2018 Roundup: Food & Drink

2018 Roundup: Food & Drink

Last week we explored the trends and innovations that hit 2018 hard in the health & beauty sector. Today, we’re putting food and drink – the very bread and butter of innovation – under the microscope.

If you’ve entered Product of the Year before you’ll know that food & drink often rules the roost at our awards. Consumers never tire of new flavours, healthier versions, and more eco-friendly packaging for their favourite treats. Here, we’ve gathered the 5 most innovative trends in food and drink – so that you don’t have to.

Healthy Eating

The sugar tax has been high in the headlines this year, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen reformulations of old favourites. But it’s 2018, and consumers are no longer fooled by low-sugar or reduced calorie labels on the same old same old. Instead, they’re turning to new brands and products that promise healthier, cleaner, and less processed options, from indulgences like Halo Top that have become overnight favourites to organic healthy choices like Piccolo when choosing what to feed the little ones.

Protein’s still ruling the roost when it comes to healthy eating – one glance down the supermarket aisle will tell you that it’s not going anywhere! – but it’s great to see some newcomers challenging the big boys with their innovative new products.

The Age of the Drink

Yes, I know we promised we’d focus on food – but we just can’t ignore the fact that Britain’s drinking habits are getting out of control. No, we’re not on the booze (millennials are cutting down, anyway) but sipping at the soft drinks instead of snacking on the sweet stuff.

Eating’s so last year. From smoothie bowls to protein shakes, we’re on the liquid diet, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping soon! Drinking is replacing snacking, as we’re turning to the smoothie or kefir drink instead of granola bars or crisps. And it’s tapping into the healthy eating trend too, with both Twinings and Tetley encouraging us to drink more water with their cold infusions bags.

Gotta look the part

It’s not good enough for our food to be healthy and tasty any more. As we’re documenting every last second of our lives, it’s never been more important for our food to be Insta-friendly. Is it any surprise that this year’s been all abofoodut rainbow and unicorn foods?

Bye, soggy ready meals – you won’t be missed! Say hello to colour-changing tea, artfully stacked burgers, and even glittery milkshakes.

There’s no doubt about it. It’s 2018, now our food’s got to look the part.

Snacking & On the Go

Who has time to sit down and eat three square meals a day? With our ever-busy lives, longer commutes, and flexible working hours, snacking’s where it’s at in 2018. Whether you’re snacking al-desko or on-the-go, there are more options than ever before for tasty, healthy and convenient nibbles to keep those hunger pangs at bay.

It’s also super-refreshing to see snacking led by smaller brands, from Hippeas to Eat Grub.

World Foods

As we’re travelling ever more, so are our foods – and we’re determined to get the tastes right. Whether we’re enjoying Kung Pao chicken from Sichuan Province, China, or a classic bowl of Texas Red Chilli, consumers are demanding the authentic from every bite. The backlash from Jamie Oliver’s paella – inexcusably including chorizo, which many considered ‘insulting’ to both the classic dish and Spaniards – proves that shoppers can be unforgiving when it comes to making sure our world cuisine is ethnically correct.

So it’s out with the generic curries, frozen spring rolls, and rice with stuff. 2018’s done its homework, and we want authenticity.

And there you have it – Product of the Year’s innovation roundup for food & drink! 2019’s a whole new year, and we’ll be releasing our top products in just a few short weeks. Stay tuned!