Mintel, a market intelligence agency, produced a report on the anticipated global food industry trends for 2017. This forecast has very real implications for the packaging industry, as the packaging of products will be designed to meet the demands of these trends. Here are the article’s key points:

1) In Tradition We Trust
Consumers want traditional ingredients and products with which they are familiar, presented in modern and convenient packaging that tells the product’s story. These familiar products will be desired by people at all income levels. Product developers can take advantage of this likely global industry trend in 2017 by creating more fusion products and ingredients to modernize the traditional.

2) Power to the Plants
Vegetables will appear in more products as people’s desire to eat better grows. Plants will appear not only as ingredients, but also in the product’s name and/or description. This will align with the trend of a growing number of people selecting vegetarian or vegan products occasionally, but not as a complete lifestyle change. Plants will also be marketed to consumers as ingredients in packaged foods and for use in meals prepared at home. Many people want vegetables incorporated into the foods they eat as opposed to eaten on their own.

3) Waste Not
In the US, a goal has been set to cut the amount of food wasted in half by the year 2030 (currently, it is 133 million lbs). This will be done via the reduction or donation of food that is damaged or past the sell-by date. People are concerned with wasting food and will not participate in sales if they don’t think they will be able to use the food in time.

Another way food waste will be reduced is in the repurposing of it for the creation of new products and other alternative uses, such as energy. Grocery stores in the US will monitor the sale of blemished produce. They will also modify their supply chains to increase the freshness of produce. Imperfect produce will be promoted as still useable with the appeal of convenience; one way this will occur is through home delivery service of imperfect produce deemed not attractive enough for retail display. Packaging will need to increase the life of the food and be available in smaller quantities to reduce waste as well.

4) Time is of the Essence
Portable products that are easy to eat, as well as “slow” food, not “fast” food, will be desired by increasingly busy consumers. Manufacturers will need to clearly display the product’s preparation time on packaging, as consumers will continue to find such information extremely valuable. People want to save time in the kitchen so that they can spend more time simply sitting down and enjoying their meal with family.

5) The Night Shift
People desire comforting products in the evening to help them unwind before bed and get the most out of their sleeping hours. The introduction of more midnight snack/after-dinner food and drink options as components of nighttime rituals may become more prevalent.

6) Balancing the Scales: Health for Everyone
This predicted global industry trend for 2017 involves the accessibility of healthy food options to low-income consumers, who are susceptible to obesity and diabetes. Low-income consumers desire to eat better but need affordable ways to do so. The offering of food and drink options that are made with ingredients previously wasted is one way for low-income consumers to have better access to healthy ingredients.

From health trends to the importance of time-saving products, these forecasted global industry trends of 2017 will shape the packaging industry. As consumers’ needs change, it is always important to keep our ears to the ground and eyes open in order to anticipate the changes and fads in order to stay ahead of the packaging curve.

Source: Zegler, J. of Mintel Ltd. (2016). Global food and drink trends 2017. Retrieved from