Meeting consumer trends has always been a challenge in the food industry. I mean, let’s face it. American shoppers change their shopping habits more than Donald Trump changes his mind.

Often times though, the cold food and beverage industry is so concerned about trends—forecasting the future and staying one step ahead of the rest—that we almost forget to combat the challenges impacting the journey in creating these trends.

Staying on trend isn’t so much about new product development as it is about meeting consumers’ concerns with action.
In putting together this year’s State of the Industry report, it was obvious that:

  1. Cloud-based, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, automation and hands-free technology are taking over the food processing world.
  2. Consumers’ voices are louder than ever, virtually driving the future of the industry with their social media posts and spending dollars.
  3. Millennials matter more to the future of the food and beverage industry than any other generation….ever.
  4. The future of the cold food industry is bright thanks to expansions, new construction and mergers and acquisitions.
  5.  Food and beverage processors need to work to eliminate food fraud and improve food security, become more visible in their supply chain processes and transparent in their ingredients, achieve a larger sustainability footprint, take care of their employees, their customers and their communities and develop the next best category (not just the next best product).

Welcome to this year’s State of the Industry report, the refrigerated and frozen food industry’s most extensive annual report that covers everything from trends and analysis to product performance and packaging initiatives.

Read on to find product category market share reports, in-depth information on category and consumer purchase trends, new retail product developments and what’s in store for the future of the cold food and beverage industry.

And, flip to page 13 to learn more about this year’s Reader’s Choice Best New Retail Products contest and Q&As with the Top 5 winners.