As you well know, food trends are ever-changing. In previous years, trends have been somewhat fickle and diet-related, which is not very cost-effective for implementing any type of product changes. However, in last last few years some significant trends have taken root as an expression of a movement taking place in our society regarding our environment and increased care for health post-COVID. Usually, our articles tend to rally around new manufacturers that are just entering the food space. And while they have historically been the audience that we advocate for a bit more often, we cater to manufacturers of all shapes and sizes, including the more established manufacturer. So, if you have an established line of food products with some longevity in food retail, this particular article is for you. Today we cover what it takes to bring old products up to speed with new trends. So if you’re wondering if you should upgrade your food products for 2022, you’re in the right place.
As previously mentioned, the trends that are hitting our society in this post-covid world rally around environmental and human health. Gone are the days where low-calorie reigns supreme. Consumers are looking for ways to eat for their health, while making a positive impact on the world around them while they’re at it. It’s this mentality and this movement that is driving many of the trends that are building momentum in the upcoming year.
You might have heard this phrase ad-nauseum in the last 12-18 months, but for good reason. People are becoming more animal-conscious in recent years due to documentaries like, “What the Health” which captures the inhumane treatment of animals as well as the lies that we’ve been told throughout the years regarding our absolute need for animal protein. Repeatedly throughout the film, the interviewers give examples of large corporations pushing the animal agenda even though the health outcome on the human body was less than ideal.
As a result of this new information, consumers have been studying how a plant-based or Vegan diet could benefit their health. This consumer curiosity has increased sales of plant-based products and resulted in the demand for even more. That being said, number one on the trend-list for 2022 is switching to plant based.
Making the Switch
If you’ve already got a successful line of food products, making the switch to plant-based is a matter of understanding ingredients. When a consumer is searching for a product that is animal-free, they aren’t just thinking about meat (although, that’s super important), they’re looking for products that avoid animal derivatives as well. For example, say that you’re a potato chip manufacturer but you put beef fat in the grease that cooks your potato chips. A simple switch could be to replace the beef fat with an equivalent that comes from vegetable sources. By switching an oil type, you’ve not only created a new product, but you’ve broadened your market to include the plant-curious. Here’s a more extensive list of plant-based ingredients that you could apply to existing product to create new ones:
- Bagged greens and salads
- Bell pepper
- Dried fruit (apples, apricots, banana slices, etc.)
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine, etc.)
Dairy and Egg Alternatives
- Non-dairy milk
- Plant-based yogurt
- Plant-based cheese
- Dairy-free butter
- Dairy-free cream cheese
- Egg alternatives
Other Reasons to Upgrade Your Products for 2022
Pivoting your products to plant-based conveniently does more than open your product line to a new market, it checks off other trend boxes too! Currently there has been a huge demand for nutrient density and functional food. If you aren’t familiar just yet, what these terms mean is that the food products that consumers are looking for not only have a rich nutrient profile, but they also perform positive actions within the body. While animal-based products have become the norm in our society for generations, they’re also really difficult to digest and place a lot of strain on the kidneys. Lighter foods that contain high amounts of dietary fiber (like whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies) improve digestion instead. This positive action of digestive improvement is what makes plant-based food also a functional food as well.
That other term we mentioned up there, nutrient density, marks the third trend on our list as recommendations for upgrading your food products for 2022. Nutrient density simply means that your product has a lot to offer in regards to nutrition. And no, we aren’t just talking about the larger nutrients like fats, carbohydrates and protein. We’re talking about the micronutrients — like the vitamins and minerals within your food product. Again, making the switch to plant based is highly likely to accomplish a lot of this, when done right. What we mean by that is when you upgrade your food products to plant-based, you should be taking advantage of the various sources for nutrients instead of simply swapping out the meat in your product 1:1. For example, if you specialized in soup products, creating a plant-based “chicken” soup should include more than a switch to a plant-based protein source/chicken replacement. Focusing on nutrient density means that the protein change is supplemented by other good ingredients like, chickpeas, extra carrots, zucchini and other things that could also increase the amount of vitamins and mineral (and flavor, hello!) in your upgraded food products.
Well, there you have it food manufacturers. New markets, new products, and remaining on-trend sounds like a good enough reason to upgrade your food products in 2022, don’t you agree?