Food and beverage industry: What’s being added to the mix?
The food and beverage industry is facing a challenging environment, affecting both what manufacturers produce and how they produce it. This article explores how food and beverage professionals can overcome today’s challenges – and even seize new and emerging opportunities.
I’ve always believed that making delicious, nutritious, and sustainable food accessible for all is an achievable goal. I still believe that, even with all the challenges the food and beverage industry faces today. But we must be realistic about the issues we face if we’re going to solve them successfully.
Geopolitical turmoil, economic volatility, supply chain disruption, and other global developments are putting sizeable pressure on the market right now. Consumer trends are changing at an ever-increasing pace, driven in part by the boom in pandemic-driven health consciousness, while sustainability standards are also being raised. Although this last development is great news, which we at DSM wholeheartedly support, the overall picture is one of significant change.
Even if there isn’t a single clear answer to these interconnected issues, what is clear is that food and beverage producers are navigating an increasingly complex and demanding world. Any dynamic situation offers opportunities as well as challenges – but to capitalize on these, you have to be more attuned than ever to what’s going on around you.
Keeping up with consumers
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, consumers have become increasingly interested in better-for-you products that offer health benefits – particularly immunity – alongside an enjoyable eating experience. Research by FMCG Gurus reveals that in Asia, 52% of consumers say they seek out fortified food and drink on the shelves, and it’s a similar story in North America (42%) and Europe (33%).
Regular contact with our customers means I’ve seen this trend emerge in real time. Companies have responded to growing demand for healthier foods by launching hundreds of related products: in 2021, according to Mintel GPND, 980 products with an immunity claim were launched in Europe alone. We can see that, while good taste and texture are still essential, consumers today are demanding more: they want health, product sustainability, ethics, and traceability – without any compromise on taste, texture, or sensory experience. With the right innovation and co-ordination, DSM can meet these shifting needs.
New forms of consumption bring added responsibilities for producers, who need to help consumers work out which products best meet their needs and values. I greatly appreciate the breadth and depth of expertise required to coordinate this successfully. As an industry, we are fortunate to have brilliant professionals working closely with customers to develop nutritious, sustainable products as well as the front-of-pack claims to go with them. According to research by FMCG Gurus, the more substantive claims a product can make, the greater the opportunity to appeal to today’s busy consumers – who are often looking for nutrition that delivers multiple benefits at once.