The coming year will be a year of extremes, according to research from Chicago-based Mintel. From “ancient” products such as grains, recipes, practices and traditions to the use of technology to create more and better tasting plant-enhanced foods, expect to see a rise in “slow” and “fast” claims, as well as more products designed to help people unwind before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while in rest.     

Consumers will also seek comfort from modernized updates of age-old formulations, flavors and formats. The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will further drive expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations. And, more retailers, restaurants and philanthropic organizations are addressing the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world.

In 2017, the time spent on—or saved by—a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more products to directly communicate how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume, according to Mintel.

Likewise, a report produced by National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Alexandria, Va., shows how rising prepared food sales also push the sales of other items higher. The study, “NACS State of the Industry Report of 2015,” however states that increasing regulation, such as warning labels on certain beverages, a litany of fuel-related regulations and constantly changing weather patterns could greatly impact the future of the cold food industry.

Millennials will continue to steer the ship. According to the “How America’s Eating Habits Are Changing” report, published by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, New York, Millennials love food, but want food done their way. Fresh and healthy foods are at the top of their shopping lists, while prepared and portable foods are becoming increasingly popular. The study also indicates there is likely to be a big payoff for supermarkets who successfully adapt to Millennials’ new eating habits.