USA – The food and beverage industry is emerging as a high-growth, high-profit industry with huge potential, especially in the food processing, packaging and functional foods segment.

Technological breakthroughs have enabled manufacturers to face a rapidly changing and highly competitive environment that has seen the overall processed food industry register a moderate growth rate over the past year.

FreshDirect, a food tech company and the Northeast’s leading online fresh food grocer, has released major food trends that the industry is set to embrace in the coming year.

The predictions were curated by FreshDirect and FoodKick’s in-house teams of food and wine specialists, who source products for the fresh, meat, seafood, dairy, cheese, deli, grocery, household, prepared meals, bakery, beer, and wine and spirits categories.

Plant based foods, an emerging category that has made major highlights year to date, was identified as the leading trend to watch out in the coming year as the market continues to evolve and expand into more categories.

In 2020, FreshDirect predicts that cauliflower will remain a top gluten substitute and oat will continue to gain traction as a creamy alternative milk to mix into your morning coffee.

2020 will bring new developments in and further solidification of organic, plant based, meat and cheese, the firm highlighted.

Regenerative agriculture, a relatively new concept aimed at combatting the strain that traditional farming practices and reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation, is also a trend to watch in the coming year.

Fresh Direct cited that increasing the soil quality and fertility of the land not only helps the environment, but also allows for better animal husbandry practices – all expected to contribute to growth in the sector.

Third on the list are on-the-go food and snacks. Consumption of on-the-go snacks is expected to continue increasing, while traditional meal preparation seems to lose more ground due to busy schedules.

“While snacks of the past can be unhealthy, the snacking of tomorrow consists of bite sized superfoods, healthy snack kits and subscription boxes,” FreshDirect said in the report.

Low-carb adult beverages are also projected to rip big from the evolving beverage industry as majority of diets call for a low carb intake.

The growth of spiked seltzers, led by White Claw is at the forefront of the trend and 2020 will see a continued diversification of flavors, brands and products for hard seltzers, as they appeal to anyone looking to enjoy a light and sessionable alcoholic beverage.

Craft beer brands have responded by adding fuller flavored styles, such as IPAs, at reduced alcohol and carb content, shaking up a segment that was traditionally cornered by micro-breweries and brands such as Bud Light and Michelob.

Organic, Natural and Biodynamic wine, functional beverage and gut health and artisan cheeses are also expected to continue driving food choices in the consumer market.

In addition, consumers have become increasingly educated on the food supply chain, ingredients and the environmental impact of food they consume.

This has led to resurgence in transparency and traceability along the food chains, and brands are also expected to continue with this trend in 2020.

“It’s an exciting time in the food and beverage industry, and our trends offer just a ‘taste’ of some of the innovations taking place right now in the marketplace,” said Scott Crawford, Chief Merchandising Officer, FreshDirect.