As we approach 2024, the food industry continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences and behaviors. I’m a great believer that food is a conversation – it’s never static, it’s always responding to- or leading the way in our broader culture, and it’s exciting to imagine what the future may look like. As a leader in the food and beverage industry, Nestlé has identified key trends that will shape the food landscape in the coming year.
As the entire food industry returns to an era of innovation after many years focused on securing supply during the COVID pandemic, we’re excited about the new opportunities ahead of us. From the rise of in-home coffee culture to the increasing demand for convenience, these trends reflect the dynamic nature of the industry. Let's explore these trends and how Nestlé is responding to meet the evolving needs of consumers.
Kitchen Counter Coffee Culture is Here to Stay
As more of us leave our homes for work and to rediscover old hobbies and activities outside-of-home, the popularity of in-home coffee experiences is not waning. In fact, consumers are seeking more premium in-home café experiences to either replace or complement their out-of-home coffee occasions.
This trend is driven by factors such as consumers’ newfound confidence in making customized beverages at home and rising prices at cafes, which prompt consumers to make more drinks at home. Additionally, the influence of Gen Z cannot be ignored, as they shape the fourth-wave coffee movement through new social media – 49% of Gen Z consumers learn about coffee topics from TikTok, and their preference is for cold brew and other new coffee formats. To cater to these evolved tastes and at-home preferences, Nestlé has made significant investments in coffee innovations in recent years, including the launch of Nespresso x Blue Bottle capsules and Coffee mate Ready-to-Drink Iced Coffee.
Frictionless Purchase is Paramount
Nestlé has witnessed a significant growth in e-commerce business over the past few years, and consumers continue to prioritize convenience in their purchasing decisions. The food industry is constantly innovating to reach consumers at every stage of their shopping experience. From convenience stores to club retailers and doorstep delivery, we’re reimagining how to make our products easily accessible to consumers. In other words, we want to meet you where you are.
This trend is exemplified by unexpected partnerships: for example, Cleveland Clinic partnered with us to launch a pilot program providing no-cost frozen meal delivery via Instacart to Cleveland Clinic employees as part of a weight management program, and Nestlé Toll House worked with DoorDash to deliver freshly baked cookies straight to consumers' doors. Our DiGiorno team also pioneered a new way to get their pizza: who would ever have expected to find a DiGiorno pizza in a vending machine?
Spicy Food is Heating Up
Palates have changed. The rising popularity of hot sauce and spicy food has had a profound impact on the food industry, and this enduring consumer trend has influenced fast food chains and elevated specific flavors like sriracha to global popularity. Young consumers are inspired by accessibility to cuisine from different cultures, and the diversity of our communities has inspired the move towards spicier flavors.
As palates have evolved, consumers are embracing and combining different flavors and spices. We recognize this trend and have responded with innovative products such as California Pizza Kitchen's Hot Honey Croissant Crust Pizza, Stouffer's Spicy Nacho Mac, and our Hot Pockets x Hot Ones brand partnership. These are just some examples of our commitment to expanding our portfolio in line with evolving palates.
We’re proud to be at the forefront of trends that will shape the food industry in 2024, investing in new products and strategies to meet the evolving needs of consumers. As we enter the new year, Nestlé remains committed to providing high-quality, innovative, and delicious food and beverage options that cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of consumers worldwide. We’re excited to see what emerges next, and we look forward to joining you on your next food adventure.