Our Product Innovation Gurus Unveil Their Picks for 2019
KeHE has the most innovative brands that position retailers as the go-to natural, organic, specialty, and fresh destination for healthy living.
As part of our commitment to finding goodness and staying ahead of the trends – KeHE’s Product Innovation Gurus, who serve as our resident trend experts, has summarized the top five trends to watch in 2019. Here’s what we predict you’ll be seeing in stores, carrying in your gym bag, and talking about with your friends this year.
HEMP: YES, PLEASE
Cannabidiol – or what you’ve probably heard referred to as CBD – and hemp-based products have taken the industry by storm. For much of 2018, there were more questions than answers surrounding this buzz-worthy ingredient. Heading into 2019, both legislative and medical advancements have helped clear up some confusion; it’s still a bit ambiguous.
Nonetheless, shoppers are starting to explore CBD products for their claimed health benefits including relief from pain, anxiety and seizures and to improve sleep. Despite several states legalizing recreational cannabis use, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says CBD is not permitted in food or drink. We expect to see categories such as Pet and Health & Beauty Care to fuel the growth behind hemp extract oil and CBD innovation this year.
FOCUS ON FATS
Fats were in, then out, and now they are back in and on the minds of consumers in a huge way. Among Google’s top 10 searches in 2018, five of them reference the ketogenic lifestyle. Between the countless weight loss selfies shared on Instagram and word-of-mouth endorsements, Keto – a strict regimen of low-carb, high-fat foods that forces the body into a state of ketosis – was all the rage for 2018 and we expect that in 2019 it will reach new heights.
What was once a niche market, has exploded into the mainstream. Sales of both keto-approved and MCT oil products continue to soar. Brands are hustling to add line extensions that adhere to the keto philosophy to meet consumers’ needs. According to our partner SPINS, certified Paleo and Keto items are up $6 million or 75% over last year in the Total US Conventional Channel, and we think it’s only getting started.
Consumers have spoken – a one size fits all approach won’t always work when it comes to their health. Consumers want functional, great-tasting products to support them in areas of concern like “clean” protein, daily nutrition and healthy aging. And what works for one shopper may not work for another. That’s why brands providing custom solutions are attracting consumers.
We’re seeing Gainful provide custom protein powder formulated based on answers to a lifestyle quiz and companies like CareOf also using that model but for personalized vitamin subscriptions. Health & Beauty Care is also seeing brands like Function of Beauty provide personalized haircare and the new Clique ID custom blend hydrator allows shoppers more control of the makeup they buy. Some even go as far as to mix their own facial oils, creams, and serums themselves. It just goes to show, brands offering unique and easily accessible custom solutions will excel in 2019.
EASY (ALWAYS) GOING
Shoppers know what they want, and they want it now more than ever. App developers have had their hands full creating solutions to answer the demand for more convenient ordering and delivery – from food to fashion, everyone has an app for that. The need for instant gratification has allowed grocery stores to become an alternative to traditional take-out. Stores are dedicating a larger footprint to fresh grab-n-go sets including ready-to-drink beverages, prepared take-and-bake meals, and other fresh offerings. According to Mintel, 43% of U.S. adults who have bought prepared or made-to-order food or drink from a store agree it helps save them time.
Brands are also jumping on the convenience bandwagon more than ever before. With grab-and-go cups ranging from oatmeal and muffins to rice and noodles, a quick and nutritious meal is consistently easier to find. Fresh snacking like cheese and crackers or a pack of nuts are also appealing to those who are often eating on the go. Meal delivery services and frozen meal kits remain top of mind, as more and more consumers view time as their most important currency. Those that can creatively crack the instant gratification code will win in 2019.
Remember when electric cars seemed like a concept out of the Jetson’s and manufacturers produced plastic everything? Gone are the days of periodically recycling and a new era of consumer consciousness is upon us. Even the folks you never thought would change now pack their groceries in reusable bags. Some trends explode and then fizzle out, but we know this won’t be one of them.
With more and more consumers making a dedicated push to cutting down on their environmental impact, they’re reaching for items that not only taste good but also do good. They’re looking for sustainable packaging, whole animal (tail to snout) and whole plant (root to stem) use, and the stories behind the farmers and fishers who produced their food. Fifty-six percent of those between the ages of 18-34 say that environmental responsibility is an important factor in their food choices, according to our partner Mintel. Another concept gaining momentum is upcycling.
Forty-percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten and, on average, a family of four throws away over $1,800 in food every year. This has pushed brands to adopt a process of creative reuse, the process of transforming by-products, waste, and useless or unwanted products into something usable. Think juice from ugly and surplus produce, giving a second life to whey from artisanal dairies and brine from pickle producers, and protein bars from the leftover nutritious grains from brewing beer.
The way we care for the planet is shifting and its headed underground: to the soil. 2018 saw soil health conversations bubbling up and 2019 will see a larger discussion around things like biodynamic certification and regenerative agriculture. KeHE is proud to be part of the movement by joining forces with brands that promote a higher purpose through our CAREtrade® program. We’re also proud to be a certified B Corporation. As a community, B Corporations are driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. We can do much more together than we can apart.
Many of these hot trends and exciting new products will be on full display at KeHE’s annual Summer Show in Nashville, TN, February 5-6. The show is invite-only, but you can follow along on our social channels, linked below.