In recent years, the food, flavor and fragrance industry entered a new age of progression, complete with advancements in technology and changing consumer preferences. The industry itself is booming, with the market projected to reach $37.3 billion by 2026, up 5.1% between 2021 and 2026. There are many factors contributing to this growth and evolution of industry demands. Let’s take a look at some of the top trends driving the food, flavor and fragrance industry today.
For a number of consumers, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered an acute awareness for the consequences of their consumption habits. Many recognized the impact of food on their own physical and mental health, and are now demanding more better-for-you options and clean-label ingredients and products.
With this increased health awareness has come a growing demand for companies to introduce plant-based proteins as meat alternatives. In fact, data shows that three in 10 consumers increased their consumption of plant proteins during the pandemic. Funding for the plant-based meat industry alone reached $1.4B in 2020 with household brand names like Nestlé rolling out their own plant-based products. We’ll continue to see food manufacturers jump on this trend as this new generation of health-conscious consumers increase their spending power.
Not only do consumers recognize the impact of food on their own physical health, but they also see the impact it has on the health of the planet. Because of this, there has been an increased call for manufacturers to reduce their environmental footprint and provide proof of sustainability practices.
This expectation comes with an increased demand for market transparency and clarity of the ingredients along the value chain, from the supplier through to the final product. These changes make space for the introduction of more innovative technologies, like digital olfaction, to provide easy-to-implement data and workflows to help support food, flavors and fragrance manufacturers as they evolve their products to meet sustainability demands.
There is also a vital need for increased traceability and transparency into supply chains to ensure product consistency in the industry. Ingredient shortages spurred by the supply chain challenges of the past two plus years can cause variability in final products, thus skewing the consumer’s overall experience.
As the industry braces for other potential waves, maintaining consistent, end product quality will remain key. Manufacturers will need to leverage more tools for increased visibility into supply chain activity, and can use technology such as digital olfaction to quickly assess incoming raw materials and ensure product consistency through odor analysis.
Lastly, another major trend affecting the food, flavors and fragrance industry is customer centricity. Today’s consumers crave fresh, innovative products that provide new sensory experiences. To meet this growing consumer demand and remain competitive, brands know they need to roll out more quality products and fast.
As a result, more manufacturers are turning to smart technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to work quickly and successfully maintain faster development cycles. Digital olfaction, for example, can be used for rapid formulation and product screening so manufacturers can better predict which products will resonate most with consumers.
While the exact future of the food, flavors and fragrances industry is uncertain, we predict that the constant changes in consumer preference and industry standards will continue to create a platform for technologies like ML and digital olfaction to provide support for manufacturers within the sector. Companies need to be willing and able to embrace new technologies and processes to be able to compete on the global stage.
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