Health, Sourcing Still Top of Mind Among Consumers

IFIC shares trend predictions for 2023 centered on beverages, gut health, food packaging and diversity
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Healthy drinks
IFIC expects the better-for-you beverage category to have a good year.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) is out with its annual trend predictions report and, by the looks of it, the recent moves towards health and wellness, transparency and diversity are on track to continue in 2023.

Specifically, IFIC notes that wellness remains top of mind and will be reflected in the accelerating popularity of beverages with purported health benefits. The organization points to the clamor for caffeine alternatives like yerba mate and yaupon tea and to nonalcoholic drinks, which are resonating with younger consumers in particular.

Another trend related to wellness is the ongoing interest in gut health. IFIC expects demand for probiotics and prebiotics to impact the marketplace this year, as manufacturers increasingly add probiotics to “non-traditional” foods such as chocolate, ice cream and sauces. The spate of plant-based innovations will continue in 2023 as well, according to IFIC, which expects different formats like plant-based pastas and different processes, like the upcycling of plant-based food components. And although cultivated meat is niche for now, this may be a breakout year for meat produced using animal cells, IFIC reports.

IFIC also foresees consumers’ emphasis on health and wellness showing up on food packaging. “Greater consensus will begin emerging around nomenclature, as well as some of the terms and marketing claims that will be vying for more of the labels’ real estate,” the group predicts.

Beyond products, IFIC projects that food-centric businesses will continue to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry, something that will be evident in purchasing decisions and in the treatment of workers, among other efforts. IFIC also underlined the term “glocally,” noting parallel interest in globalization and unique local needs and conditions that play out with concerns about the supply chain and inflation and interest in locally-produced and sourced products.

Meanwhile, there are also internal changes at IFIC as the new year begins. After six years at the helm, IFIC’s CEO Joseph Clayton is exiting the nonprofit research organization. A search committee has been working over the last few months on a replacement for Clayton, who is staying in through the early part of 2023 to ensure a smooth transition.

“It’s been a special six years and a privilege to help advance IFIC’s mission and programs,” said Clayton. “We’ve taken major steps to expand IFIC’s reach as a source of evidence-based information about food and strengthen our research agenda to better understand how consumers approach decisions at the intersection of food and health. IFIC is more prepared than ever to promote actionable, science-based food information.”

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