Brand Extension
Food & Drinks Trends: Quick Buzz or Sustainable Innovation?

Every year a few trendy products spring up and new ingredient sparks buzz. But when we look to identify sustainable trends in food and drink innovation at ProdigyWorks, we don’t concentrate on short-term shifts in popular products. Instead, we consider the long-term emerging forces that are shaping consumer preference, purchase behavior and shifting the competitive landscape. These are not annual forecasts in innovation; these are 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year sustainable opportunities that we help our clients get in front of.

When we look to this year’s Natural Products Expo West food show in Anaheim, many of the trends we will see at the show might endure as trends for years to come.  This is due an undercurrent of disruption that has been influencing product development trends for the past 5 to 10 years and that will continue to determine the way we view and consume food and beverages in the near future.  

Let’s take a look at some of the most impactful innovation trends that have been evolving for years, leading us to the compilation of food and drinks we see headed to market in 2019.

Plant-based meat

Ten years ago, your best bet for finding protein rich meat alternatives were soy-based burgers in the grocery store. Today that selection looks much different.  Now, as the popularity of plant-based protein ingredient rises, plant-based protein products have grown to include a wide variety of flavors, textures, and formats.  

Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are making vegetarian foods for meat eaters, designed to give consumers another option that is more environmentally-friendly and healthier — without foregoing the taste, feel and even look of meat. 



Functional Food and Drinks

The rising awareness of health and the growing demand for food and drinks with intrinsic health benefits has encouraged the thriving growth of functional foods and beverages.  Customers are looking for ingredients that address specific health issues like improving immunity, gut and digestive health and boosting memory.     

With healthcare costs continuing to rise, consuming natural foods that could improve health and probably reduce the risk of disease while enhancing our overall well-being is high on the minds of consumers. Expect to see the food industry develop a clear definition of functional foods and drinks in the future to lend credibility and help categorize the impact functional ingredients have on consumers’ health.



Research shows that food choices can have a big impact on the environment. Consumers are responding by demanding companies consider how food is being produced and how the types of foods we consume impact the environment. As a result, companies are changing their practices to gain a competitive edge and increase profits. 

Whether it is taking sustainability pledges, improving sourcing or shifting to environmentally friendly packaging, food and beverage companies will continue to take the initiative on environmental issues and increase the sustainability of their products to align with this underlying movement.

Every year, ProdigyWorks attends Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, looking for the latest standouts in emerging food and beverage trends. This year’s Expo West, will offer granular examples of the disruptive innovation that is shaping the food and beverage space, perhaps not as much in terms of breakout trends but more as a productive showcase for how today’s prominent food and beverage trends are being expressed and experimented with. 

Companies that tap into our diverse, global Mensa-based network of Prodigies, know that the quickest path to sustainable innovation and getting ahead of the competition comes from targeted, high-level outside thinking.

Will you be at Expo West?  Let’s chat.






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