In this report, we review key events and trends from 2017 within the food industry, and what to watch for in 2018. We found that in 2017: 1) convenience, “better-for-you” products, personalization, and transparency were the driving forces behind the year’s flurry of industry activity, 2) a myriad of new business models are creating new ways for consumers to select and obtain food, meal kits being one model gaining significant attention, and 3) players are acquiring alternatives once thought of as nuisance competition, forcing food companies to broaden their view up and down the value chain when making innovation decisions. In 2018, we predict: 1) “clean-label” will continue to dominate the conversation in the food science community, offering opportunity for fibers and proteins to serve in new roles, 2) the tides within sugar reduction will turn from “one solution solves all” toward more blended solutions to better match the properties of sucrose, and 3) advances in the microbiome will drive a succession of acquisitions around probiotics and prebiotics.
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