Top Ten Food & Beverage Trends for 2017: Phil Lempert predictions

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st December 2016

Silicon Valley is predicted to take on the food industry in 2017

American supermarket expert, Phil Lempert, has predicted that “2017 promises to be one of the most exciting in the history of food and retailing”.

In announcing his top ten food and beverage trends for 2017, Lempert says the year will be influenced by technology in food production, retail environments and consumer communications, and that the new American government will make significant changes to agencies which will have a direct effect on food production and polices in the US.

Lempert’s top 10 food and beverage trend predictions for 2017 are as follows:

Trend #1. Silicon Valley & Food 

Lempert predicts that America’s Silicon Valley will invest in food start-ups and similar food related projects in 2017 as food meets the sustainability portfolio requirements for investing.

He cites CB Insights which estimates over US $1 billion have been invested in food start-ups and projects in 2016. Lempert says Silicon Valley also likes food investments as they can make a positive impact on the world.

Trend #2. The Wild West

Within America in 2017, Lempert reports that the traditional supermarket saw store counts drop by one per cent and their share of market decrease by 0.7 per cent in 2016.

In 2017 “the new food retailers” like Aldi, Lidl and Amazon GO will continue to steal customers. “They know how to communicate and their offerings are on target,” Lempert said.

He predicts the future of supermarket shopping to include members only stores, zero-waste markets and delivery-only grocers.

Trend #3. Enhanced Foods: Beyond Brownies

In 2017  food manufacturers will be adding  more than just extra protein to help peak interest in their products said Lempert.

 “Look for the next big trends coming from Matcha, butter, beets, botanicals and yes, cannabis,” he says.

Within the US, the cannabis businesses is estimated to grow to US $22 billion in sales by 2020 with nine states approving it for recreational use and another 21 for medicinal use.

“We have already seen cannabis-cured lox, shrimp stew, deviled eggs, brittle bars, chocolate, canna-oils and of course brownies on menus as well as upscale secret location restaurants offering haute cuisine at $250 a head,” Lempert sad about America’s use of cannabis and food.

Trend #4. Generation Z

 A new generation is about to take the food scene by storm, leaving Millennials with their constant search for what’s next in the dust,” said Lempert.

According to Lempert Gen Z is more likely to eat fresh home cooked meals, healthier Quick Service Restaurant offerings and to think cooking is cool.

“They prefer stove top to microwave cooking and are more intuitive cooks. For them, the most ethnically diverse generation, ethnic foods are the norm. This 50 million strong generation – now 5 to 20 year olds – have been shaped by the recession and terrorism and as a result are willing to work hard for a stable future. They are financially cautious and demand good value from the foods they consumer in and out of home. They hate corporate greed, don’t trust brands and demand transparency,” Lempert says.

Trend #5. Sustainability10

Consumers will continue to be interested in sustainable foods and will not just want “cage-free” but rather “pasture-raised”.

Halal and Kosher foods are predicted to grow by double digits over the next decade.

Trend #6. Digital Foodscape

 “People want more information, about food (and everything else) and as a result we are bombarded with too much content, fake food news and poorly designed recipes,” says Lempert.

“Look for the new foodscape to be simple, stand out, engage and be multisensational – and all that comes through the next generation of food communication through gamification, edu-tainment and AVA triggered content. The digital foodscape is the language of the Millennials and Gen Z,” he said.

Trend #7. Microbrands to Megabrands

Smaller nimble brands are growing and using the new media to connect in real time and build trust and authenticity with their customers,” Lempert says.

He has however warned that as these companies grow and are possibly acquired by larger food companies, their loyal, original customers question whether or not these brands “lose what made them special”.

Lempert said smart consumer packaged goods based companies are acquiring other food businesses, but not just for the brands, but for the talent which comes with the acquisition and understands today’s consumers.

Trend #8. Augmented Transparency (AT)

“AT will change the way we gather information about foods in an immersive, engaging and empowering way,” says Lempert.

This technology will allow for multi-panel deep dives into the nutritional information, ingredients, sourcing all across the supply-chain to answer questions that shoppers have. From customised recipes, nutrition tours and educational events, AT will offer expert level knowledge on demand and filtered based on one’s personal interests and change the perspective of the food world into a 3600 view,” he says.

Trend #9. Cellular Agriculture

Science will be utilised so that more investment cane be made into animal free alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs.

“Medical science and food production are intertwined and producing foods that are better for the environment, have a longer shelf life, better food safety and can personalise nutritional attributes all while changing the landscape of animal welfare,” Lempert says.

Trend #10. The New Administration

Lempert questions what type of effect Donald Trump’s presidency will have on the US food industry.

He wonders how the industry will deal with uncertainty of non-resident farm workers, increased tariffs on exports and imports to select countries and possible deregulation of the US Food and Drug Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


This article is based off Phil Lempert’s original article; Top Ten Food & Beverage Trends for 2017


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