5 key trends affecting F&B Industry in 2018

In 2018, we have identified 5 major trends that will have significant impact on the food and beverage industry in general.
Major food manufacturers need to be conscious of these trends when developing their products as these trends will affect their marketing strategies when reaching out to consumers. Modern consumers are getting more sophisticated in terms of their shopping behaviour, and with growing disposable incomes, higher literacy rates and growing power of internet communication, consumers become fully-aware of their surroundings translating to higher demands and expectations on the products that they purchased.
The 5 key trends that we have identified for 2018 are as follows:

• High quality, fresh, natural ingredients (natural/organic foods, no preservatives, natural colorings)
• ‘Clean’ processing (i.e. hygiene, safety of workers, ethics)
• ‘Clean’ packaging (i.e. made from natural sources, sustainable, reliable/tamper-free packaging)
• Source of origin – traceability of product to source, clear ingredients contents, reliability of source
• Product safety/assurance certifications – halal, food safety certifications etc

There is a clear trend globally that food manufacturers are moving towards fresh, high-quality, natural foods with sustainable packaging. These trends are gaining momentum across all grocery shoppers particularly among the health-conscious consumers.
For brands that already own these advantages, it is necessary for brand owners to communicate a commitment to these values to stand out from its competitors.
Packaging has also become an integral part of a product. As more shoppers choose authentic foods and beverages, they are also gravitating toward packaging that they believe is authentic as well i.e. clean packaging that retains the good taste and nutrition of foods and beverages naturally, without preservatives, and that does not leave undesirable chemicals in the products.
Shoppers believe that clean ingredient lists and clean packaging should go hand-in-hand. It is important to have a 'clean' packaging' to deliver taste and freshness without preservatives and to protect nutritional content.
Finally, a food or beverage product need to have the proper certifications in order to communicate authenticity and establish trust. For example, if we look into halal certification, Malaysia's halal certification by Jakim continues to be highly demanded as it is recognised internationally. In fact, in certain cases, Jakim's certification is recognised for access to the highly lucrative Middle East market. For example, only Australian beef products that have the Malaysian halal certification will be allowed access to these countries. Due to the recognition of its halal certification, Malaysia successfully shipped RM42.2 billion (US$10.6 billion) of halal products in 2017.
The following is based on an in-house survey conducted on 50 food and beverage manufacturers in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to assess or rank these 5 key trends in terms of importance to the consumers (see Chart 1.0). It was found that food ingredients (44%) remain as the most important criteria when looking at the 5 key trends followed by source of origin (18%).