Ethical Sourcing and High-Quality Ingredients Lead Consumer Preferences in KeHE’s 2024 Summer Trend Forecasting

In an ever-evolving industry, KeHE Distributors® makes partner success a priority by anticipating the up-and-coming trends that will shape consumer purchasing preferences this summer. The 2024 KeHE® Summer Show will take place in Salt Lake City, UT, February 7–8, and virtually on the KeHE CONNECT® platform from February 1 to 15. 

KeHE’s award-winning seasonal and holiday shows connect product suppliers with its retail network, enabling retailers to stock their shelves with buzz-worthy products and suppliers to tap into a wider customer base. By bringing supplier and retailer professionals together they can meet consumer needs with the highest quality products. Based on KeHE’s 2024 macro trend predictions, consumers will be influenced by five key themes this summer, all of which highlight the importance of environmentally conscious and nutrient-packed products.

Authentic Eats, Ethical Treats
Previously, many consumers preferred products that were fast and convenient. However, there has been a recent shift in consumer behavior, particularly among those aged 18 to 34. Now, 56 percent of this group is willing to pay a higher price for products that are sustainably sourced. Brands are meeting consumers halfway, prioritizing ethical sourcing and high-quality ingredients.

Fuel Summer Adventures
With summer right around the corner, so are a variety of exciting new food trends to accompany consumers as they spend time outside. Especially as outdoor fitness activities become more popular with the warm weather, consumers are seeking products they can take on the go but are still healthy. Consumers want nutrition-packed food products, as well as supplements to bolster their consumption.

Mix It Right: Sustainability and Functionality
There is no better product to pair with a hot summer day than a cold beverage. This summer, consumers will be seeking unique beverages to beat the afternoon heat, whether it’s mocktails, cocktail mixers, or pre-batched tea products. Mocktails especially have gained popularity, as indicated by a 46 percent increase in the mention of mocktails on restaurant menus.

The Art of Influence
About 52 percent of U.S. social media users base their purchasing decisions on celebrities and influencers on social media. This influence has extended to food trends and consumer product preferences, leading to increased consumer interest in inspired assortments, international flavors, and viral food trends that they can recreate in their kitchen. These trends have led to a direct increase in food products such as fresh sauces, viral pizza toast, and charcuterie boards.

The Art of Nutrient-Packed Cookouts
As consumers celebrate the upcoming summer season with outdoor gatherings, summer cookouts, and new seasonal flavors, they will be more likely to purchase foods packed with nutrients and authentic ingredients. Natural combination shopping rose by 4 percent in 2023, indicating the gradual consumer shift away from substitutes and artificial flavors. 

The 2024 KeHE Summer Show is a great opportunity for retailers to explore emerging brands and new products hitting the marketplace, particularly those that lean into these trends. As the summer season approaches, retailers and suppliers must anticipate the needs of consumers to remain competitive within the industry. 

To learn more about summer’s most sought-after products and anticipated consumer behaviors, download the KeHE Summer Show & Trends Guide