The increasingly thoughtful and mindful consumer will continue to catalyze changes in the way that companies produce, package and label their products. More conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, four in 10 U.S. and UK consumers increased their consumption of "healthy foods," seven in 10 want to know and understand the ingredient list, one in five in the United States are most influenced by "real" ingredients and ethical claims on packaging are top of mind, according to a study produced by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands. In response, better-for-you claims continue to be on-trend, having increased market penetration from 42% in 2012 to 49% in 2017 YTD.   

"Today's consumer displays a high level of mindfulness about well-being and the environment," says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation. "So, it is no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly mindful in their food choices, wanting to know what is in their foods in order to make decisions about health, sustainability and ethical issues."

The Top 5 trends for 2018 are:  

1. Mindful choices. Consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know what is in their food and how it is produced. Innova Market Insights research data indicates that one in two U.S., UK and German consumers read ingredient labels often, and that seven out of 10 U.S. and UK consumers want to know and understand ingredient lists. At the same time, rising levels of interest in ethical issues have resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink new product development soaring in recent years, with a CAGR of 44% over the 2011-2016 period.

2. Lighter enjoyment. As consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing appeal, although definitely not at the expense of a familiar, high-quality and indulgent taste profile.

3. Positively processed. As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, alongside the development of new ones.

4. Going full circle. The notion of closing the circle is increasingly taking hold, with greater consumer expectation that companies and brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.

5. Beyond the coffeehouse. While coffee is clearly trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea is also seeking to reinvent itself among the younger generations. With the taste and experiential associations of coffee and the healthy image of tea, the industry is increasingly using coffee and tea as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products as varied as energy bars, yogurt and jam.

Other trends identified by Innova Market Insights are

6. Say it with color.  
7. Dining out vs in.  
8. From snacks to mini meals.  
9. Ocean garden.  
10. Bountiful choice.