|No-meat initiative ‘Veganuary’ just celebrated its most successful year to date since its launch in 2014 (over 250,000 participants worldwide) and it’s anticipated that plant-based options will continue to soar in 2019. According to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), the UK introduced the highest number of new vegan products in 2018 – knocking Germany off the top spot. What’s more, it’s thought that 16% of food products launched in the UK in 2018 had an animal product-free ingredients list, and this number looks set to increase in 2019.
With the rise of vegan offerings comes the demand for meat substitutes and alternative protein sources, from mushroom burgers to jackfruit and even faux ‘bleeding’ burgers. Beyond Meat is one such company creating a mass-market solution to animal protein. Made from plant protein, its plant-based burgers – which look and cook like beef – contain 20g plant protein to boot.
Also expect to see a rise in consumers following a ‘pegan’ diet in 2019: a vegan-inspired version of the popular paleo diet which advocates eating fresh, ‘clean’ whole plant foods and fruit and vegetables and having these take up approximately 75% of each meal. Also look out for a continued rise in milk alternatives such as soya, coconut, almond and hemp.
|In addition to meat-free diets, the number of people pursuing free-from diets and lifestyles will continue to increase, covering everything from paleo and keto to gluten-free. The latter in particular is a burgeoning sector, particularly because as many as one in 100 people in the UK are now diagnosed Coeliacs.
Plenty of research and NPD is currently taking place across the gluten-free market, namely to improve the taste and texture of such offerings. Coeliac UK and Innovate UK are currently funding research into improving the quality of gluten-free bread by looking at new plant proteins – faba beans, rapeseed by-products and naked oats – which could lead to manufacturers using fewer E numbers and additives in their products, something high on the list of health-conscious consumers today.
|As the conversation around addressing plastic pollution only becomes louder (globally, only 9% of plastic is recycled today) brands will continue to look at ways to tackle this colossal environmental issue, with bio-based and compostable packaging set to lead the way.
With many industry names already committing to making their packaging completely recyclable, we can expect to see a large proportion of companies following suit in 2019. Nestlé, with a focus on eliminating plastic waste, has pledged its commitment to making all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, while M&S has committed to ensuring that all of its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022.
Meanwhile, drinks brand Lucozade has partnered with sustainable packaging start-up Skipping Rocks Lab to trial plastic-free sports drinks and gels which use edible seaweed packaging, Ooho, which also naturally biodegrades in four to six weeks if not eaten.
|As the consumer trend for healthier choices shakes up the food and drink industry, consumers are continuing their quest for ingredients they can understand, and that are as traceable and sustainable as possible. According to Mintel, more than half of all UK adults now try to eat healthily most of the time, and that includes cutting down on alcohol and sugar, too.
Paving the way in 2019 are gut-health focussed products – that’s cultured and fermented foods which are said to promote the health and wellbeing of the gut, also known as the second brain. These include kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut, as well as bone broths – Whole Foods has opened its first dedicated bone broth bar, and predicts that bone broth may even become the new coffee.
Expect to see more of CBD (cannabidiol)-infused products hitting the UK shelves too. Products on the market today already include carbonated drinks, post-coffee drops, mints, and even beer.
|Tying in with consumer priorities for sustainable living, there is a strong trend towards products which use leftover ingredients, or surplus produce, which would otherwise go to waste. One key by-product currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity is aquafaba, the briny residue from a tin of chickpeas that’s fast becoming a popular (and vegan) protein-rich egg alternative.
Key products on the market using leftover ingredients also include ale made from leftover bread (Toast Ale), water infused with ‘wonky’ veg (Dash Water) and gin made from grapes leftover from the wine-making process (Foxhole Spirits).
Planet Organic is leading the waste-free way for supermarkets, having recently partnered with food-sharing app Olio to achieve zero edible food waste – it redistributed more than 11 tonnes of food in 2018 alone.