With consumers spoilt for choice, continuous product innovation is critical to keeping their attention – and spend. As a result, food and beverage brands are always looking for the next superfood or must-add ingredient to boost sales. 

As we wave goodbye to 2021, Hooley Brown has taken a look at 6 fast-growing food trends for 2022 – giving CPG brands insight into what we’ll be eating and drinking over the next 12 months.

1. Alternative ‘milk’

Non-dairy drinks have seen a sales surge in recent years, with oat, almond and soy beverages among the most popular choices. While brands have had to fight for the right to call vegan alternatives ‘milk’, that hasn’t interfered with product development – and we’re going to see even more plant-based milk choices available in 2022. 

Among the new dairy-free drinks going mainstream will be buckwheat milk, macadamia milk and pistachio milk. Or for the more adventurous, DUG has launched the world’s first potato-based drink

This vegan-friendly, low climate footprint option has caught the eye of major supermarkets, with Waitrose naming potato milk as a future food trend in its 2021-2022 Food Report

For more discussion about dairy-free drinks, read our blog: what’s the opportunity in plant-based food and beverages?

2. CBD

CBD sales have been on an upward curve for a couple of years now, with experts predicting the global cannabidiol market will be worth $13.4 billion by 2028. And increased consumer appetite is fuelling an increase in food and beverage products containing CBD. 

Never mind gummies and liquid; CBD is now available in a wide variety of consumable formats – from Karma Water infused with CBD to Themptation’s CBD chocolate and chocolate spread. 

The adoption of CBD in the food and beverage industry is being used to help legalise cannabidiol consumption in more countries. However, CPG brands must make sure that CBD products are permitted and compliant in every market you operate, as there’s still a huge global variety in CBD legislation.

3. Mushrooms

The humble mushroom is getting a makeover in 2022, with food and beverage brands keen to promote their ‘superfood’ credentials. 

Mushrooms are high in fibre, a plant-based protein source and packed with antioxidants, and CPG companies are looking at new, innovative ways to incorporate fungi into product ranges. 

For example, Four Sigmatic has created a range of drinks including mushroom coffee and mushroom cacao, while Naturya’s mushroom superblend powder can be added to smoothies, stir-fries, soup and risotto. Vivo Life adaptogenic mushroom lattes also promote immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits.

4. Umami Paste

In addition to its health benefits, mushroom powder is also being touted as a tasty flavouring – and this ties into a wider 2022 food trend for stronger savoury sensations. 

Another product that will reach mainstream consumer audiences over the next 12 months is umami paste, produced by brands including Bart and Clearspring

Meaning ‘a pleasant savoury taste’, food manufacturers use ingredients such as anchovies, miso, olives, tomatoes and seaweed to create a rich umami flavour. In its 2021/22 report, Waitrose already noted a 17% increase in umami paste sales since 2019. 

5. Hibiscus

Rich in vitamin C with a cranberry-like flavour, hibiscus has been a popular choice of tea for several years. Now, CPG brands are starting to leverage their sweet-but-tart taste and pink colouring across a widening range of food and beverage products. 
Among the latest edible hibiscus innovations are Yobucha strawberry hibiscus kombucha yoghurt and Kassumay sabdariffa fruit spread. Its use as a drink is also diversifying, with hibiscus featuring in everything from Crossip non-alcoholic spirits to Nix & Kix watermelon hibiscus vegan soft drinks. 

6. Moringa

Until now, moringa has mostly appeared in beauty and personal care products. However, food and beverage brands have seen how it is being used internationally to fight malnutrition before incorporating this ingredient into western consumable products. 
For example, Bulk is marketing moringa powder as an addition to smoothies and sauces, while plant-based ice cream brand Sunscoop has added it to their mint frozen coconut cream for a ready-made moringa fix. Moringa even features in Hownd’s range of vegan pet foods.  

What do these 2022 food trends mean for product labelling compliance? 

Boldly going where no brand has gone before (or at least very few have) is an innovative strategy for increasing sales and gaining new customers. But any new product development needs to be industry compliant – and sometimes new ingredients can make it a challenge to meet food labelling legislation.

The regulations surrounding the sale of CBD food and beverages are incredibly complex, for example, and vary from country to country. And the legal battle around whether plant-based drinks can be referred to as milk shows what a grey area CPG compliance can be. 

Even with straightforward ingredients such as mushrooms and hibiscus, food and beverage brands need to educate consumers on why they’re such great health boosters. And that educational journey starts with product labelling and packaging, following through marketing collateral and digital content with consistent, market-relevant messaging.

To maximise the value of 2022’s biggest food trends, CPG companies need to consider product marketing and labelling compliance while new ranges are in development – so you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as the recipe has been optimised and viability studies completed. 

Hooley Brown helps food and beverage brands accelerate your international product sales by creating compliant packaging that has been localised for every region you operate. 

For expert guidance on making food and beverages compliant in multiple markets and optimising your labelling, marketing materials and online product listings for sales growth, get in touch with Hooley Brown. 

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