The food and beverage industry is facing a “dynamic shift” when it comes to consumer preferences, according to a new report from T. Hasegawa, a Japanese producer of flavors and fragrances. The company released a comprehensive look at what it thinks the flavor interests of 2024 will be.
Health-conscious choices, affordability and nutritional quality will all be paramount in the year ahead, the report said, and for companies to stay at the forefront of the industry, aligning with consumer tastes and incorporating these trending ingredients into CPG products will be key:
- Economical, nutrient-rich ingredients
- Ingredients for sustained fullness
- Premium nutritional ingredients
- Health-conscious ingredients
In 2023, the food and beverage space saw companies start to respond to the shifting dynamic of more health-conscious consumers. W.K. Kellogg Co, for example, is the latest CPG brand to debut a better-for-you cereal as it pushes to attract more consumers in the millennial and Gen Z demographic. Its new puff offering is a protein-heavy and zero-sugar alternative to its traditional sweet offerings.
Meanwhile, a Whole Foods Market 2024 trends prediction report forecasts that consumers want to see the “plant” at the forefront of the plant-based category, an idea that some companies have strayed away from.
With a focus on protein content, more plant-based products are using ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh and legumes in place of complex meat alternatives.
Also in its report, Hasegawa declared ube to be the flavor of 2024, while other ingredients like cherry pepper, cilantro, white truffle, sweet chili and maple, among others, have seen rapid growth from 2019 to 2022, the report said.
By exploring ingredients that have essential nutrients while also maintaining affordability and satiating taste and quality desires, companies can respond diligently to the shifting tastebuds of consumers, according to the report.
Some examples of these types of ingredients are okara, a byproduct of soybeans; seaweed; astragalus, an adaptogenic herb known for its immune-boosting properties; and mycoprotein, a sustainable protein source hailing from fungi, among others.