The B2C Food Manufacturers’ Guide to Navigating “Hot Food Topics” - Part I

by rc


“Smart growth strategy in food and beverage requires understanding which leading-edge trends are scalable and which will likely remain niche.” - The Hartman Group, What do plant-based diets, exotic condiments, and fermented foods all have in common? Well, according to a Yahoo Style article, they all are considered to be the “Hot Food Topics” of 2016, “16 Food Trends That Will Take 2016 by Storm.” Figuring out what trends will soon dominate the market is harder than predicting what will happen on the next episode of House of Cards. However, there are a few things food manufacturers can do to make sure they stay ahead of the trends. It all starts with knowing where to begin, which is why we’ve pulled together a basic guide for B2C food manufacturers to discover what “Hot Food Topics” are on trend.

The 3 Questions every food manufacturer should ask:

When working with manufacturers, as we do, we’ve been able to narrow in on the top three questions every food manufacturer should ask themselves when trying to spot emerging trends on the market. Although these questions are not the end-all, be-all for getting ahead of a trend, they do provide a nice guideline for spotting them.

  • What are the leading-edge trends in your category?
  • Which leading-edge trends are scalable?
  • Which mainstream trends are weakening?

Starting your research: 4 simple steps


Finding trends that are dominating the market requires time, patience and research.

Getting started may seem completely and utterly overwhelming, since trends, at times, come and go faster than the next viral video. There is no foolproof method to track what will be the next “big thing” from one day to another. Doing your homework to monitor and stay ahead of the market is key.

Step 1:

Starting your research with a simple Google search is probably the easiest and quickest way to identify what key food topics and trends are piquing the interest of consumers these days. Things like top-ten and “what’s on the radar” lists are great starting points.

Step 2:

Search Influencers conduct an internet search for popular/influential food and health blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts. A lot of the time, social influencers play a huge role in what consumers are reaching. Not to mention, these influencers could be a potential marketing source to tap into when launching your own product or marketing campaigns.  

Step 3:

Go to the grocery store. Another easy way to monitor market trends is by going to the one place where consumers are constantly being influenced by new products: the grocery store. A perfect example of this happens to be the fact that Jewel completely redesigned their entire store layout in order to specifically cater and market towards the “organic” trend. Going to the grocery store offers a first-hand look at what is really engaging consumers. Also, by going to the grocery store, you can identify potential holes in the market. Spotting a hole can result in discovering your new sweet spot to enter the market.

Step 4:

Attend food expos The Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) is the world's largest meeting of food and nutrition experts. Expos such as FNCE capture a big picture of what the current health climate is like in America. By attending an event like this, you can see what consumers are really focused on and what they are straying away from health wise. Other food expos allow competitors from all over to gather and see what others are doing on the market. These opportunities present perfect snapshots of the market and where consumers are really responding.

This is part one of a two-part series.