As we edge closer to 2024, the food and beverage industry is once again on the cusp of groundbreaking innovations that could redefine how we produce, consume, and think about our food.
Ever wondered what's the next big thing? Staying updated on the latest trends isn’t just about being in the know; it’s about seizing lucrative opportunities and ensuring your business remains at the forefront of industry evolution.
With the pace of change in the F&B sector, it can be overwhelming even for seasoned executives to keep track. Yet, missing out on these shifts could mean overlooking pivotal business growth avenues.
Don't fret. We've done the heavy lifting for you. We reached out to GourmetPro's extensive network of over 150 global food and beverage industry experts, asking them one simple question: What industry trend are they closely following for 2024? What follows is a comprehensive compilation of the top 15 insights, ensuring you look towards the future equipped with a pro's perspective.
15 Food and Beverage Innovation Trends To Watch In 2024
- Cultivated Meat
- Precision Fermentation
- Mushrooms (Mycelium)
- Precision Nutrition
- Functional Beverages
- Next Generation Sweeteners
- AI for everything
- Smart Kitchen Tech
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages
- Sustainable Packaging
- Decentralized Production
- Agriculture 2.0
- Tech-Powered Supply Chain Transparency
1. Cultivated Meat
Cultivated meat, a method of producing meat without traditional farming, is gaining traction due to rising concerns about sustainability, ethics, and health in the meat industry. While early critics like Dr. Dave Humbird pointed to potential scaling challenges, advancements in the field suggest a brighter future.
In 2023, two companies, UPSIDE FOODS, and GOOD Meat, which already sell their products in Singapore, received the first-ever regulatory approval to sell cultivated meat in the USA. Since then, companies have been making stronger pushes for regulatory approval in Europe and the UK. After building momentum in 2023, the F&B industry will be paying close attention for further signs of progress for this futuristic technology in 2024.
Currently, there's a particular interest in the idea of hybrid products, which blend plant-based and cultivated meat. These products, even with just 10% cultivated meat, reportedly offer a richer taste than their fully plant-based counterparts. They’re also easier to scale than a pure cultivated product so there’s potential we might see commercial launches next year.
2. Precision Fermentation
Gaining traction for its potential to replace traditional dairy products, precision fermentation is a solution to produce animal proteins without animals. The global market for precision fermentation-based ingredients, estimated to be worth USD 2.3 billion in 2023, is expected to increase 15X by 2030 to a value of over USD 30 billion. Given the anticipated growth trajectory for this tech, F&B players are beginning to actively invest in the space.
Precision fermentation is the process of using a genetically engineered organism, yeast for example, to “brew” value-added compounds like proteins and enzymes. Imagine a process similar to making beer, except the output is enzymes like casein, not booze.
The technology is being employed by startups like Perfect Day and New Culture to produce dairy ingredients without cows. As livestock contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions, proponents laud precision fermentation as a sustainable alternative to conventional dairy production.
3. Mushroom (Mycelium) Protein
Mushrooms are a highly diverse food product. From fabric to meat alternatives, their multifunctionality is unrivaled.
The market for Mycelium (the root-like structures of fungi)meat substitutes is hotly anticipated by players in the F&B space. Mycelium is nutrient-dense, protein-rich, and efficient to grow compared to many other protein sources. Products made with the fungi also require minimal processing due to the natural “meaty” texture and taste of mycelium, something that has turned consumers off “highly-processed” plant-based meats.
Quorn is currently the only major brand to produce mycelium-based meat substitutes, but up-and-comers like Mycorena and The Better Meat Co. are helping to launch the next generation of mushroom-based proteins.
Algae, the green gold of nutrition, is trending as a superfood and sustainable protein source. Its benefits range from omega-rich content to carbon capture.
As the world‘s supply of agricultural land continues to be squeezed by demand from our growing global population, algae is attractive because it can be grown in water.
The microalgae market size is estimated to reach USD 18 billion by 2033. Companies like MiAlgae and Green Stream Farms are seeing success in producing algae for sustainable omega-3 supplements. Be it vitamins or the next plant burger, the F&B world is excited about how algae will grow in 2024.
💡 Thailand: An Unexpected Opportunity for Your Food and Beverage Innovation?
Thailand is APAC’s most overlooked market opportunity. Especially when it comes to food and beverage innovation. We interviewed a local expert who revealed a roadmap for a rewarding entry into the Thai market for your innovative F&B products. Check it out here.
5. Personalized Nutrition
The era of one-size-fits-all diets is over. Precision nutrition offers tailored dietary recommendations, and even individually customized products. Predicted to be a USD 37 billion market by 2030 according to Bloomberg, advances in fast mass-market diagnostic tech and customized F&B products are driving this trend.
Companies like Rem3dy in the UK have already achieved complete personalization by leveraging 3D printing to create vitamin gummies designed for individuals' biological profiles. This is a concept that will remain at the forefront of food and beverage innovation during the coming decade.
6. Functional Beverages
Beverages that do more than quench thirst are on the rise. These drinks not only refresh but also offer health benefits ranging from improved digestion to enhanced cognitive function. The functional beverages market is currently pegged at USD 110 billion, with a CAGR of 8% predicted over the next five years.
Some of the big categories to watch in 2024 include:
Energy and Focus Enhancers
Energy drinks are all the rage all over the world. But consumers are starting to demand more than ones that are just crammed with caffeine like coffee and Monster. Natural products that raise energy and engage focus are becoming big business.
- YATE: This energy tea, based on yerba-mate, offers a caffeine boost similar to coffee but without the typical downsides such as energy crashes.
- Focus from Doctor V: An energy drink from Australia enriched with nootropics and adaptogens, such as pine needle extract and sea buckthorn berries.
Relaxation and Recovery Solutions
At the same time that consumers seek a buzz, they want beverages to help them de-stress and refresh. A market for drinks infused with ingredients like L-Theanine and GABA as well as protein and vitamins is bubbling up to meet their needs.
- Soulboost: PepsiCo’s functional sparkling water, launched in the US in 2021, it's formulated with real fruit juices and L-theanine, a nootropic known to foster relaxation.
- Sleep & Recovery Lemon: A product by the German startup, Just Legends, this milkshake mix aims to promote sleep and is specifically targeted at gamers and those spending extended periods in front of screens.
Gut and Immune Boosters
Heard of the gut-brain axis? Who hasn’t! During the past few years, science has shone a spotlight on the important role our digestive system plays in our holistic health, both physical and mental. These breakthroughs have driven demand amongst consumers for drinks that support gut health and overall immunity.
- Poppi: A prebiotic soda that's enriched with Apple Cider Vinegar, giving it a significant place in the US functional soda market.
- Immune Tea: A venture from the Tetley tea brand, this tea is designed to boost the immune system with ingredients like Vitamin C and Zinc.
Healthy and Functional Juices
Juice was starting to get a bad rep for its high sugar content. In response, the beverage industry has been investing in fortified juices that put the drink squarely back on the health-conscious consumers' menu.
- Fruitify by Dole: A line of functional juices fortified with beneficial ingredients such as turmeric and coconut water, emphasizing no added sugars in their composition.
7. Next Generation Sweeteners
As the world pivots towards healthier food choices, the demand for alternative sweeteners continues to surge. These sugar substitutes, usually natural, are often favored for their lower calorie content and potential health benefits.
Sweeteners like Stevia and Monk Fruit are already being employed in products from confectionary giants like Barry Callebaut and Mondalez.
Then there are also emerging sweeteners like Allulose. Structurally similar to regular sugar but virtually calorie-free, this sweetener has many in the F&B space excitedly figuring out how to add it to their product formulation.
With nearly one-third of all food produced being wasted, the F&B industry is looking for every opportunity to upcycle would-be-waste. By repurposing by-products or discarded ingredients, companies can reduce waste while producing delicious and sustainable products.
Brands like Regrained are creating snack bars from spent grains, a by-product of the beer-making process. The upcycled food market, still in its infancy, is projected to see a growth of 5% annually. With consumer consciousness around sustainability rising, upcycling stands out as an innovative solution.
Another exciting area in the fight against food waste is technology which enables companies reduce waste during production. IKEA in the UK for example leveraged machine vision from startup Winnow to reduce their food waste by 50%.
9. AI for Everything
In 2023, AI has emerged as an essential ingredient of food and beverage innovation.
AI is revolutionizing F&B from every aspect of the value chain from farm to fork. AI is being used to optimize crop growth, formulate innovative products, recommend menu items to consumers, and much more.
Alongside the boom in AI, startups seeking to support players in overcoming the cold-start problem (a lack of quality data that AI must feed on to be a solution of value) are greasing the wheels for the automation-enabled F&B industry.
Companies like Wendy’s have already enhanced their operations using AI solutions that automate the drive-through order experience for consumers.
💡Discover Everything You Need To Know About The Future Of Food and Beverage Innovation @ Agri-Food Tech Expo Asia (Oct 31 ~ Nov 02, 2023)
Curious about the forefront of food and beverage innovation? Look no further than the Agri-Food Tech Expo Asia!
Held at the heart of Asia's vibrant Agri-Food hub, the Expo presents a unique "living lab" environment, allowing established and budding industry leaders alike to unveil, exhibit, and perfect their pioneering solutions. From experiential zones and sandbox settings to community-driven learning opportunities, immerse yourself in an event molded by industry luminaries.
Imagine collaborating with top minds, absorbing invaluable insights, and fostering partnerships that could redefine the future of agriculture. Together, we have the power to drive pivotal shifts toward sustainability, food security, and innovative production.
Don't miss your chance! Dive into an ocean of opportunities and lead the agri-food revolution:
10. Smart Kitchen Tech
The modern kitchen is becoming a tech hub. Smart appliances that sync with your dietary needs, AI-driven recipes tailored to what's in your fridge, and automated cooking processes are just a few innovations on the horizon.
Brands like Brava with their light-based oven technology are already providing faster, more energy-efficient cooking solutions. As homes become more connected, kitchens will evolve into spaces that prioritize convenience, health, and sustainability. To this end, home applicant manufacturer Electrolux has developed a future kitchen concept, GRO, that reimagines the entire kitchen space for a sustainable future.
Blueprints like this will continue to emerge in 2024 and should be used to inform how the F&B industry plans future products.
11. Non-alcoholic Beverages
Health-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out non-alcoholic beverages that don’t compromise on taste or experience. Brands are responding with sophisticated alternatives to alcoholic classics.
Seedlip, for instance, offers distilled non-alcoholic spirits capturing the essence of traditional counterparts. The non-alcoholic beverage market, currently valued at USD 25 billion, is set to grow by 7% in the next year, proving that there's plenty of thirst for these innovative drinks.
12. Sustainable Packaging
As the environmental crisis accelerates, the F&B industry is pivoting towards sustainable packaging solutions, aiming to reduce its carbon footprint. From plant-based plastics to zero-waste packaging, businesses are innovating to meet consumer demand for eco-conscious alternatives.
With the sustainable packaging market for F&B expected to exceed 100 billion USD in value over the next five years, startups are hungry to develop solutions in the space. Earlier this year, the University of Cambridge spun off Xampla, a startup developing edible and biodegradable plant-based packaging.
As regulations begin to demand companies use eco-friendly packaging for their products, F&B giants across the world will likely increase investment in solutions in 2023.
13. Distributed Production
The traditional centralized production model is undergoing a paradigm shift. Distributed production, or decentralized manufacturing, is emerging as a more efficient, resilient, and eco-friendly approach.
It brings the F&B industry the following benefits:
- Hyper-Local Production: By producing goods closer to the end consumer, companies can reduce transportation costs, decrease carbon emissions, and ensure faster delivery.
- Customization and Flexibility: Distributed production facilitates quick adjustments to product lines, catering to local preferences or addressing specific market demands.
- Resilience Against Disruptions: With multiple production sites, supply chain disruptions in one region can be compensated by increased production in another, safeguarding against potential losses.
Food companies like Kroger have started to invest in tech, like 3D printing, that will enable the industry's vision for localized food and beverage production.
14. Agriculture 2.0
As the global population grows, the challenge to produce more food using fewer resources intensifies. Enter Agriculture 2.0, the incorporation of tech advancements and sustainable practices in farming.
- Precision Agriculture: Using IoT devices and AI, farmers can monitor and manage their crops at a granular level, optimizing water, nutrient, and pesticide use.
- Vertical Farming: By growing crops in stacked layers, often in controlled indoor environments, vertical farms can produce more food per square foot, using less water and no pesticides.
- CRISPR and Genetically Edited Organisms: Emerging genetic technologies can help develop crops that are more nutritious, resilient, and have a higher yield.
- Soil Health: Innovative farming practices like no-till farming and the use of biofertilizers are being adopted to preserve soil health and ensure long-term agricultural productivity.
15. Tech-powered Supply Chain Transparency
Global pandemics, wars, environmental turmoil, and more have revealed just how fragile the world’s food supply chains are in the last few years. Now F&B industry executives are working extra hard to create more resilient supply chains for their businesses. Consequently, the supply chain has become a central focus for food and beverage innovation.
The number of solutions emerging in this space is vast and interesting. For example, academia and startups are developing “DNA barcodes” for F&B, a process that adds yeast strains to products, which can then be traced at every stage of the supply chain.
In 2024, innovative solutions like these will only grow in number and importance for the F&B industry.
Ready to Master Food and Beverage Innovation?
From the rise of functional drinks and sustainable packaging to the revolutionary strides in Agriculture 2.0 and tech-powered supply chain transparency, the F&B landscape is undergoing a profound transformation. If you're keen to ride this wave of innovation, now is the time to act. Partner with GourmetPro, your global nexus of seasoned F&B maestros. With decades of experience under their belts, our experts have been the backbone of success for the world's premier F&B brands. Whether it's product development, process optimization, or strategic planning, we've got the expertise to elevate your vision. Dive into the exciting world of F&B innovation with GourmetPro and shape the future of food.
FAQ for 15 Essential Food and Beverage Innovation Trends For 2024
What is innovation in food and beverage?
Innovation in food and beverage refers to the process of introducing new, improved, or unique products, methods, or technologies to enhance the culinary experience, meet consumer demands, or address industry challenges.
What are examples of food innovation?
From the article, examples include cultivated meat alternatives, precision fermentation replacing dairy, mycelium as a protein source, and personalized nutrition offerings tailored for individuals. These represent just a few of the game-changing trends in the F&B landscape for 2024.
Why is innovation important in F&B?
The F&B industry faces challenges like sustainability, health concerns, and shifting consumer tastes. Without adapting, brands risk obsolescence and missed opportunities. GourmetPro, with its expertise, aids brands in leveraging innovation to meet these challenges, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the industry's evolution. Connect with us today and begin your innovation journey: