Happy New Year!

Over the past few months, I’ve been noticing some trends on the grocery store shelves: new products, unique branding strategies, and I’ve honestly learned a couple more lessons. I’d love to share my view on the 2018 industry with you.

While I don’t have a hand in the specialty food industry anymore, I still love this industry and pay close attention to changes in the market. Because, you never know – I may jump back in.

So, for better or worse, here are the 5 food business trends I’ve been noticing. Hopefully, they help you achieve great results in 2022.

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Are you ready for what’s ahead?

Trend #1: Amazon will Significantly Evolve Whole Foods.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods last year, it was no surprise retail was in for big changes. I mean, Amazon, could turn every location into a distribution center and it would still be a profitable acquisition for Amazon. That blows my mind.

For your business, however, it could pose an interesting opportunity (or threat). With 473 stores across the US, it’s a great way to get your products in-front of healthy (and wealthy) customers, generate brand awareness, and grow. While it’s no Wal-Mart or Target, Amazon will significantly transform the way Whole Foods distributes its products – with the opportunity to get into more homes faster. I can’t wait to see how this transforms the landscape.

Trend #2: Well-Branded Products will Prevail.

If you’re printing Avery labels at home and have dreams of hitting the big time, you’re going to have to step up your food branding game. Why? Because you’ll get lost on the shelf. And getting lost on the shelf means poor sell-through. Poor sell-through gets you booted from the shelf. Not good.

If you’re not convinced, I suggest walking the Fancy Food Shows or Expos to see how others are using branding to attract buyers, generate interest, and build a loyal following. When I walked the Fancy Food Show two times, I was convinced I needed to get new labels for Green Mountain Mustard. I invested practically all my profits from the previous year and more than doubled my sales the following year.

Branding is one of the best investments you can make for your food business. I’ve realized with my own company and the brands I work with at my full-time job. You can work with a freelancer, a college student, or a local design agency — each has different price points and quality, but if you’re looking for a new look, reach out.

Trend #3: Sugar Free  – in a Good Way!

Now, on the ingredient side of things, I’m noticing many sugar free items – like complete free. One category I’m psyched to see sugar-free products in is meat products. For one, PROTEIN. Secondly, meat has needed some cleaning up due to the fillers and stabilizers used.

Other trends I’ve noticed on the shelf: dried anything, worldly flavors, and small net weights due to increased, more exotic, ingredient sourcing – or it could be going organic and GMO-free, too. Have you seen any ingredient trends?

Trend #4: Green – Make it. Save it. Embrace it.

Sure, you want to make some green – it’s one of the many reasons you’re in the food business. But, green, has other connotations in 2018. From the green, sustainable packaging to hey, no packaging at all, going the sustainable route is in. If you can’t go with sustainable packaging, explore some cause marketing. That’s where you donate to a green organization like the World Wildlife Federation or 1% For the Planet. Consumers – especially Millennials – LOVE sustainable companies. Tap into this ever-growing marketing in 2018.

Trend #5: Hello Video.

Now that we’ve covered distribution, branding, ingredients, and the industry, let’s talk marketing. This is my favorite part of a food business – letting people know about your products, how to use them, and the story of how you started. One of the best ways to get in front of people with this information is video. Video explains things far better than words or images. And it’s exploding with more video views per day than ever before. Want to get started with video? Grab your iPhone and check out this DIY studio – perfect for recipe shoots, new product launches and more.

What trends have you seen that are shaping your view of the food industry? Let the community know in the comments below.

See you again soon!