At ACI Group, the nature of our business means we need to be able to see the future.
This isn’t down to any clairvoyance (that we know of) but is down to a wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of global supply chains and the issues that affect them. Such detailed knowledge of the present gives us unparalleled insights into the future. That means we’re in the perfect position to share our insights on the key trends that will shape the food industry in 2023.
Sliced bread proves its worth to retailers
The trusty loaf of bread will continue its comeback this year, alongside a similar increase in rolls, wraps, and other related baked goods.
This is in large part due to the cost-of-living crisis that will continue to squeeze consumers throughout 2023. With household budgets under more pressure than ever – a pressure that will only continue to ratchet up throughout the year – consumers will respond by seeking out cheaper products that can supplement a smaller meal and fill up their family. Low-priced and own-label brands will be the big winners here.
For years, the humble soft white sliced loaf of bread has seen its market share squeezed by more upmarket, artisanal products like sourdough loaves, as well as a sudden spike in home baking that took place during lockdown. In 2022, it proved to be a big hit on store shelves, with sales rising by 17% over the year – and these numbers will only grow throughout 2023.
Form and function in premium brands
While lower-priced bread and baked goods will have a strong 2023, we will also see an increase in the number of premium brands using additives to create wellness products.
After several years of headlines about a health service in varying states of crisis and a pandemic-induced focus on health and wellbeing, the stage is set for functional ingredients to drive differentiation and add value across premium products.
The use of pro, pre, and post-biotics, botanics, and algae like astaxanthin will all increase across a wide range of food and beverage products. Consumers are looking for lower prices, yes, but more importantly, they are looking for more value from their purchases. Servicing the global desire for products that promote health and wellness – particularly those that can demonstrate scientific backing – will therefore be a key route to success for many businesses in 2023.
Diversifying supply chains to source functional ingredients and additives will therefore become a key strategy for many businesses in 2023 too!
Protein, protein, protein
Consumers will continue to demand high-protein products to squeeze more nutritional value from every penny they spend. New protein sources are already emerging onto the market to capitalise on this, while insect protein will also start to make inroads in the mainstream.
Last year, soy crispies became a popular addition to protein bars and other products. With some crispies offering 95% protein, this meant they offered superior protein content to many forms of whey without causing stomach issues – a common problem experienced by many whey consumers.
It means that, while pea and wheat proteins will increase in popularity – and insect protein will make its way into confectionery and other functional foods – soy will remain the heavyweight protein.
The plant-based market continues to bear fruit
Another continuing trend is the continued adoption of vegan foods and plant-based ingredients. As sustainability continues to dominate the headlines, the environmental impact of the meat industry will fall under even more intense scrutiny in 2023. As a result, consumers will continue to look to reduce their red meat intake.
Textured meat substitutes remain a hit with consumers who wish to adopt a full or partial vegan diet. These ingredients are now a fixture in products at high-street fast-food chains and supermarket shelves.
The majority of these products will be soy-based, offering high protein content in addition to many other nutritional benefits. Continued developments in texture and flavouring will help stock shelves with new ranges of plant-based pies, sausage rolls, vegan egg substitutes and vegan tuna. And, as most of these ingredients can be sourced sustainably from Europe, their environmental footprint will be significantly lower than many meat products, servicing the sustainability megatrend that commands the attention of every industry.
When times are tough, many of us turn to comfort food. And with a gloomy economic forecast causing consternation across the globe, those unhealthy but flavoursome treats are set to be even more tempting to consumers who can spare some disposable income. However, this phenomenon will take a slightly healthier form this year.
In 2023’s more health-conscious world, with the pandemic’s focus on boosting the immune system still fresh in the mind of many consumers, this will manifest as a desire for those sinful flavours without the sin. In other words, foods that satisfy consumers’ sweet teeth without loading their bodies with sugar and saturated fat are set for a big 2023.
Ingredients that can enhance or create healthy sweet flavours to be used in meal replacement shakes and immunity-boosting functional foods will see a dramatically raised profile this year.
Blurring the line between B2B and B2C
Behind every business is a team of consumers. These consumers, like all other consumers, are accustomed to the hyper-personalised experience they get from eCommerce giants like Amazon. The old school of B2B trading, where it was acceptable to take large orders and deliver them at an indeterminate point in the future, is long gone. The new school is immediate and digital.
B2B-oriented businesses will be forced to be much more discerning in who they use to support their supply chains in 2023. They will rely on services they know they can trust, from companies whose values they share. To deliver this, B2B suppliers will continue to digitise their own supply chains as much as possible in order to provide snappy, B2C-like service to their customers.
What does this mean for your business?
2023 will prove to be a difficult year many businesses as price rises and legislation changes across the world begin to have an impact. That means it’s more important than ever to bolster your supply chains with a distributor you can always rely on. At ACI Group, we pride ourselves on our deep knowledge of food industry, and we use it to make a real difference on behalf of our additive manufacturer and producer customers every day.
To learn more about how we can help you in 2023, get in touch today by clicking here.