SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Food and beverage trends are influenced by outside forces. Consumer interest in health and wellness, for example, may be linked to the rise in health care costs. Personalized nutrition is, in part, being driven by new technologies and devices that allow consumers to better understand the nutritional quality of their diet. In Tyson Foods’ recently released 2019 “Trendtellers” report, the influences of Silicon Valley, smart kitchen gadgets and appliances, and a focus protein will continue to influence food and beverage innovation.
Beauty is being defined as much by what consumers put into their bodies as what they may wear on them. In the report, Tyson Foods listed a focus on personalized foods that promote health and beauty as a leading trend heading into the new year.
“Consumers are thinking about how beauty is becoming a part of their overall wellness,” said Jennifer Bentz, senior vice president of research and development, innovation and insights for Tyson Foods.
An ingredient that may play a greater role in this space is collagen, but, Bentz added, that doesn’t mean consumers understand what collagen is.
“It’s similar to a lot of health and wellness ingredients people hear about,” she said. “They know it’s good; they know it’s important. They are leaning on their network to help them better understand it.”
Health trends Tyson Foods sees advancing in 2019 include cognitive health and digestive health. The company highlighted such ingredients as dandelion greens and jicama that may contribute to cognitive health, and probiotics and turmeric for digestive health.
The Internet of Things and connectedness are two technology trends that will influence the food and beverage industry in 2019.
“Technology is really changing the way people interact with their food,” Bentz said. “Some of the new kitchen gadgets like the Instapot and sous vide machines are really interesting.
“These technologies will affect how recipes are designed, and that is a big area for us as we look at appliance development and how a meal is cooked. It will move from sticking a meal in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees to the recipe connecting from an app to the appliance and following precise cooking instructions.”
Tyson Foods is working with Allrecipes.com about the potential of connected homes and smart kitchen apps.
“There are start-ups in recipe development that can adapt,” Bentz said. “Maybe you prefer to have salmon in a dish rather than another meat. Or maybe you are allergic to an ingredient in a recipe. These technologies allow you to alter a recipe and they will alter the cooking instructions by interacting with the recipe app. It changes the way food can be cooked through a connected system. Products we are developing fit into some of this customization.”
Tyson Foods is forecasting consumer interest in protein will continue to rise in 2019. The continued interest will extend beyond animal protein and include plant protein. To capitalize on consumer interest in animal protein and plant protein, the company will introduce Aidell’s Whole Blend Sausages in the second-half of the year that will have a formulation featuring both animal and plant protein.
“(Aidell’s Blends) is focused on being culinary forward and delivering on high protein,” Bentz said. “We are taking vegetables that are high in protein and combining with animal protein.”
Bentz said the target consumer for the new product are flexitarians interested in trying all sorts of foods and on a journey of culinary adventure.
Convenience is an attribute that did not appear on Tyson’s trends list, but Bentz said that is because convenience is the cost of entry into many categories and incorporated into the trends the company sees emerging. Convenience products Tyson Foods will introduce in 2019 include Jimmy Dean Breakfast Roll-Ups, Anytizer Chicken Chips, and slow-cooker kits sold under the Tyson brand.
The company also has entered into a partnership with the Tajin seasoning brand to add its seasoning brand to a variety of Tyson Food products.
“Tajin is one of the fastest growing spice blends in Mexico,” Bentz said. “We have created a partnership with them and will be infusing their flavor into Tyson and Hillshire Farm brand products.”
In the Trendtellers report, Tyson Foods said consumer interest in the fusion of flavors will continue. In part, the trend is being driven by parents who have introduced their children to modern flavors and cuisines.
“Today, many people don’t think of Chinese or Italian food as ethnic,” Bentz said. “It goes back to the culinary adventure. People are open to new combinations and it shows in the products available today.”
The complete list of trends in Tyson Foods’s Trendtellers report may be found here.