Consumers will demand more fresh foods and convenient formatting from food retailers next year, retail expert Mark Dunson writes. The Food Safety Modernization Act and changes to refrigerant regulations will also affect the food retail industry next year, along with an evolving workforce and more consolidation, he writes.
PepsiCo's Creator division has been teaming with artists, animators and other creative talent for projects designed to engage millennials, who are more drawn to visual than print media experiences. Recent examples are musical bubble machines to launch the brand's new F!ZZ drink at the World Maker Faire in September and the Pepsi Art Dome, an interactive show featuring animation, lights and songs at the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in New Orleans in October.
Niche brands will become a growing trend next year as more consumers seek variety and novelty, according to the "10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2016" report from New Business Nutrition. Product launches aimed at having wide appeal will become more rare, and large companies will look to bulk up their portfolios with small brands, said report author Julian Mellentin.
The digital world has allowed for marketing to smaller audiences and has expanded access to small food startups who give larger companies a better understanding of what consumers expect from food, according to General Mills' Ann Simonds. The company has invested in digital campaigns for its Cinnamon Toast Crunch and has worked with Annie's, which General Mills acquired last year, to expand its natural and organic options, Simonds said.
AQUAHydrate has joined forces with Haralambos Beverage Co. and John Lenore & Co. to expand distribution of the alkaline water in Southern California.
Demand for natural, low-sugar beverages and supplements from endurance athletes has led big companies to explore new formulations and to a handful of new companies touting alternative products. Gu Energy Labs and PowerBar are testing new products with a focus on organic ingredients and shorter ingredient lists, and newcomers like Nuun use natural sweeteners such as monk fruit and stevia in its electrolyte drink.
In October, Campbell launched a campaign of ads reflecting modern households called "Made for Real, Real Life" to address the ways in which the consumer demographic has changed, according to CEO Denise Morrison. The ads include a Hispanic mother shopping for soup for her son and a gay couple feeding soup to their child. “On any given street across the country you will find a modern mix of family composition, and they are shopping and eating differently. They demand different product sizes and price points. They want innovative features,” Morrison said.
A team of University of Perugia researchers say that moderate chocolate consumption may help pregnant women reduce stress levels and the likelihood of complications. "Chocolate can also be used in the diet of pregnant women because no negative effect was found for either maternal or fetal health. Conversely, favorable effects were observed for mother, fetus and future child," wrote research report authors Eleonora Brillo and Gian Carlo Di Renzo.
The National Confectioners Association is working to develop "from a meeting- and event-driven organization into a real mission-driven advocacy organization," according to NCA President and CEO John Downs. Downs says the group wants to promote the part that candy plays in a "happy and balanced lifestyle" while developing stronger ties with legislators. "We’re being more proactive, we’re being a lot more aggressive in getting our story and getting our message out," Downs says.
Blue Bell Ice Cream has announced that Pistachio Almond will join its list of available flavors this week. The flavor is available in half-gallon and pint sizes, along with other flavors such as Buttered Pecan, Dutch Chocolate and The Great Divide.
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