spirit is the first "GABA drink"– an alcohol-free option designed by scientists, innovators and botanists to induce relaxation and sociability without the hangover.
The return of tinned fish
Once considered to sit at the bottom of the food chain when it came to freshness and nutrition, tinned fish is now getting its moment in the sun.
Like most recent food and beverage trends, the rising popularity of tinned seafood can be traced back to high-performing videos on TikTok. After posting viral video captioned #tinfishdatenight, professional chef Ali Hooke netted a sponsorship deal with Vancouver-based brand Scout Canning, which revealed it was getting 500 customer referrals a month as a result of Ali’s TikTok.
We’re seeing companies jump on the can-wagon with a range of fresh new strategies. Successful brands are dialling up on style and collectability with luxury, retro-inspired tins. Good for the earth too: tinned fish’s long shelf life, lack of need for refrigeration and recyclable packaging makes for a relatively climate-friendly protein compared to other animal-based options.
Consumers aren’t just changing their palates; they’re also re-evaluating the role that food has to play in their lives. The relationship between our diet and our mental wellbeing is complex, but research confirms that there is a link between what we eat and how we feel. If food is fuel, then our brains, just like our gut, want it to be premium sourced and nutrient rich.
With 66% of consumers globally now claiming an interest in cognitive health products, multipurpose foods and beverages are storming the market. Brands are seeking to deliver on taste, nutrients, sustainability and functionality. So, expect to see more natural substances claiming to support better mental performance, like nootropics, adaptogens and ashwagandha, and fewer high-calorie, crash-inducing ingredients like caffeine.
In spite of a challenging economic landscape and perceived high costs, sustainability remains a priority for consumers. The global food system is increasingly under pressure as a result of the climate crisis, threatening supply chains and ingredient quality – and these risks are front of mind for brands and businesses across the food and beverage industry.
In response, what we consume and how we consume it is changing. Products and food bearing excessive carbon outputs or non-recyclable packaging are less attractive; responsibly sourced ingredients are growing in popularity (have you seen the kelp-in-everything trend?): and kitchen staples like coffee are getting a sustainable makeover.
Concerns over food waste are growing too, with recent research showing that more than 900 million tonnes of food are being thrown away every year, contributing to up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Online trends like "Nextovers" are gaining traction, encouraging consumers to get creative with their leftover ingredients.
The food and beverage landscape is dynamic and everchanging – there’s always an appetite for something new and noteworthy.
At Linney, we’ve got the people, experience, tools and insight to help you keep pace with the latest trends shaping your sector. Contact us today to discuss teaming up.