Evolving consumer preferences and societal trends are sparking industry growth in many food categories.. These include plant-based products, organic and non-GMO items as well as a rise in the direct-to-consumer channel. Additionally, alternative proteins and locally-sourced foods are gaining popularity. These trends reflect a growing consumer focus on health and sustainability. Here are the 4 categories poised for growth:

  1. Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Foods:
    The DTC segment has experienced significant growth, particularly evident in the surge of searches for “food delivery apps,” which have increased by 35% in the last five years. The convenience and accessibility offered by these services have driven their popularity. In the United States, online grocery sales are projected to reach $187.7 billion by 2024, highlighting the rapid expansion of this sector.
  2. Plant-Based Foods:
    The shift towards plant-based eating has been a significant driver of growth in U.S. retail food sales. Between 2019 and 2022, the sale of plant-based food products has grown faster than both animal-based foods and the overall food market. This trend reflects growing consumer awareness about health, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare.
  3. Organic and Non-GMO Foods:
    Organic, non-GMO foods that are free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers  have become a fast growing segment within the natural food category. This growth outpaces other specialty categories like pre/probiotic, fair trade, and gluten-free foods. Consumer demand for transparency and concerns about genetically modified organisms in food have fueled this trend.
  4. Specialty Foods:
    This category includes unique, high-quality products often characterized by their craftsmanship or artisanal methods. In 2022, two standout categories were refrigerated entrées and chocolates and other confectioneries. These were not only top sellers but also among the fastest-growing specialty food and beverage categories, reflecting a consumer preference for premium, niche products.

The potential growth in these categories are is driven by a rising consumer demand for natural and sustainable products. It may be more than a trend, it may be a fundamental change in the way consumers approach food choices. As awareness about environmental impact and personal health grows, more people are seeking out products that align with these values. This leaves room for companies able to respond quickly to expand their market share.

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