Innovation is finding its way into the food and beverage space this year in unique ways, largely focused on solving important problems in the world and the lives of its consumers. Looking to 2020 and beyond, we see innovation continuing in 4 key areas.
A craving for customization
Consumer interest in customized solutions will continue to drive the evolution of products at a flavor, ingredient and cause level. Consumers continue to look for quality products that support causes they believe in, while also allowing them to explore flavors and ingredients that meet their needs and preferences. This demand for customization has fueled the rise of startups like Mod Pizza and Brassica, which are finding success in offering customized options for consumers interested in exploring flavors and ingredients. We believe we’ll continue to see startups with unique ideas, flavors and concepts like these thrive.
As consumers also continue to explore personalized diet concepts, opportunities to innovate will grow. Companies will continue to look for unique ingredients to create great tasting products that align with keto, paleo, gluten-free or low-glycemic diets. We are seeing companies utilize ingredients like protein-rich collagen and low-glycemic sweeteners like allulose to create unique offerings. As this trend continues, delivering novel products will be key in differentiating in the marketplace. Nurturing these groundbreaking ideas and helping startups scale and thrive is also essential.
Focusing in on flavors
When it comes to meeting consumer demand for experiencing new flavors—particularly deeply authentic one —companies can’t afford to stand still. We are seeing the breadth and depth of consumer interest in sampling new flavors only increase. This includes global cuisines, particularly those that are chef-inspired and bring deeply authentic, often very regional, tastes to a consumer base that enjoys new experiences. We believe we’ll continue to see these chef-inspired innovations drive consumer interest.
As consumer curiosity continues, it’s essential to stay connected to trends and flavors that excite and interest them. This connection will be the lifeblood of companies that thrive—doing the work to explore new restaurants, travel, work with ingredient suppliers and connect with those in the industry at incubators like The Hatchery. We know consumers are open to food and flavor exploration more than ever, particularly when dietary and cause-driven, so an essential question to remaining relevant is, “What’s the next problem to be solved for consumers?”
Connecting with cause-driven consumers
As climate change drives consumer interest in sustainability, demand for healthier, more sustainable products will continue. This new level of consumer consciousness around lowering their environmental impact means not only an interest in items that taste good, but in knowing they are doing good by consuming them. Consumers look for sustainable packaging and love the stories behind those who produce their food and drink options.
This growing interest in sustainability is driving companies to look for more efficient protein options, which means a continued explosion of interest in plant-based protein. As consumer preferences shift, plant-based meat alternatives will continue to be a focus of innovation. In fact, a UBS report predicts the plant-based market will grow from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion by 2030. We believe this estimate could be conservative if innovation and consumer awareness continue to drive more consumption. This will drive a continued interest in pioneering new and unique sources of protein as we look to meet the demand for more efficient protein options.
Plant protein production
As the world’s population grows, a key question we’re all asking is, “How are we going to supply protein?” Finding sustainable and innovative ways to produce protein remains a focus. This means leveraging ingredients—like watermelon seed, pumpkin, peas, chickpeas and numerous others—to use their unique flavors, textures and qualities to create plant-based products analogous to familiar meat-based items that consumers love. Finding new protein sources and improving flavors, textures and processing to create better products will be important. Consumers continue to respond to improved plant-based products, which means continued demand.
Success in creating plant-based alternatives to burgers, chicken, and sausages has led to further interest in developing new products—from plant-based fish to researching ways to create meat from cultivated animal cells. More than $16 billion has been invested in U.S. plant-based and cell-based meat companies in the past decade, with $13 billion of it in 2017 and 2018, according to The Good Food Institute. These investments will fuel innovation to help alleviate demand on the environment and offer more efficient ways to produce protein the world needs and wants. As new applications are developed, we’ll also see more recipe and flavor exploration as well as new and novel products that differentiate themselves in the marketplace and are tailored to appeal to a growing cause-driven consumer market.
An eye for innovation
While we certainly can make predictions regarding the food and beverage industry this year, it’s essential to keep a keen eye on the horizon for trends and innovations. Remaining connected to Chicago’s rich history of food and flavor innovation as well as its tremendous opportunities for synergy, resources and meaningful connections with one another can only help continue this legacy. Exposing ourselves to new environments, conversations and perspectives will enrich the work we all do and cultivate the possibility of pioneering new and novel ideas.
This article was submitted and written by JPG Resources.
About JPG - Whether your goal is to launch an innovative food brand or add a new revenue stream to your powerhouse CPG portfolio, JPG’s integrated end-to-end food business approach delivers go-to-market success. We believe that your final food product must work all the way through production, branding, promotion, sales, distribution and the full P&L – not just on a lab bench. Contact JPG here.
Food Business News & Sosland Publishing are looking for exciting new food and beverage start-ups to exhibit at their Food Entrepreneur Expo (August 26-27, 2020). This second annual event is a deep dive into “what’s new” and “what’s next” for the food and beverage industry. If you are interested in exhibiting as a start-up (early stage, pre-revenue, or later stage) - please contact Monic Watrous via email for application information. CFBN Member and want to attend? Visit your Member Perks area for more information and a 10% discount code off registration! Visit the full event listing here!
Since its launch almost 3 years ago, the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network has been focused on bringing together the food & beverage industry of Chicagoland. With 115 corporate members, almost 40 events in 2019, and the support and engagement of the Chicago’s amazing F&B players, CFBN has been growing quickly and filling a need for connection and innovation in the fast-changing food & beverage industry.
However, the organization has also been committed to something more – economic growth, community engagement, and inclusion across Chicagoland. In order to best serve this social impact mission, a sister organization called The Bigger Table has been formed. I’m proud to be leading this new nonprofit as its first Chairman and I believe that together we can work more effectively to have a bigger impact on the community, and better engage our employees and the communities we all serve.
Take a look at www.biggertable.org to learn more. I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am about the programs we’re building. The Collaborative Hunger Initiative is a new way to address food insecurity that taps into the power of companies collaborating in ways we’ve never seen before. The GrowChicago Seed Fund seeks to fill a gap in the funding of local women and minority food & beverage entrepreneurs. Finally, the Food & Beverage Manufacturing Workforce Development Program seeks to build a training program to connect the under- and unemployed to job opportunities in food & beverage manufacturing in the region.
It won’t be easy. But, nothing worthwhile ever is. I hope you’ll consider joining us in building a better Chicagoland. Together.
Andy Dratt, Chief Commercial Officer, Imbibe & Chairman, The Bigger Table
Corporations, businesses, and start-up brands alike are learning that “better” approaches to corporate governance – those that go beyond a singular focus and incorporate social and environmental factors - are not only important for corporations, but for our communities and improves the public’s faith and confidence in their corporate leaders.
This new focus on corporate social responsibility increases corporations’ responsibility and accountability to their stakeholders through commitments to environmental, social, or community investment. As a result, we’re seeing corporations increasingly place pressure on themselves to improve their best practices for social governance with the goal of enhancing their relationships with stakeholders – and their consumers. Ultimately, these efforts will be worthwhile, as they increase the corporation’s credibility and provide them with a competitive edge.
Join us in March to explore social governance and the impact that our companies can have on the communities we work, live, and build in. Bank of America is excited to host the first event in CFBN’s Finance Series – Investing in Your Community. Thought leaders from the food and beverage industry will join us to explore how companies are forging these new paths between business and social investment, and how your company or brand can embrace these ideas too. Bank of America is a long-time support of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, and is excited to help lead this bold conversation on the importance of the partnership between our companies, our customers, and our communities.
Susan Birnberg, Senior Vice President - Bank of America, Merrill Lynch
"Keurig Dr Pepper is the latest big name beverage giant to bet on sparkling water to fill the void created by slowing soda sales.
Its acquisition of Limitless expands its water portfolio, which includes Core Hydration, Bai and Evian, as well as some sparkling water brands. Both Canada Dry and Schweppes make flavored seltzer and sparkling water, but neither have caffeine. Bringing in a caffeinated version could be a savvy move given that studies have shown consumers are drinking more caffeinated beverages nationwide, but the brand will face heavy competition as it scales up." Read more here.
KeHE is proud to announce KeHE elevate™, an emerging brands program to nurture leading-edge brands and maximize their growth and success potential in the marketplace.
As part of KeHE’s commitment to innovation and speed- to- market, KeHE elevate™ will support our retail partners by continually foraging for early-stage brands and curating a dynamic brand portfolio to augment their assortment. The program is not only built to fulfill consumer’s desire for innovation but will also enable developing brands to reach their full potential and better serve the demanding marketplace. Read more here.
Qualified Illinois small businesses are invited to join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Trade & Investment to exhibit in the Illinois Pavilion at the SIAL Canada 2020 trade show in Montreal, Canada from April 15 – 17, 2020.
SIAL Canada is Canada’s largest trade show for the retail and foodservice trade. In 2018, the show had over 1,000 exhibitors from 50 different countries, and there were more than 18,000 visitors from more than 60 countries.
Canada is the ideal market to target U.S. food exports with its close proximity, common language and similar culture. Covering every aspect of the Canadian food & beverage industry, SIAL Canada provides the perfect platform for Illinois exporters servicing institutional food services, restaurants, or grocery.
On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a “hire-first” program. Employer agrees to hire, train, and retain the individual upon successful completion of the training program.
OJT provides employers with a way to have new employees gain specific skills and employment competencies through supervised experience. Workers learn the processes, work tasks, tools and methods of a specific job or group of jobs in an actual work setting.
This is an exciting time in the food & beverage industry, and we are seeing entrepreneurs launch new companies with new ideas that will change the industry for years to come. It is especially exciting to see so many start-ups come out of the greater Chicago area. We have an eco-system here that rivals anywhere else in the world with great incubators and accelerators in town that are creating change and helping give birth to these incredible start-ups.
As CFBN looked at our eco-system, we saw a gap in terms of funding early stage companies after they leave incubators and accelerators. We saw significant challenges with access to capital for many entrepreneurs, especially woman and minority business owners. As a part of our mission to help support a growing and innovative food & beverage industry, and to build a more inclusive eco-system, CFBN is extremely proud to be partnering with Dobson Avenue Partners and CA Fortune to launch the GrowChicago Fund.
The Grow Chicago Fund is an impact investment seed fund dedicated to driving return for investors through capital, consciousness, and community by focusing on Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), sustainable processes, and underserved communities throughout Chicagoland. In short, the goal is to help accelerate the growth of up-and-coming companies and reshape the future of food and beverage.
The Grow Chicago Fund will focus on finding, investing in, and mentoring woman and minority-owned food & beverage businesses, post-incubator, to provide economic opportunity to diverse entrepreneurs and teams. The fund will invest at the Seed and Series A stages in companies with at least $100K in revenue. CFBN is pleased to be a partner in this important effort, and looks forward to connecting our robust eco-system with these inspiring and breakthrough businesses. For more information about investing in the fund, or about how the GrowChicago Fund could invest in your business, please contact email@example.com
The Intel Distillery Annual Report Preview
International trade, climate change, meatless diets, human health and food safety are among the topics that top The Intel Distillery’s annual summary of food production.Trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada, severe weather impacting planting and harvest on farms, a major influx of plant-based meat substitute offerings, corporate social responsibility commitments by food manufacturers, influential health studies, and increased attention to federal food safety regulations all helped to define 2019.
The “Top Ten Topics” report, due to hit inboxes on January 28, ranks and analyzes the conversations by and about the top 1,500 most influential voices throughout food, beverage and agriculture. The aim to offer a wide perspective of the issues that matter which impact decisions at all levels of U.S. food production.
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