The Food Institute, Upper Saddle River, N.J., forecasts eating away-from-home sales growth will outpace at-home sales in 2019, according to its webinar "An Honest Look at 2019 Food Industry Trends.”

In fact, The Food Institute predicts 5.1% growth for eating and drinking places in the coming year and 2.8% growth for food and beverage stores.

Among the trends for 2019, The Food Institute sees plant-based foods, cannabis and updated vending concepts growing in popularity. Fuel and driver issues will continue to be problem areas for the distribution sector, while Amazon will remain a company to watch, as it expands its capabilities in brick and mortar, meal kits, private label and even drone delivery.

“I believe we’ll see many companies following this trend of using technology to update traditional service models, as we see the merging of convenience, local and trying to meet consumer demand for something natural and locally produced,” says Brian Todd, president.