Food Trends in 2022

2022 should be an exciting year for the food and Consumer Package Goods (CPG) industries. Diets are changing, Covid continues to be part of everyday living, and with inflation on the rise, consumers will have to spend more of their budget on food items.

Let's look at what I think will be the most important trends within the food industry:

> Plant-based meats will increase in popularity and acceptance. Big names like KFC, have already announced meatless options for their menu as has Burger King and other fast food outlets traditionally aimed at meat eaters. This trend will only accelerate.

> Delivery will continue to be an important part of the retail mix. It remains to be seen how this channel will impact gross margins since the bar keeps getting tighter. Faster delivery with no delivery fees will have an impact on profitability amidst rising expectations by customers who expect fast turnarounds at little cost.

> Look for more Direct To Consumer (DTC) options since farmers and livestock producers are looking to eliminate middle men and keep more of their money. Many farmers co-ops are creating their own meat packing plants and taking their business away from the traditional oligarchy of meat packing that has dominated the business for decades.

> Supply chain issues that were revealed in 2021 will continue in 2022 as the market seeks to find an equilibrium in terms of demand and rising prices (due to inflation). Stores which rely on a domestic supply chain will have an advantage.

> Vegan diets will become mainstream and more producers and retailers will expand their shelf space for these products since customers will be looking to tilt their diets to plant based and dairy-free options.

> Meal kits and prepared meals will grow in terms of the overall sales mix. Consumers are cooking less and expecting grocery stores to offer casual dining along with shortcuts that reduce time spent in the kitchen.

> Finally, there will be a shakeout in the market as delivery services and DTC portals compete with each other to capture customers while increasing the cost to acquire new customers (who tend to flit around from deal to deal). Consumers will not want to have multiple accounts with the plethora of companies offering DTC drop shipments. Many 2021 startup companies will go out of business in 2022 while those that remain may have trouble being profitable long term.

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