ADM, a global leader in nutrition and partner to the world’s leading consumer brands, has recently unveiled 5 food and beverage trends that will impact the way consumers eat and drink in the new year.
Based on in-depth research from ADM’s proprietary OutsideVoice consumer insights platform, the report provides a breakdown of each trend that will come to the fore in the 12 months ahead. Each of these trends is strongly influenced by behavioral and societal changes that have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic, including heightened feelings of anxiety and stress, shifting priorities, changes in social connectivity, and the adoption of a more holistic approach to wellness.
Leo Liu, Asia Pacific President of ADM said, “The coming year will be one of significant change and innovation for the food and beverage industry in the Asia Pacific region. Driven by the global health crisis and sustainability trends, consumers are looking for products that naturally contain beneficial ingredients and have a more healthy and positive impact on the environment. We will see more transparency in labelling as consumers look for products that meet these expectations, and much stronger demand for plant-based protein in their diet. It will be a dynamic market and one in which we look forward to assisting customers meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The 5 trends that will spur innovations in the new year include:

1. A More Proactive Approach to Nourishing the Body and Mind
ADM research finds that 31% of consumers are purchasing more items tailored for their health, and 50% report a preference for foods and beverages that naturally contain beneficial ingredients.
The desire to influence health and wellness through foods and beverages is creating new opportunities for nutrient-dense products with functional health benefits aimed at supporting immune systems, enhancing mood and sustaining energy. Sensory factors like flavor and color are also playing an increasingly crucial role. Consumers are gravitating toward foods and beverages with bright and exciting colors that indicate citrus flavors, with their naturally occurring Vitamin C, as well as products with familiar, nostalgic flavors during these stressful times.

2. Sustainability Takes Center Stage
Over 65% of consumers want to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions. This is a key reason why 32% of consumers buy sustainably produced items.
There will be growing demand for companies to adopt sustainability practices from specialised feed that reduce methane emissions in livestock and new farming practices, to renewable plant-based packaging materials like cornstarch and seaweed.

3. The Gut Microbiome Emerges as the Gateway to Wellness
Approximately 25% of global consumers suffer from digestive health issues. Of those, 50% claim that it has a moderate or severe impact on their overall health. The pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in a more holistic approach to health, which includes a greater understanding of the foundational role of the gut microbiome on each individual’s health. ?Products targeting the microbiome have been shown to help address specific metabolic conditions and issues such as weight management, immune system support and better emotional well-being. This provides fertile ground for food and beverage innovation with functional solutions like prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics that support microbiome function.

4. Plant-Based Food Boom Expands Beyond the Bun
Globally, 56% of plant consumers are trying to eat more plant-based foods and beverages, pushing alternative proteins into an increasingly mainstream phenomenon. Demand for plant-based protein products is rapidly expanding beyond just burger analogues to new and novel products, including alternative seafoods like shellfish and shrimp, plant-based cheeses, ready-to-eat protein snacks and more. Alternative meat products also continue to evolve, with new technologies like 3D printing and protein fermentation playing a role in driving innovation. New plant-based meats on the horizon include whole-muscle products like steak and chicken breast, lunch meat, bacon and more. The dairy alternative category, an early leader in the plant-based nutrition space, is growing to encompass other formats such as yogurt, ice cream, butter, spreads and creamers. To stand out in the dairy aisle, products must deliver more protein than traditional dairy, and feature a nutritional label fortified with vitamins and minerals or functional ingredients like probiotics.

5. Transparency Builds Consumer Trust
Consumers now expect food labels to provide greater transparency around the entire product life cycle. This is helping drive the demand for locally sourced products as consumers seek greater clarity on where the ingredients in food and beverages come from. In fact, 26% of global consumers look for the country of origin on food and drink labels.
The quest for cleaner ingredients extends to flavors and colors, with many seeking natural alternatives, whether it be elderberries to give a product a rich blue hue or peppermint and mint to elicit an energising burst of coolness in foods and beverages. Sweeteners such as monk fruit and stevia are growing in popularity as consumers seek out natural ways to reduce their sugar intake. The global pandemic has drastically changed consumer perceptions of the world, influencing the way we eat, drink and connect with one another. With these nutrition trends gaining steam in 2021 and beyond, ADM is positioned to provide brands with the innovative solutions required to meet customer needs in an ever-changing marketplace.

AFBR has also interviewed Dirk Oyen, General Manager, SEA for ADM Human Nutrition to gain more in-depth insights relating to the 5 trends identified by ADM. The following are excerpts of the interview with him.

Will the 5 trends (identified above) persist through even after the end of the pandemic, or will it gradually fizzle away to becoming less important once the world found an effective vaccine for COVID-19 ?
There is no doubt that the global pandemic has heightened awareness of health and healthy eating and has led to changes in consumer behavior. People have become more health conscious and want to understand how food impacts their overall health.
People are more and more eating and drinking with ‘attention’ and ‘intention’ in general. The pandemic has only intensified the demand for foods and beverages that support immune systems. This has also spurred the growing interest in making responsible and sustainable food choices, 2 areas where there has been marked increase in consumer interest and demand in the Asia Pacific region. We expect these to be key factors driving opportunity for food and beverage companies in the coming years.
We should not forget that people are also continuing to look for new things and one of the newest trends is plant-based options. This is exciting as it is new and expands into convenient consumption formats (e.g. beyond the bun), and it also fits in the previous mentioned consumer interests.
So, in conclusion, we do not see these trends becoming less important or dropping away significantly after a vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed. While the pandemic may have spiked interest in the last 10 months, we believe people will continue to look for healthier food, new plant-based food options and responsible sourcing by manufacturers. If anything, consumers shift to taking a more proactive approach to their health is likely to make these trends a long-term feature of the food and beverage industry over the next years.

Many F&B players have commented that the pandemic has somewhat accelerated the growth of plant-based and nutritional/functional food in Asia? Do you have any comments on this ?
There has been much greater awareness on health, which has led people to look at plant-based and functional food in the region and the market opportunities that open up for nimble and responsive market participants in the food and beverage industry.
Plant-based food intake has generally been higher in Asia compared to other regions in the world, and there is also more of a tradition of a holistic approach to health. Besides health, the plant-based meat alternative trend is also seeing keen interest from flexitarians and consumers that are conscious about their environmental impact. Making the plant-based choice is a way of personal contribution to a better world. So, we are not surprised to see this acceleration.

Very often when we spoke of these 5 trends, we are referring to the developed parts of the world. How will these trends affect least developing/emerging markets in Asia?
While these global trends have been drawn from global research across all markets, we still see them as being very applicable in emerging markets in Asia. Asia does have areas that are developing. They are developing rapidly, and the current pandemic has even accelerated this. For example, across Asia countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have witnessed growing online purchases. Countries are also making the food decision-making process a more informed one and provides access to a broader range of products. This makes the trend of transparency to build consumer trust even more relevant today.
One of the biggest trends challenging the food industry is the rapidly growing urbanisation whereby millions of people shifted to larger cities seeking opportunities to work and live. The industry has to become very efficient in the delivery of food to large populations, while also understanding changing consumer preferences, the impact of the internet and online shopping as well as traditional shopping behaviour in high density urban populations.
People still want to eat healthy food, but how they access this food will continue to change as more and more channels and choices open up. This is also supported by local governments who are imposing taxes on sugar or promoting healthy foods. Examples across the region are products with added vitamins and reduced sugar products.

Of these 5 trends, which do you think will have the most impact to the F&B markets in Asia in the next 10 years ?
In our global trends report, 2 trends out of the five that were identified, including ‘Transparency Builds Consumer Trust’ and ‘A More Proactive Approach to Nourishing the Body and Mind’ are going to be key trends for food producers in our region due to urbanisation, rise of income and access to online information.
It was estimated that 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050. As these countries continue to urbanise and incomes increase, people, through internet access and online shopping, will take more conscious decisions and physical offering of products will become less important. Where you promote your product will become a lesser competitive advantage because through internet, people will become more educated on options and though online shopping location is less relevant.
What will become more important is the trust in your brand. This is what you can build through transparency. The current pandemic has pushed the focus on health, and this drives the focus on educating ourselves. People want to understand what they eat and drink.

What are the key consumer behavior shifts that will create opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to gain market share in an increasingly uncertain business environment ?
The plant-based food boom is going to be a very interesting one to watch. As an industry, we are contributing to a better tomorrow by offering consumers a more sustainable alternative plant-based proteins. The interest of consumers has to be fostered by providing relevant products that also support the ‘Proactive Approach to Nourishing the Body and Mind’. This is a novel area that allows manufacturers to gain market share both from the plant-based space as well as the increase in demand for protein and health-forward ingredients in general.

What do you foresee to be ADM's role in the plant-based movement in the next 10 years judging from the rapid entry of new players (both small and large) in this segment? What will ADM role be as part of this growth opportunity ?
Plant-based is about finding the right flavor to complement the protein. ADM is an expert in both areas and what is unique, is that ADM has many years of experience in combining the two. ADM’s role is to share this know-how and support new and existing players in perfecting their offering to consumers.
Focusing on protein and flavor in tandem, we jointly develop on-trend, regional and culturally relevant plant-based solutions in both the food as well as the beverage area.
Further to this, it is ADM’s role to continue to invest significant resources into innovation of both individual ingredients, systems, and processing techniques to bring the best possible solutions to our customers. This combined with ensuring a sustainable supply of these ingredients will be the key role for ADM to play. For ADM, this movement fits perfectly with our corporate purpose: 'We unlock the power of nature to enrich the quality of life.'
Technical expertise must be applied to meet consumer demand and preference to have long term sustainable value and form the basis of long-term growth. This is where our research of global trends is critical to informing our long-term strategies.




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