Market Shake Event: The discussion continues

Leaving no question unanswered

Hey, there!

If you somehow managed to escape all the spamming we did about our AMA event from Dec 7, firstly, I’m very impressed. And B., you missed a fantastic opportunity to watch our very own experts duke it out “Battle Royale” style (or maybe “Hunger Games” is more apt here) about food and drink. 

Don’t worry, though, you can watch it now - just click on the video below.

Okay, okay, I’m kidding. It was a very civil, delightful discussion, chock-full of great insights spanning a wide range of themes, including:

🌍 Sustainability

🥗 Nutrition

🫕 Flavors

🍩 Ultra-processed foods

🌿 Plant-based foods

🧩 Consumer attitudes & insights

Our experts have also very kindly answered questions we couldn’t get to during the live session. So, read on for them! 


  • 📰 In The News: 0% steps up its game, torture tool goes plant-based; Doritos plotting world domination, and more…

  • 📱Trending with Gen Z: Menus are the latest cause for anxiety

  • 🚀 Innovation Deep Dive: Leftover questions from our AMA event

📰 In The News

A curation of our favorite F&B innovation stories from the week. Can be read in less than a 🧻 break.

  • The secret to healthy alcohol might finally be here. Drumroll, please… it’s no alcohol. But brands be extra now, taking alcohol-free options to the next level with pretty strong functional associations. 

    Belgium beer company Thrive has introduced a beer that contains 10 vitamins, including 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D3 and all B vitamins per can. 🍺💊

Image source: Thrive Beer 

The pioneer of the hard seltzer, White Claw, has gone soft with a 0% alcohol range which has hydrating electrolytes. 

Image source: PR Newswire

  • Blofeld’s favorite torture device is now available in a plant-based form – it may still torture 007, but not by chomping down on him. New kid on the plant-based fish block, WOOP4, has launched a range of konjac-based products with thus far untapped varieties: mahi-mahi and piranha. 🐠
    I’m now waiting for someone to one-up this with plant-based pufferfish. 🐡

Image source: WOOP4

  • Since they became part of the sugar discourse about a decade ago, sugar levies have been as contentious as the debate about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. But a recent study looking at the impact of the UK’s sugar tax on soft drinks indicated that there had been a significant decline in hospital admissions for tooth decay. This new study may be yet another ingredient in the batter for sugar reduction advocates. 🏥🦷

  • McCormick’s flavor for 2024 is the tangy, sweet tamarind. It’s widely used in Caribbean, Indian, Mexican, and Thai cuisine and is a lowkey flavor enhancer in the hard-to-pronounce Worcestershire sauce. Tamarind’s got a lot of potential as a flavor for confectionery, condiments, snacks, and even cocktails. Watch out for it!

Image source: Pexels

  • While Gen Z and Millennials suck all the oxygen out the room, other consumer demographics do exist. Check out Gen X’s food preferences, summed up as “traditional with a twist” by The Food Institute.

  • Food-only malls have started to dot the retail space landscape in India, as mall operators recognize that food and drink are massive money makers. 🏬🥡

  • Doritos, sighhhhh… Stop trying to take over the world.

Image source: Empirical

What social media is telling us about Gen-Z’s cravings! Can be enjoyed during an 🛗 ride.

Restaurants, it may be time to Marie Kondo that menu. Do all those 120 types of wine and 500 dishes really spark joy in you? They definitely do not in the kids – you know, your current and future customers? 

A survey by Italian restaurant Prezzo in the UK of 2,000 people found that 86% of Gen Z consumers had struggled with “menu anxiety” – a form of panic that occurs when one is asked to make a choice from a menu at a restaurant. They’re not the only ones impacted by this decision paralysis. Around 67% of all respondents said they’d experienced this as well.

There were a number of triggers for this, including:

  • Price of the meal

  • Not finding a dish they like

  • Not liking what they ordered

  • Not being able to pronounce dishes

  • Just too many damn things on the menu

Around 38% of Gen Zers and millennials said they wouldn't even go to a restaurant without checking the menu beforehand. A third of Gen Zers even said they ask others to order for them.

Something that is supposed to be a relaxing and fun experience should not be so overwhelming. So much so that consumers are choosing not to dine out because of menu anxiety. 

Plus, there’s plenty of research out there to show that more choice is not a good thing and just leads to consumers not buying at all. It’s also better for the environment and the bottom line. Less, after all, is more.

🚀 Innovation Deep Dive: AMA Leftovers

A deeper dive into F&B innovation. Can be read in less than a 🚋 ride.

There were a few straggler questions we couldn’t get to during our live AMA event on December 7, 2023. Here they are, answered!

How do you go about translating a popular food service trend to on-shelf products? Or vice versa? 

Answer: This depends on what application or who the customer is. For example, a retail grocer could use a flavor like cookies and cream and offer it as a whipped topping and a national restaurant could apply this same flavor as a pancake with a creamy syrup.

Do you think the plant-based trend has peaked? This category has seen a significant slowdown over the last year. Where can it go from here?

Answer: I believe the plant-based trend will re-adjust to be less analog and more plant-forward, using more natural ingredients rather than a meat replica. Chefs that I speak with want cleaner ingredients from this category, they also want better tasting products. Too many products were rushed to hit production and they simply didn’t taste good.

Celebrating moments and seasons is a detected flavor trend from our side. But how can seasonal products be changed to become more interesting and new in their taste so that the same standard flavors are not used and released every year?

Answer: In the USA, this has become a bit of an issue with PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, release from Starbucks). Pumpkin spice still has many ways to get used besides a latte, but also explore other seasonal flavors like cinnamon, apple & clove, or ginger & nutmeg and start in applications that your customers are happy with. Then offer them as a limited time offering (LTO) and begin to explore different categories that make the most sense to your business.



How can we craft a product with therapeutic ingredients and plant extract with a distinctive flavor profile for a long shelf life?  

Answer: Each ingredient must be assessed individually and then in combination to evaluate potential concerns (i.e., incompatibility) according to the main Key Quality Attributes (sensory, analytical, physical, chemical). The product needs to then be put on stability (ambient and accelerated) to assess those attributes again over time and determine shelf-life. 

There are a lot of new companies entering the supplements category. How can they set themselves apart from already established players?

Answer: Depending on the market, category, competitive landscape, we can look at the USPs and differentiating points to build an innovation roadmap and increase the probability of success not only during development and launch, but for a long-term sustainable product, service, technology, and business model for the company.


The carnivore diet trend has become immensely popular on social media. What impact could this have on the plant-based movement? 

Answer: Like any dietary trend, the carnivore diet has its proponents and critics. Some individuals claim benefits such as weight loss and alleviation of medical issues, with even the Harvard Chan School of Public Health researching its effects.

However, it's crucial to acknowledge the potential drawbacks associated with the carnivore diet. The high protein intake, reminiscent of the Keto and Atkins diets, may lead to long-term consequences such as kidney damage. Additionally, the financial aspect cannot be overlooked, as maintaining this diet tends to incur higher costs.

The impact of the carnivore diet on the plant-based movement is contingent on individuals' motivations for adopting such dietary practices. Those solely focused on rapid weight loss and addressing health issues may overlook the broader social and environmental considerations championed by the plant-based movement.

In essence, while the carnivore diet may offer short-term benefits for certain individuals, its long-term implications and potential conflict with the values emphasized by the plant-based movement warrant careful consideration.

If a company develops a product based on a personal story, how do you gauge its potential success? How much weightage can be given to market insights/trends versus personal experience?     

Answer: Integrating a personal story into a product can add a compelling dimension, but its potential success hinges on a balanced approach that incorporates broader market insights and trends. While a personal narrative is not mandatory, if present, it should seamlessly contribute to the overarching “Why” of the product’s significance.

Market insights and trends play a pivotal role in shaping the larger narrative. Consideration should be given to factors such as the product's

  • Benefits

  • Cost-effectiveness

  • Alignment with current trends

  • On-trend ingredients 

  • Sustainability aspects or a compelling sustainability story

These elements contribute to building a comprehensive narrative that resonates with the target audience.

While personal experience holds value, it should be viewed as a complementary aspect rather than the sole driving force. Assigning a percentage, roughly 10%-15%, to personal experience within the overall story emphasizes its role as a hook to capture consumer attention. The critical focus remains on addressing the consumer’s needs and illustrating how the product's story aligns with their own.

In essence, the success of a product lies in striking a harmonious balance between the personal narrative and market insights. The key is not just in telling a personal story but in demonstrating how the product enhances the consumer’s story and fulfills their needs.


Like what you’re reading?

And last but not least:

How do you find a niche if you want to launch a new product? A related question is how do you spot an emerging trend?

Dan: Here is the truth about trends: none of them are new; they’re just being re-discovered and updated. If you want to be a leader in trend-spotting, start exploring local restaurants that feature ethnic/global cuisine. Talk to the chef and discover why they are making this and soon you will have struck gold!

Raphaëlle: We look at extremes (cultural, customers, technology, services) from a qualitative (experience) and quantitative (data) perspective. Part of my work is to screen for early signals and warnings across multiple markets, sectors, and categories to pick on those early signals and assess how these could translate into a value-added design from a consumer perspective for the early adopters 

Phaedra: Discovering a niche for a new product and identifying emerging trends involves a comprehensive exploration across various channels. Begin by examining diverse outlets such as retail platforms, menus in restaurants, social media, and market research reports that highlight trends ranging from emerging to ubiquitous.

A strategic approach involves evaluating the pace of growth within both retail and foodservice sectors – analyzing whether the trend is gaining momentum in independent restaurants or regional chain menus. A rapid expansion in both realms can serve as a strong indicator of its increasing popularity.

The key lies in conducting a thorough analysis across multiple touchpoints and discerning where a particular trend exhibits notable growth. By gauging its presence in both retail and foodservice, especially in independent and regional settings, you can gain valuable insights into the potential success and relevance of the niche for your new product.

Want to leverage our experts for your own product innovation?

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