Leading online grocer’s team of industry experts reveal forecast centred on food, flavour, function and consumer preferences.
FreshDirect, the online grocery shopping pioneer delivering the highest quality, freshest food since 2002, announced today its 2024 food trend insights which range from flavor and function to sustainability and influence. FreshDirect’s expert merchant team of category specialists has curated the annual list which reveals what’s new in industry innovation and customer preferences.
“In a rapidly evolving food and online grocery landscape, FreshDirect is at the forefront of delivering customers the highest-quality, freshest food along with driving simple healthy solutions that make every day better for them,” said Charlotte Myer, Co-lead of merchandising, FreshDirect. “Our team of industry experts is continuously ahead of food innovation—identifying the flavours, ingredients and culinary movements that will captivate customer palates and shape the industry in the coming years.”
FreshDirect’s top 5 trends for 2024 include:
- The Upside to Upcycling: Tackling Food Waste — Customers want to reduce their food waste at every step of their meal. In 2024, that will mean purchasing food that is made with usable food scraps, in other words, upcycling. From product off the shelf to prepared foods and meal kits, waste is not on the menu. Rather than throwing out leftover vegetable stalks, for example, they can be used in items such as FreshDirect’s Cauliflower Gnocchi Meal Kit. Similarly, the trimmings from salmon steaks do not have to end up on the cutting room floor; they can be upcycled in FreshDirect’s salmon cakes. Products across a variety of categories making creative use of upcycled food scraps will be in higher demand. (Yes, this includes FreshDirect’s banana bread and blueberry pound cake as well!)
- Beyond the Shelf: The Rise of DEI in the Grocery Sector — The impact of proper Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) representation resonates with consumers, enhancing brand loyalty and trust. The growing movement of integrating DEI into the selection and representation of products, not just in the grocery space, but across multiple industries, underscores a fundamental shift in consumer preferences and expectations. This paradigm reflects the awareness that our grocery choices extend beyond mere consumption; they echo our values, beliefs, and commitment to a harmonious, equitable world. This journey toward DEI representation is not just a reflection of changing times; it’s a commitment to embracing the richness of the human experience in every aspect of our lives, even the choices we make at the grocery store. FreshDirect partners with brands like Sanzo, the first Asian inspired sparkling water, and Mexican-American food brand Siete to give customers a variety of choice from brands led by multicultural founders. In addition, FreshDirect recently launched the Rising Industry Producers and Entrepreneurs Program which works with emerging and diverse-owned businesses to help them grow their brands. The participating brands will receive expert advice, including help adapting strategies for ecommerce success and expanding their customer base in the tri-state area, and be able to leverage internal FreshDirect resources to grow their brands.
- Greens, Eggs, and Ham: Sustainability in Farming Practices — The contemporary food landscape is prioritising sustainability, and as customers look for ways to make a positive impact through their grocery choices, they seek to support sustainable practices in as many ways as possible. Outdoor fruit harvests have become increasingly unpredictable due to climate change, which is why strawberries grown indoors are consistently popular among customers. Many growers, like Gotham Greens and Bowery Farming, utilise indoor farming to sustainably produce greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables for urban areas. With the success of indoor farming this year, expect more companies to offer indoor-grown produce. Regenerative agriculture is also in the forefront of sustainable efforts, with customers showing preference toward regeneratively grown meat. Efforts such as FreshDirect’s 100% Grass Fed Beef Program work with family-owned farms in the Northeast who ensure cattle are never given antibiotics, added hormones, or grain-based feed. These farms also use regenerative practices to rebuild the soil, restore biodiversity, and improve the water cycle. These practices benefit not just the farmer and the consumer, but also the animals and the environment.
- Following Your Gut: The Power of Functional Beverages — As customers seek products that are highly nutritious, they have also expressed a desire for beverage products that go beyond nutrition. Beverage purveyors are stepping up to meet heightened consumer demands, crafting products like better-for-you energy drinks tailored to wellness enthusiasts. As digestive well-being gains prominence, the market sees the rise of probiotic offerings, moving beyond kombucha to whey-based tonics, driven by heightened health awareness. Prebiotic sodas with immunity boosting properties are also increasing in popularity.
- Pass the Dip, Spread the Flavor: Embracing Small Plates — It’s no secret that everyone likes a good spread. Premium tinned seafood, snacking cheeses, and specialty dips have been huge growth drivers this past year and will continue to gain popularity as folks come together and look for easy, nutritious ways to satisfy their party guests. The versatility and quick preparation of appetisers and small plates are a host’s dream. Guests get to try an array of flavours and feed their adventurous appetites. From dairy-free options and plant-based dips, to alternative protein options like tinned fish that add that extra salty goodness to a salad or charcuterie board, there is something for everyone at the party table.