Increased consumer interest in the stories behind their food and beverage products and their influence on purchasing decisions has resulted in companies paying more attention to storytelling in their branding strategies.

In fact, “Storytelling: Winning with Words” leads the list of Top 10 trends for 2020, according to this research report released by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands.

1. Storytelling: Winning with words

Although ingredient provenance has always been important, consumer interest in discovering the story behind their foods continues to rise and increasingly influence purchasing decisions. Consumers’ attention is piqued by opportunities to learn more about how products are produced, which promotes an understanding of product benefits and helps build trust in the brand.

As a result, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on ingredient provenance platforms to highlight the taste and quality of their products, as well as their uniqueness and sustainability efforts. Provenance platforms can communicate a whole range of messages to the consumer, including flavor/taste, processing methods, cultural and traditional backgrounds, as well as the more obvious geographical origin.

2. The plant-based revolution

Plant-based innovation continues to flourish as a result of consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics, which ties into the broader consumer lifestyle trend toward cleaner living. As the use of the term “plant-based” moves more into the mainstream, the industry and start-up companies in particular, are taking up the challenge to deliver more clean label meat and dairy alternatives with improved nutritional profiles.

3. The sustain domain

Consumers increasingly expect companies to invest in sustainability, with Innova Market Insights research indicating that on average, 85% of U.S. and UK consumers expected companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64% in 2018. In the area of food waste, upcycling is the new recycling, as companies strive to follow a zero-waste approach by creating value from byproducts. Meanwhile, in packaging, the focus is on using less of it, as well as developing sustainable alternatives.

4. The right bite

Stress and anxiety are key concerns in modern life as consumers manage careers, families and social lives while striving to maintain healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally. Responses to this vary, although the majority of consumers aim to balance the benefits and costs of busy lifestyles. This, in turn, raises the demand for nutritious foods that are easy to prepare, convenient and portable. Indulgent treats play a role in relaxation and enjoyment.

5. Tapping into texture

Last year’s leading trend, “Discovery: the adventurous consumer,” is still prominent, with consumer demand for something new and different being reflected in more product launches with textural claims. Consumers increasingly recognize the influence of texture on food and beverages, allowing a heightened sensory experience and often a greater feeling of indulgence. According to Innova Market Insights research, 45% of U.S. and UK consumers are influenced by texture when buying food and drinks, while 68% share the opinion that textures contribute to a more interesting food and beverage experience.

6. Macronutrient makeover

7. Hello hybrids

8. A star is born

9. Eat pretty

10. Brand unlimited