The Agri-food sector showed a moderate growth even during the pandemic, and after the emergency the increase will become significant again thanks to consumer trends such as the healthy and premium food segments.
Ahead with caution, but with good future perspectives. This could be the snapshot of the current Food & Beverage market. An analysis by Research & Markets estimated that the global Food & Beverage market grew from $5,943.8 billion in 2019 to $6,111.1 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9%. A growth lower than pre-Covid forecasts, but still interesting, and which foreshadows a recovery with a 7% CAGR from 2021, to reach $7,527.5 billion in value in 2023.
The growth will be mainly driven by diverse trends. Analysing purchasing data on its channels, Alibaba predicted that plant-based foods will grow first, particularly meat analogues due to their increasing quality. In the same natural and healthy line, consumption of fresh and frozen products is also expected to grow, particularly vegetables which have increased by a spectacular +33% in 2020 according to IRI. But this will not be the only line of growth. There is also an increasing trend towards ‘premiumisation', i.e. the willingness of consumers to pay more for products perceived as exclusive. This trend is especially affecting Millennials and the Gen Z, and in particular products - identified by a survey conducted by FONA International - such as chocolate (+76%), bakery (+28), packaged meat and fish (+200%) and hot drinks (+16%). Spices and condiments and sustainable products are also doing good.
Food Dive also underlines the trend for healthy products, with a special focus on functional foods that support the immune system, as a consequence of fears triggered by the pandemic. In the US, for example, 77% of consumers say they would like to do more to stay healthy. Still in the US, 18% tried plant-based analogues for the first time during the pandemic and 92% of those who did want to continue buying them.