As the season gets hotter, so do the sales of refreshing and new food and beverage products. However, with so many seasonal products to invest in, it might be hard for food companies to identify which foods they should be rolling out in order to get some of that summer revenue. Grocery giant Kroger may have found a solution to that problem with their list of top 6 food trends to expect for the summer of 2018.
According to the company’s private label brand developers, food manufacturers should invest in the following summer trends:
- Better For You Snacking
It’s no secret that the health food trend is on the rise but Kroger’s developers claim that products such as healthy snack bars, flavored seltzers and sparkling coconut waters are in demand. This may be because consumers have been turning away from traditional pop products due to their high sugar content. Additionally, snack bars have been gaining momentum as consumers search for convenient, yet healthy, snacking options for their busy days.
Major food and beverage companies have already been launching new and innovative health foods. However, when it comes to the three main products described above, PepsiCo, Buddha Brands and RXBAR have been setting the standard. In February, PepsiCo launched a line of sparkling water beverages under the brand “bubly” and now it is the best selling beverage under the seltzer category on Amazon. Buddha Brands has also been innovating their coconut snack products and they currently offer four varieties of sparkling coconut water products. RXBAR, a high protein nutrition bar made from egg whites, was acquired by Kellogs in October and now it is number one on Amazon’s best selling list under the granola and nutrition bars category.
- Alcohol-Infused Foods and Flavors
During the season for BBQs and patio lounging, alcohol consumption is common. So, it makes sense that consumers would enjoy alcohol-infused food items. According to Kroger’s researchers, items such as wine-infused steak sauce and bourbon-infused cola will stand-out this summer.
Sauce company Bottled Thyme offers 3 varieties of wine-infused sauces for cooking/grilling and Twisted Vine Gardens also offers a 3-pack of multi-use wine-infused sauces. In addition, Kroger offers a variety of alcohol-infused sauces under their private label brand.
- Global Tastes
International cuisine is quite easy to come across in North America and now consumers want to be able to take these global flavors home. In particular, Korean spices and Peri-Peri sauces have been found to be some of the top global cravings.
- Go On and Get Nostalgic
With all the attention on millennials in the food space, food manufacturers might be missing out on older generations. However, old-school flavors and products are slowly coming back in the form of popcorn, snack nuts, sunflower seeds and pork rinds.
Kroger’s researchers advise food companies to dive deeper into nostalgic foods and invest in products such as mac and cheese sauce, twists on pimento cheese, retro ice cream flavors and old-school soda pop flavors such as orange soda and birch beer.
Kroger currently offers a variety of old-school ice cream flavors under their Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream range such as sweet cream funnel cake, brookie (brownie and cookie) and honey grahams n’milk. The retailer also has a line of mac and cheese sauces with flavors such as bacon and aged cheddar with roasted onion.
- No Waste Meals and Cocktails
The sustainability trend is booming in the food industry and Kroger’s researchers highlight sustainability as a summer trend as well. As consumers actively try to reduce their food waste, food manufacturers are encouraged to produce sustainable food products with recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Large food companies such as Nestlé, General Mills and McDonald’s have already announced large-scale sustainability initiatives.
- Flexitarian Lifestyle
According to Kroger’s private label brand developers, flexitarian diets are on the rise. This means that many consumers are limiting their meat consumption and reaching for vegetarian food options more often. With flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets on the rise, food manufacturers are urged to produce more meat-free food items.
A key takeaway from these findings is that there is a need for more food innovation. Global cuisines, flavored low-calorie beverages, alcohol-infused products and sustainable foods all stand out for their uniqueness and tastes. Food manufacturers can grab the attention of consumers by standing out in the marketplace with products that are new, yet familiar because they incorporate well-known ingredients. With Kroger leading the way with private label product offerings under each trend category, it is likely that other grocers will catch on.