A Peek at the Trends

When people ask me what the trends in the food world are these days, there are three that readily jump to mind. Anyone want to take a guess?

Yes, cannabis is one of them. Somehow I never envisioned myself getting on a subscription list for cannabis products, and yet I can’t open my work email without a CBD message of some sort. Cannabis is being featured in education sessions at places such as Process Expo in Chicago. Companies are filing for patents, capital is being raised in the millions, chefs are experimenting with recipes, and CBD shops are setting up in former video stores.

So, of course, we are keeping our eye on the burgeoning industry and the regulations surrounding it. It’s closely tied to wellness, as even teetotaling church-goers are willing to give it a try for pain relief. It’s tied to flavor, nutrition, and novelty, making it an interesting category for restaurants and entertainment. And it’s tied to technology, as new extracts and additives get explored—after all, if cannabis can become so widely accepted—and become, reportedly, a $6 billion industry—well, what’s next?

Trend number two is plant-based—essentially, what used to be called vegan, only nobody wanted to commit to vegan. Plant-based is less a lifestyle and more an alternative, allowing you to trade out one thing for the other when you feel like it. The interesting thing here is not just that companies are spending a fortune in development. No, what’s interesting is that plant-based has such a health halo that it may be a rude wake-up call when consumers realize that some of these alternatives have just as many calories as their regular sandwich. There is still an education curve ahead on what’s in those burgers, and the messaging is likely to shift to the quality of the plants and the health benefits as opposed to eating meat—not the typical healthier-because-I’m-on-a-diet messaging.

Finally—at least until we put out our trends for 2020 list—we’re watching data. Yep, boring old numbers have new life as technology gives businesses more and more capabilities. There is a lot happening in the data world, from privacy to policy, and we are doing our best to keep up on the new functions, new questions, and new opportunities that will undoubtedly arise. Stay tuned for more.

And, if you guessed right on even two of these, maybe that means you already get our newsletter–if not, sign up here.