As 2023 comes to a close, we’re looking back at our most-read articles of the year. Topics related to food and consumer trends, inflation, and sustainability were top of mind this year, but there was also a look toward the future of the industry, with a focus on game-changing solutions like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and radiant energy under vacuum (REV) technology.
Here are our top 10 articles of 2023.
Heading toward 2024, we rounded up some of the top predictions for next year’s food trends, including a trend toward luxury and self-expression (ADM) and a focus on water conservation efforts (Whole Foods).
At the start of the year, guest author Carlos Fernandez at JBT Corporation highlighted five sustainability trends predicted to be central in 2023, including a prioritization of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG); a focus on reducing food waste; and cell-based protein innovation.
Also early in 2023, guest authors from LatentView Analytics explored the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons, highlighting opportunities for this merger to create two specific customer-centric opportunities: smart personalization and intelligent fulfillment.
A report from Deloitte back in February discussed six grocery store behaviors with a strong connection to consumer frugality. Many consumers reported limiting how much they buy and also making trade-offs to cut costs, often choosing less expensive items.
Kicking off the year, the impact of inflation was a heavy topic, with evidence that consumers were changing their spending habits by purchasing products less often or switching brands. There was also a focus on providing affordable premium products and attracting Gen Z workers to manufacturing jobs.
Guest author Buffy Hagerman at Key Technology explored how automation is transforming the food industry, from robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to packaging and drones, and discusses the various benefits of automation, such as cost, speed, and safety, and resiliency.
This year, we published the second edition of the Food & Beverage Industry Software Trends Report. Representatives from across the food industry were asked to share their companies’ most valuable software solutions and greatest challenges, among other topics. In 2023, the proportion of processors and manufacturers who said software provides a competitive advantage for their business went up from 30% in 2022 to 54%.
The private label market experienced a change in perception, where such items are viewed as high-quality alternatives to name brands. This is partly due to many branded products being out of stock during the pandemic, which prompted consumers to try private-label brands. Research also shows that private label products are appealing to consumers in all income brackets.
According to Deloitte’s 2023 Consumer Products Industry Outlook, the majority (70%) of CPG executives said their role was more stressful than it was five years ago. Meanwhile, four in 10 consumers (40%) said their financial situation has worsened. Despite these challenges, the report highlighted five factors set to drive profitable growth in 2023.
Guest author Neval Ceyhun of Unilever provided an overview of radiant energy under vacuum (REV) technology and its role in creating healthy snacks. With the demand for healthy snacking increasing, REV could provide higher retention of ascorbic content (less than 20% loss) compared to air dried products, which lose anywhere from 30% to 60%.