Keeping Track of the Trends: Our Mid-Year Nourish Trend Report Update — Part One

It’s hard to believe 2024 is half over already. But, rather than dwell on the rapid progress of time, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to see how our trends from the 2024 Nourish Trend Report are playing out and highlight some of them in action. We’ve been publishing trend reports for over eight years and still have many blue ocean opportunities within them. A lot has happened, so we’ll split this over two newsletters.

We teased our AI and GLP-1 trends in the Report’s preface, as we saw those creating fairly immediate changes in the food system. (We even used AI—expertly wielded by one of our designers—to help realize our vision for the cover image.) While the AI prediction was widely made, we got a lot of laughs last November with the “Ozempic effect.” However, it’s been one of the most discussed trends since! For a deeper discussion, see our March blog here.

Let’s start with the big one touching all our lives: Artificial Intelligence is finally the game-changer sci-fi writers long envisioned. How is it being applied in Food & Beverage?

A New Way of Thinking: AI Arrives for the Masses at Home and Across the F&B System

Is it just me who is unsettled by the fact that “despite headlines about the bias in AI, we actually trust our fellow humans less than we trust the computers.” Such is the state of trust these days! I suppose it’s hard not to trust “someone” who helps you in a tangible way, has a friendly demeanour, and never judges no matter what you ask of it.

AI Can Be Your Personal Concierge and Nutritionist

We specifically noted AI’s ability to accelerate the personalized nutrition trend, something we’ve been tracking for years. Who hasn’t tried ChatGPT for a recipe recommendation based on how you like to eat and, crucially, what you have on hand to cook with? Smart, responsive recipes are the future, especially as AI-enhanced products enter more homes, like Samsung’s Bespoke 4-Door Flex fridge with AI Family Hub+. Equipped with an internal camera and onboard AI, it recognizes more than 30 common grocery items you have stocked and can suggest recipes based on them.

Nourished nutritional gummy
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Perhaps some of our older readers haven’t tried AI for recipes. But you might be familiar with swallowing a handful of vitamins in the morning! That could be a thing of the past with tailor-made gummies. Nutrient 'Life Stacks' are 3D printed with personalized scientifically-backed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Freshly made on demand, these tasty nutrient stacks are formulated to help complement and enhance your mind and body's requirements, whatever your day-to-day looks like. They also have “her stacks” and “sleep stacks,” leaning into some of our previous years’ trends—This One’s for the Ladies (female nutrition) and Good Eats, Better Sleeps from the 2023 Trend Report.

Nutrition Tech To Go

Wearables give consumers confidence in what their bodies need right now by tracking heart rate, glucose levels, etc. Some are already wearing continuous glucose monitors (they aren’t just for people with diabetes anymore!), from companies like Levels and Nutrisense, that provide real-time data on their smartphones, allowing for immediate adjustments to dietary choices. This could be the next step: January AI's new app uses generative AI to predict how food will impact your blood sugar, potentially replacing CGMs.

Meanwhile, there’s exciting news from the University of Waterloo, where researchers have developed a health patch that could be the next big step in consumer wearables! This painless, skin-applied patch allows for continuous monitoring of vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels, redefining convenience in personal health tracking. This technology bridges the gap between medical-grade monitoring and consumer convenience, offering a seamless way to keep tabs on your health without the invasiveness of traditional methods.

Marketing and Product Development Are Getting the AI Touch

AI, which is adept at scanning and analyzing large amounts of data, is being used to review online recipes, restaurant menus, and e-commerce sites to identify emerging food and flavour trends. Generative AI can be trained on chemical compounds responsible for taste and aroma in food and beverages. By generating new combinations of these compounds, it can assist in the development of novel flavours and fragrances. So, AI gathers the data, and AI creates the flavours to capitalize on them. Just don’t forget to include your own intuition and experience in the process!

AI-Conic Coffee

Finally, we look at a tech innovation in coffee. AI-conic Coffee is a groundbreaking coffee blend crafted by AI. AI “somewhat weirdly” chose to make the blend out of four different types of coffee beans rather than the usual two or three, allowing taste distinction between flavours from various origins. After the first test roasting and blind testing, Kaffa’s coffee experts agreed that the tech-assisted blend was perfect, and there was no need for human adjustments. And, we’re guessing, there were fewer wasted beans from multiple testing iterations.

High and Dry: Water Will No Longer Be Seen as a Free Good

The most vital of all resources literally falls down from the sky upon us. And yet, it seems to forever be in short supply—at least the clean, potable stuff is. We continue to see increased competition for water and widespread shortages; appearing to use more than your fair share is not a good look right now. In that vein, as predicted, we are seeing more products making water claims. According to Innova, there’s been an 82% increase in reduced water use claims on packaging over the past five years.

Kazoo Snack’s water-saving tortilla chips won Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Sustainable Innovation Award. It uses 40% upcycled corn germ for a reduced water foodprint of at least 16 gallons per 11 oz bag compared to 100% new-growth corn. And Hope Sesame milk claims to use 75% less water to produce than almond milk. That’s refreshing!

Plus, did you know you can “grow” water? AquaBotanical Water claims to be “the world’s first plant-sourced water.” They harvest the water stored in carrots, tomatoes, and sugar cane that would have otherwise been wasted and bottle it. Each bottle contains water from a single fruit or vegetable harvest based on season and availability. This innovative product also leans into our upcycling trend from our 2017 Nourish Trend Report, proving the incredible staying power of truly transformative trends.

Staying Sharp: Eating for Brain Health and Cognitive Performance

In this trend, we centred out choline as an essential nutrient crucial to brain health and overall cognitive function. Despite its importance, 90% of us do not get enough. However, searches for choline have steadily increased over the past few years as consumers catch on to its value. The "Good source of choline" claim is the first nutrient content claim to be authorized under the US’s FDAMA (Food & Drug Administration Modernization Act) and was obtained by Central Soya. Expect more packaging claims leveraging this thoughtful health benefit.

Centr Enhanced Water

Want to drink your way to a better brain? Centr Enhanced Functional Sparkling Water is a beverage that includes Cognizin-branded citicoline. Citicoline is a brain health nutrient and nootropic that supports comprehensive brain health. The beverage was nominated for the Best New Functional Food or Beverage category at the Natural Products Expo West trade show.

And here’s a smart move! MOSH‘s nutrition bar, highlighted in our Trend Report, has reformulated its signature brain blend to add Cognizin Citicoline and rebranded to highlight its Brain + Body Fuel. If a snack bar can give you a cognitive edge and satisfy a craving, that makes it an attractive choice over empty calories in a traditional snack or candy bar.

There’s plenty more where this came from! Stay tuned for Part Two of our mid-year Trend Report review in August. If you haven’t read the 2024 Nourish Trend Report, download your free copy now.

An Open Invitation to Chat
At Nourish, I like to say that we know a lot about a little. As food specialists, we bring a wealth of expertise and industry connections to the table. We are proud to be 100% Canadian and female-owned, and we work across North America and globally to deliver exceptional results. Our unique expertise and dedication make us the ideal partner for your marketing needs. Let’s work together to achieve your goals and drive your business forward.

Can I buy you a great in-person or virtual coffee? I’d love to discuss how we can help you achieve your marketing objectives.

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