2018 in Review: Industry-changing Insights and Innovations in Food & Bev

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Catch up on the year’s most popular and powerful posts about the trends, innovations, global movements and process updates redefining the food and beverage industry

With 2018 came the launch of new sugar taxes, plant protein products and KerryDigest, our industry blog shedding light on the insights and innovations shaping product ideation and creation.

It’s been a banner year in which consumer demands were amplified through social media, sustainability took on a new and more immediate focus for manufacturers and health and clean label concerns moved mainstream. To bring life to these stories—and the challenges and solutions surrounding them—dozens of Kerry experts wrote or contributed to KerryDigest articles, sharing their knowledge and unique viewpoints with readers from around the world.

Although we’re proud of all 40 articles posted since the blog’s launch in early March, the following 10 were our most popular posts. As the year winds down, and you put finishing touches on your plans for next year scan this list to be sure you’re up-to-date on the latest industry news. To ensure you stay in the know in 2019, subscribe to KerryDigest Monthly Bites, our monthly roundup of top stories.

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Curious to see how consumers in the regions you serve—or would like to—interpret the growing need for clean label products? In the article “The State of Clean Label Around the World”, Kerry consumer insights experts from four of our regional headquarters weigh in on how location, age, gender and more influence the clean label characteristics most important to individuals.

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Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in North America. In “Beer Trends to Watch, from a Top Brewmaster in North America”, Chika Ezeani, Brewmaster for Kerry North America, sheds light on 6 trends that are driving beer innovation. Among these are solutions for making vegan and vegetarian beers, an easier approach to fruit-flavoured beers and technologies that shorten the length of time beer must be stored before bottling.

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If you’re searching for the next big trends in Asia, look no more. In “Trending 2018: Food and Beverage in Asia”, our consumer insights team identifies several to consider. From beverage trends including cold brew and cheese-topped milk teas to popular yet novel foods, such as cheese and Korean-influenced favorites, a number of areas of opportunity are primed for growth right now.

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Sugar reduction efforts have gone global and governmental, with taxation, regulation and health education plans taking effect in countries around the world. Rules are changing swiftly, and it can be challenging to stay informed. This overview of the current state of health taxes, “The State of Sugar and Health Taxes Around the World”, provides a rundown of current taxation efforts, including the factors impacting the rollout of sugar taxes and alternative efforts to persuade people to consume less sugar.

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"Design thinking" is a buzzy concept, with courses and books applying the process to business and life. But the creative yet regimented take on developing and refining ideas iterates a process long followed by Michel Aubanel, Global Ingredients Flavour Development Manager for Kerry. In this article, “Design Thinking Applied to Flavour, Food and Beverage Creation”, Aubanel walks through his process of coming up with a concept for a new product, including sorting through variables to land on a winning creation.

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This year, cold brew coffee sales were predicted to top $1.4B in North American. As a result, Kerry invested big in understanding what makes for the best consumption experience. The article “What Science Tells Us About Making the Best Cup of Cold Brew Coffee” uses Kerry proprietary research to explore consumer preferences in taste, bean type and grind size for cold brew, as well as the chemical reactions that occur during the cold brew process.

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Ice cream is trending, and not just on Instagram. Worldwide sales are projected to rise year after year, and the medium seems to be a favorite for innovative food scientists and chefs. The article “The State of the Global Ice Cream Market” highlights some of the drivers of growth, including the snackification and premiumisation of ice cream as well as the increasingly experimental approach to flavors. (Blue cheese ice cream, anyone?)

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Tastes are rapidly changing among Brazilian consumers. Kerry Brazil is working hard to keep manufacturers informed about the latest market trends—and anticipated market gaps on the horizon. The piece “Brazilian Tastes Shift from Traditional to Trendy” reveals three predictions from the 2018 Brazil Flavour Charts and includes links to download the full report in Portuguese or English.

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To identify emerging food and beverage trends, more and more manufacturers are turning to Instagram, the platform most used by foodies and chefs who want to share new ideas and innovations. But what feeds should you follow? If you’re focused on food and beverage trends taking root across Europe, this list, “12 of Europe’s Top Foodies to Follow on Instagram”, highlights some of the most influential feeds in the region.

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In the U.S., meat consumption is down while plant-based protein is growing in demand, especially at restaurants. The article “Consumers Ready for Plant-based Protein Menu Items. Are Restaurants?” features new research from Kerry North America on the trending plant protein movement, including identifying target consumers and dishes. For chefs, the article also features helpful tips—and a recipe—from Cian Leahy, Kerry Executive Chef and a longtime innovator of plant protein menu items.

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