Food and Drink Hot Topics 2018

5 December 2018

What are the hot topics in the food and drink industry right now? We take a look and discuss what 2019 may bring…

Whey Proteins

As consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they eat, they are also demanding more from the products they consume. A recent trend we have seen in the market is the emergence of protein rich foods. Gail Sabatura from AMCO proteins states “people are trying to get more proteins into their diet, whether its plant or animal based”.

The neutral taste of the protein allows it to be added to almost any product with little effect on the overall flavour.

Products now on the market include coffees, creamers, ice lollies, muffins and popcorn. Yes really, popcorn! It seems that high protein alternatives are popping up everywhere and can be a great addition to any marketing strategy. 


There’s no way we could produce a hot topics article without briefly focusing on plastics. Consumers are demanding more innovative and sustainable packaging options, and this is echoed by the government who are introducing a plastics tax in 2022.

The good news is that plastic alternatives are developing. Many producers are switching to starch-based plastics which are biodegradable or cardboard packaging. Don’t wait until 2022 to change your packaging as your consumers will be noticing the sustainability of your product, right down to the straws and forks!

Stockpiling for Brexit

Having been told by the UK government to stock pile ingredients for food products, that’s exactly what large companies, such as Nestle, are doing. However, even they comment on the difficulties of doing this in practice.

There just isn’t enough storage space to stockpile ingredients to last for several months and even if there were space, shelf life must be considered.

For those of you that are keen to stockpile, there are a few innovative Airbnb style companies that can help with temporary storage. This could be worth pursuing for smaller companies, but even then you will need to consider the cost / benefit of doing so.  

However, although Brexit spells Doomsday for many, it could bring opportunities for others. Currently, around 20% of the food on supermarket shelves is made in the UK. With troubles at the boarder and import tariffs, this could lead the way for some artisan producers to fill the gap. Perhaps Brexit will be a great way for you to finally penetrate the supermarket arena!

What to expect for 2019

In 2018 we started to see a shift towards products with health benefits such as kombucha and kefir and we expect this to continue into 2019. Manufacturers are likely to step up their marketing of their product benefits such as anti-ageing, high in protein or Omega 3. Does your product contain any health benefit ingredients, and can you be making more of them?  

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of where their products have come from and we expect transparency to be another prevailing trend in 2019. As blockchain develops we may see fully traceable supply chains at the tab of a button, customers wanting to know how much the supplier’s workers are paid or that companies are complying to fair trade agreements. Now would be a great time to carry out an internal supply chain audit. Not only will it ensure that you know your supply chain inside out, but it will also highlight any possible areas of risk leading up to Brexit.

People’s lives are becoming hectic, trying to juggle work and their social life, and are therefore demanding more food on the go. However, we have already touched upon the change in consumer needs towards healthier alternatives. Therefore, in 2019 we would expect to see a rise in the number of restaurant quality ready meals hitting the supermarket shelves.

Old Mill have a specialist and dedicated food and drink team. If you would like help with your food and drink business and would like expert advice, please contact Wayne Bastian on 07866 035706 or email wayne{dot}bastian{at}oldmillgroup{dot}co{dot}uk 


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