2019 Food Trends: Eat Locally, Act Globally

Feb 15, 2019 | Foodservice Industry, Trends

Food Drink & Franchise (FDF) watches trends worldwide. They recently predicted the top 10 trends that will shake up the entire food and beverage world in 2019.

Eventbrite reports that 75 percent of people think unique dining experiences are worth paying for, especially when it comes to tourism. Marriott International’s food and beverage director for Europe, Gustaf Pilebjer, says that if restaurants want to tap into this trend, they need to deliver unique, culturally-relevant experiences. If a diner is traveling, it’s unlikely they will want what something can get back home. Instead, they’ll look for a menu that’s rich in authentic, local delicacies. 

As the legalization of cannabis spreads, expect cannabis-infused food and beverages to increase in popularity. Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona beer and SVEDKA vodka, has purchased a 38 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian cannabis producer. Meanwhile, Blue Moon beer founder, Keith Villa, is launching a non-alcoholic, THC-infused beer company called Ceria Beverages. Last year cannabis beverage sales hit $35.6 million dollars and, if this upward trajectory continues, it could remain a key trend in 2019.

Americans have been grabbing and going for years, but now we see this trend catching on everywhere, an indication that it will be more important in coming years. The worldwide food delivery market stands at 4 percent of food sold through restaurants and fast-food chains, reports McKinsey Global Institute. The research firm notes that, “Not only is trade in services growing faster than trade in goods, but services are creating value far beyond what national accounts measure.”

  • A study by the Center for Food Integrity reports a trust deficit between consumers and the food and drink industry. Delivering high-quality food and beverage at competitive prices remains critical in the industry, but enhancing food safety and increasing consumer trust will remain an issue in 2019. A survey by NFU Mutual shows that one-third of British consumers say they are less trusting of products and retailers than they were five years ago. Combating this perception requires producers, retailers, and caterers to consider using locally produced goods.

The trend toward plant-based foods continues. Sales of plant-based foods increased 8.1 percent compared to the year before. More than $3.1 billion is now being spent on plant-based foods. And, according to research conducted for the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) sales of plant-based foods are up 20 percent over last year.

Plant-based milk sales rose 3.1 percent last year. Cow’s milk sales declined 5 percent and are expected to drop another 11 percent through 2020, according to Mintel. Plant-based milk is having such an impact that, in the U.S., the dairy industry has been actively lobbying the FDA to define milk as something that only comes from cows.

Business leaders and executives recognize that the plant-based food and beverage market have growing investments, mergers, and acquisitions. Last year, Nestlé bought vegetarian company, Sweet Earth Foods. Nestlé USA chairman and CEO, Paul Grimwood, said: “One of Nestlé’s strategic priorities is to build out our portfolio of vegetarian and flexitarian choices in line with modern health trends.”

Shipping fruits and veggies long distances is not only bad for the environment, it also decreases the nutrients in our food. Consumers want to know where their food comes from, giving rise to hyper-local supply chains. Food grown nearby or in restaurant gardens is a hit.

The Black Swan restaurant in Yorkshire became one of the best-reviewed restaurants in the world after winning TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Restaurants Awards. It’s praised for its hyper-local produce. Located on about two-and-a-half acres of land, most of the restaurant’s fruit and vegetables are grown on-site or at a nearby farm.

World-wide awareness of the dangers of plastic in our environment is creating a revolution. Brands are finding new, environmentally sustainable packaging for their food and drinks. In London, Starbucks has tried a “latte levy” on single-use paper cups to reduce waste. In UK and Ireland, McDonald’s has replaced plastic straws with paper ones in all its restaurants.

The 4th European Food and Beverage Plastic Packaging Summit is set for later this month in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This year, “the focus is on the industry’s increasing challenge for innovation toward a sustainable future. Looking at the best strategies for sustainable packaging including recycling and packaging performance, with a stronger focus on the brands and retailers, who will share their thoughts and information on consumer experience and demands for the next generation of packaging.”

In the U.S., companies like Nestle, Unilever, and PepsiCo have already agreed to phase in packaging that is made from recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable materials by 2025. Food and beverage companies   would do well to look at how their packaging can be made more environmentally sustainable.

3. Food Without Alcohol: Moderation

So-called, “dry January” is behind us, but the trend toward health and wellness suggest that more people will be drinking less. Non-alcoholic drinks are more common. In the United Kingdom, more than 1.4 million households purchased no- or low-alcohol beer last year, a 57 percent increase over the past two years. Heineken and Guinness are two beer giants that now produce no- and low-alcohol beers.

2. Foodservice Technology: Blockchain to Robots

Technology has already changed the food and beverage industry, but innovation in this sector continues. French retailer Carrefour pioneered a new blockchain to help drive food safety. Retail giant Walmart is experimenting with implementing a high-tech distribution center, using automated floor scrubbers and even creating a new robotics system that picks grocery orders.

The art of pickling and preserving foods is coming back into favor with mainstream, worldwide eaters. These “gut healthy” foods are the number one trend expected in European markets this year. Foods rich in probiotics like kimchi, miso, and kefir are becoming commonplace. If that’s not enough evidence, the Coca-Cola Company acquired kombucha maker Organic & Raw Trading Co. this past October. With this in mind, kitchens should consider getting the proper foodservice equipment for pickling, including jars and plastic barrels.

Overlapping concerns about health and environment find themselves as standouts on this top ten list from FDF. Cannabis, food supply chain, technology, plastics, moderation, gut-friendly, plant-based foods are all part of a food revolution spreading around the globe.

Thinking about how to incorporate these trends into your business? Contact us to discuss your equipment needs.