Three emerging food and drink trends for 2023

07 December 2022, 13:39 PM
  • As 2023 fast approaches, we look into three key trends that will shape shopping choices in the new year
Three emerging food and drink trends for 2023

Every new year brings a host of new trends and consumer demands, and 2023 is no different. Find out what the hottest food and drink styles are and why. 

Health and wellness
As in previous years, health and wellness have shaped a number of trends, as consumers continue to take a proactive and holistic approach to well-being. 2023 is no different.

According to Mike Hughes, head of research and insight at FMCG Gurus, “The first health-orientated trend is Fuel my Mood which describes how consumers will place greater emphasis on happiness, emotional wellness, and energy levels, especially as they realize the impact that fatigue can have on long-term wellness. 

“Another trend related to health is Finding Balance which emphasizes how consumers will look to step back from daily pressures and re-evaluate what is important to them, prioritizing their health, self-educating themselves about wellness issues, and doing their best to ensure they are not overawed by daily pressures and stresses. 

“Proactive Profiles highlights how consumers are continuing to take a long-term approach to wellness and stay fit and active until as late in life as possible. Linked to this, consumers are also recognizing the link between digestive health and immunity, a trend that will continue to become more prevalent as awareness of the gut microbiome grows. 

“Finally, for health and wellness, Technolution looks at how technology will be seen as the way forward for offering new forms of innovation in the market, ranging from personalized products to fermentation and fortification, to cultivated products.”

These ideas were mirrored in Waitrose’s Food and Drink Report for 2022-23, which read, “As we continue to prioritise our mental wellbeing in 2023, protecting our brains will become just as important as perfecting our bodies. This means an increased focus on ‘brain food’ such as fatty fish like tuna and salmon, blueberries, broccoli, kale, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and rocket to improve memory and focus.”

New spirits on the block
One big shift projected for 2023 is the decline of gin and the rise of two other spirits: rum and tequila. 

“We’re seeing a decline in gin compared to 2019, in particular in flavoured gin which was a big trend five years ago, while tequila sales have doubled in size (up 116%) from 2020 to 2021”, explained John Vine, spirits buyer at Waitrose.

In particular, cristalino tequila is being hailed as the ‘next big thing in tequila’. Like many aged tequilas,  cristalino is matured in the usual way, but then it is filtered to remove the colours as well as some of the stronger woodier notes picked up from the oak barrel. The result is a drink that is clear, crisp and slightly sweeter but still retains the character of aged tequila.

According to data from the store, the UK is now officially the third-largest rum market in the world. The reason for its success? Because it’s so versatile – you can mix any kind of rum with anything, from Coke to coconut water, and not forgetting the all-important splash of tonic.

The rise of rum as a trending tipple has been very apparent to Brad Wicks, head of marketing at Devon Rum Co. He told Speciality Food, “I’d say the recent growth in the spiced and flavoured rum sector has encouraged more consumers to make rum the focus for big occasions throughout the year. Just like gin before it, rum’s now enjoying a renaissance, and a real passion among consumers for artisan rums is driving this.”

A focus on planet-friendly food
In times of economic crisis, shoppers are seen to value brands that reassure people that they have their best interests at heart and their hard-earned cash is going to good causes. 

As Mike explained, “Concerns will continue to exist around the state of the environment, and the Blue Planet trend showcases how people expect brands to take a holistic and proactive approach to sustainable practice along the whole of the supply chain, especially as people make changes to their diets and lifestyles to behave in a more environmentally friendly manner. 

“This is something that creates new opportunities around technology, with the Age of Innovation highlighting how consumers expect brands to be as resourceful as possible, avoid waste, develop new farming practices that are natural, and address issues such as food waste and carbon emissions.”

For example, Waitrose has highlighted the rise of the Locavore, a term used to describe a trend for people buying products grown as locally as possible to minimise their carbon footprint. Locavores buy meat, vegetables and dairy produced in their region and the strictest will even stick to a 100-mile radius.

In fact, 22% of those surveyed by the chain said they now consider the number of air miles a product takes to get to the shelf. This is something fine food retailers such as farm shops can certainly cash in on, with their short food chains and local suppliers.

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