Top 5 human food and pet food trends for 2019

Track how proteins, snacks and pet treats, personalized nutrition, authenticity and sustainability, and small companies progress in the marketplace.

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Human food trends can provide many consumer insights and pet food product development ideas ( Here are the ones worth watching this year:

  1. Powered by protein. This trend shows little slowdown for people or pets. In human food, new product launches with protein claims grew globally from an indexed base of 100 in 2013 to nearly 300 in 2017, according to Innova. Alternative sources like insects and especially plants are key, with the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute attributing their popularity to food technology innovations. Pertinent to grain-free pet foods, Innova data showed the fastest growing plant protein for human food claims from 2015 to 2017 was peas, increasing 23 percent, with potatoes rising 14 percent.
  2. Snackification. An Innova survey showed 63 percent of millennials are replacing meals with snacks because they’re busy, 50 percent of Gen X-ers are trying to cut down on sweet snack consumption and 67 percent of boomers are making changes to be healthier. Does this translate to pet treats, as that category continues to expand in sales, new products and ingredient claims?
  3. Personalized nutrition. Though still niche, personalized nutrition will continue to become more important for humans and pets. We’re seeing more pet food companies offer customized dog foods and similar individualized diets. For humans: “Technologies ranging from wearable fitness trackers to DNA and microbiome testing will drive demand for nutrition tailored for a specific individual,” Kerry said.
  4. Authenticity, provenance, evergreen. Consumers, especially younger generations, increasingly demand sustainability and transparency from the brands they buy. The main driver is consumer trust, Kerry said. Innova mentioned emerging technologies like Smart Label and blockchain that allow consumers to track and verify products and ingredients, while Mintel named “evergreen consumption” as one of its top three global food drink trends, elevating it to a circular view of sustainability that spans the entire product lifecycle and requires actions from suppliers to companies to consumers.
  5. Small player mindset. Smaller companies experimenting with flavors, textures, packaging and even temperature are inspiring the food giants while benefiting from start-up investments and consumer desire for local connections. This all sounds very familiar to what we’ve seen in pet food for several years now, which has also helped keep mergers and acquisitions going strong.
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