Innovation Evolution: How New Food & Beverage Trends are Unfolding in 2023

by | Jun 29, 2023

Which food and beverage trends will become memorable in 2023? Each year has its own story when it comes to culinary delights. For 2022 food and beverage, it was clean labeling, generational focuses, and functional benefits as a new post-COVID-19 normal set in.

As 2023 unfolds, food and beverage enthusiasts and consumers alike eagerly anticipate the latest trends. Some of the most beloved and indulgent categories are bakery, beverages, candy, and dairy. In this blog post, we delve into the exciting food and beverage trends emerging in these core segments, offering a preview of what to expect for the remainder of 2023.

What’s Bubbling Up in Beverage?

The beverage space is experiencing a dynamic transformation, driven mainly by evolving consumer preferences around health and wellness. Among the many timely trends in the category, non-alcoholic beverages, and functional drinks top the list. Join us as we explore what consumers are looking for in these trending segments.

No- and Low-Alcohol Drinks

A growing population of people seeking moderation without sacrificing flavor or experience is driving the surge in low and no-alcohol options. At the same time, non-alcoholic beverages are receiving a makeover as a response to the 67% of consumers choosing mocktails for taste and variety. (Technomic) As a result, Brands are innovating with intricate, refreshing, flavorful alternatives, including non-alcoholic craft beers and botanical-infused spirits for mocktails. Are you wondering where to invest in no-alc segments? The market for non-alcoholic spirits may grow by 30% annually until 2025, according to a study by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Product Spotlight: Zero-proof canned cocktail from Molson Coors. (BeverageDaily)

In our recent blog post, we examine the non-alcoholic beverage segments and buyers to understand motivations for purchase. Read more here.

Functional Sips

Functional beverages, fortified with health-boosting ingredients, are capturing the attention of health-conscious consumers seeking a combination of refreshment and wellness benefits. What sorts of functionalities do people want? Beverages infused with adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi mushrooms, or CBD are becoming popular for their potential stress-relieving, energizing, and immune-boosting properties.

Across beverages overall, refreshing beverages are outpacing all types of drinks, with sports beverages (+5.2%), energy drinks (+12.3%), and value-added water (+16.1%) growing significantly. (Beverage Marketing Corporation) A report by Grand View Research shows the global functional beverage market overall may expand at a CAGR of 7.1% during the next seven years, with the US keeping pace with forecasted growth.

Product Spotlight: Hangobi functional beverages promise a delicious-tasting multivitamin in a can. (BevNet)

list of new candy launches by flavor

Expand your functional beverage knowledge by downloading our e-book highlighting the benefits brands incorporate into beverage innovations and showcasing formulation considerations.

How are Bakery Trends Rising in 2023?

The world of baked goods shifted over time from basic combinations of water, flour, sugar, and yeast into an art form, and the evolution is undeniably continuing in 2023. From label claims that appeal to consumers’ emotional side to new formats and flavor combinations, exciting bakery trends are shaping the culinary landscape this year.

Ethical Claims

Brands often strive to create emotional connections that will resonate with people who may purchase their products. In the bakery category in North America, ethical commitments on-pack are picking up pace. What do we mean by ethical claims? According to Mintel, eco-friendly packaging and recycling claims top the list in US sweet bakery launches, although ethical human claims have grown modestly over the past year.

Product Spotlight: Eggo’s Buttermilk Waffles product supports the No Kid Hungry charity. (Mintel GNPD)

list of new candy flavors in the last year

Creative Format Exploration

Many bakery subsegments are exploring unique formats to appeal to the changing needs of consumers. Additionally, the versatility of bakery ingredients facilitates new forms, from shapes that support health-related moderation to on-the-go indulgences. And many of the subsegments within the bakery have already begun innovating. For instance, in 2023, 28% of North American ‘bar’ launches featured unique shapes such as clusters, minis, bites, or rounds. Formats beyond the traditional bar moved up from 25% in 2022 and 17% in 2019. (Mintel)

Product Spotlight: Thomas Expands their breakfast portfolio with keto bagel thins and mini everything bagels. (Perishable News)

What’s Sweetening Candy Trends in 2023?

According to The Food Institute, “2023 is the year of record-setting candy consumption,” even amid inflationary concerns. The loyalty to sweets could reflect 74% of consumers who believe confectionery products are affordable treats. (National Confectioners Association (NCA)) Secondly, the ability of candy to align with changing desires is evident this year as we see trends from classic indulgences to more health-conscious alternatives. Between the affordable price point and range of options, candy still holds the hearts of many consumers.

Nostalgic Treats

Nostalgia is a powerful force, and candy manufacturers are capitalizing on the sentiment by reintroducing classic flavors and retro-inspired treats. Candy enthusiasts look for ways to transport themselves back in time, and nostalgic candies from the ’80s and ’90s or childhood favorites with a modern twist offer delicious solutions. According to Mashed, classic candies like Charleston Chews and Gold Mine Bubblegum have been gracing “Candytok,” the side of TikTok dedicated to candy lovers.

Brands seeking innovation opportunities might explore older, unavailable candy formats. Professor Purvi Shah of Worcester Polytechnic Institute coined the term “nostalgic brand love” to explain the longing for products that are no longer available.

Product Spotlight: Nassau Candy brings back the old favorite candy stix with Clever Candy Straws.

Guilt-Free Indulgence

The healthy indulgence trend is now in the candy aisle. What’s driving the shift from full-calorie sweet treats to healthier alternatives? According to the NCA, nine in 10 candy consumers are interested in calories and portion information. Previously popular claims like organic and natural are waning while sugar reduction continues to grow.

Product Spotlight: Small Wins Gummies tout 4g of sugar per package. (The Blast)

How is Dairy Delighting People in 2023?

As the dairy industry continues to evolve, consumers are increasingly seeking innovative and sustainable products that align with their changing lifestyles and dietary preferences. Join us as explore the growing food and beverage trends shaping the dairy landscape this year. 

Plant Base Exploration

While dairy launches declined over the past few years, the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to soar as a delicious solution for people with dietary restrictions or environmental concerns. For developers working in the space, standing out in 2023 can be as simple as exploring new plant bases. For instance, Mintel reports that competition in plant-based drinks innovation centers around newer base exploration like oat and pea.

Product Spotlight: Oatley launches oat spread as a cream cheese alternative. (Food Business News)

Functional Dairy:

Functional dairy refers to dairy products that provide additional health benefits outside basic nutrition. Dairy products fortified with active ingredients such as probiotics, collagen, or omega-3 fatty acids are gaining popularity. Future Market Insights shares that the North American functional dairy products market could grow at a 2.8% CAGR between 2022 and 2032. (GlobeNewswire) These value-added dairy offerings might aim to improve gut health, promote radiant skin, or support cognitive function, to name a few benefits.

Product Spotlight: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) partners with Good Culture to release probiotic milk.

We’re many calendar pages away from the end of 2023, but the year’s first half shows promise for exciting and memorable food and beverage trends. As experiences shift, consumers can look forward to a delectable array of options that cater to their evolving tastes and preferences. If you’re looking for ways to connect with your customers through taste, reach out to our experts!