Gama spoke to Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi, Chief Executive Officer, Agthia Group.
What overarching trends do you expect to shape drinks and food innovation in 2020-21?
“Consumers no longer accept products as they traditionally did – they want ‘value-added’ products that are convenient, healthier and benefit their lifestyles.
Recent industry reports have shown that the increasing rate of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are pushing consumers worldwide to shift towards organic, ‘free from’, local products that are low in additives and preservatives. The demand for healthier options is also benefitting fortified, functional and ‘better for you’ foods like probiotic yogurts, fortified milk formula and dairy alternatives.
Furthermore, consumers globally have started to evaluate the ethical value of brands. Key components influencing ethical standards are environmental awareness throughout the production process such as human and animal welfare, products used for production, recyclability etc. This awareness has caused brands to shift towards utilizing innovative sustainable methods of production.
Other trends that will shape the F & B industry in the upcoming years will be demand for locally-produced food in various markets, improved F & B safety standards, diversification in flavours, growing demand for plant-based food substitutes and ingredients, increasing importance for eco-friendly and recyclable packaging and so on.
With the above said, innovation will continue to be essential and will shape the drinks and food industry in 2019 and beyond. The industry will have to be receptive to new technologies like blockchain, as well as staying mindful of changing consumer preferences and rising costs”.
Read the full interview in the next issue of Gama News.