5 Food Tech Trends With Major Potential for CPG
The food tech presentations at The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are where you can find the latest trends that affect the food and food services industry. This past January, CES showcased advancements in consumer electronics, ingredients, and trailblazing AI products that are sure to revolutionize CPG.
EHY walked the floor and created a roundup of food tech that we think holds the most potential for CPG food brands. Here’s our list of noteworthy trends coming down the pike.
1. Advancements in Alternative Proteins and Future Foods
Ever since Impossible Burger debuted in 2019, alternative proteins have been a hot topic in the food industry. Now, everyone is looking for the next “big thing” in future foods. Several companies have developed new protein inventions, but we were most impressed by Armored Fresh Technologies. Their team discovered a way to replace casein (an animal product) with a plant-based product that provides the taste and texture found in dairy products. Gone are the days of rubbery vegan cheese and watery yogurt.
SavorEat is another cutting-edge protein. The company built a 3D-printing robot that makes plant-based meat tailored to customers’ exact specifications. Even better? Their robot chef can cook these meals for you. Currently, their focus is food service, but they intend to create an at-home version in the future.
When it comes to plant-based meats, it’s hard to get them just right. So SavorEats is an especially interesting company to watch. Not only did they create a new plant-based protein, but they built an appliance to ensure a bespoke taste and texture. Take note if you’re in the business of creating new plant-based recipes or food alternatives. How can you position yourself amongst competitors with this “flavor” of technology?
2. New Appliances — and Marketing Opportunities
These new gadgets aren’t just convenient for the customer. They provide new marketing opportunities.
Creators of smart cutting board BLOK bill their product as a “Peloton for the kitchen.” Users can chop food and stream cooking classes through the device’s video screen. If your CPG brand relies heavily on recipe content and social listening, BLOK provides an opportunity to showcase your product and prove ROI.
Another noteworthy invention is the Smarter FridgeCam. It’s a camera that attaches to the fridge to track food inventory. In addition to the literal hardware, the company announced it had acquired Chefling. This food software helps home cooks manage food inventory, create shopping lists, and plan meals. Soon, Smarter will pair Chefling’s food inventory database with its food image recognition capabilities, creating the most advanced food inventory management system available.
Smell a marketing opportunity here? We do too. Your CPG marketing team can potentially reach customers through the Smarter FridgeCam shopping list generator, which connects to AmazonFresh. It’s another opportunity to keep your products top of mind as your customer shops.
3. High-tech Food Vending Creates DTC Opportunities
Innovations in vending machines provide an avenue for CPGs to offer direct-to-consumer products. We were impressed with Yo-Kai Express, a robotic ramen vending machine that now serves over 20 menu items. Consumers can enjoy delicious meals in under 90 seconds, like Taiwanese beef noodle soup and gyu donburi. The vending machine even offers desserts like vegan brownies, tiramisu, and a mouthwatering matcha mousse bombe. Talk about elevating the food vending machine business.
A slightly more utilitarian machine, the Cargill’s Chekt, is a smart food locker system for restaurants and stadiums. Its system automates the handoff of prepared food to customers or delivery drivers. Additionally, lockers can house both hot and cold items in the same unit, allowing a food service to sell warm meals and cold drinks.
These innovations broaden the possibilities for CPG and food service businesses alike. More brands can feature DTC products in vending machines and storage lockers without being limited by the items’ temperature or prep time.
4. Utilizing AI for Personalized Experiences
Artificial intelligence is changing industries everywhere, and the food industry is no exception. One example is Samsung’s Bespoke AI Oven, a built-in wall oven featuring a “Sense Inside” tool. This technology uses AI-powered image recognition to identify up to 80 different dishes and cook them to perfection.
Another impressive find is VersaWare, which simplifies nutrition through a personalized AI platform built into smart-kitchen products. Their products provide nutrition values of the consumer’s entire meal informed by personal bio-metrics, consumption data, and dietary preferences.
If you haven’t started incorporating AI into your products, it’s worth exploring. AI can create more intuitive, personalized customer experiences, and as it becomes more ubiquitous in everyday life, your customers may start to expect this level of personalization.
5. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Enhance Shopping Experiences
Inventions like the TCL RayNeo X2 show us that VR is moving in a more practical direction. Soon, tech glasses will be a part of everyday use. And this portends plenty of advertisement opportunities. The latest tech glasses are equipped with full-color displays, smart navigation, and messaging. As they hit the mainstream, your team will have more opportunities to promote ads to shoppers during their grocery runs.
OVR Technology’s Ion piqued our interest, too. This device provides an olfactory element to virtual reality experiences, like shopping. Imagine what a boon it would be to your marketing efforts if your customer could smell your products as they shop online.
An Advertising and PR Agency Can Integrate Food Tech Trends into your Products
While some trends in food tech may not be practical for your business, others are sure to inspire visions for clever product features and progressive marketing.
Not sure how to incorporate some of these ideas into your product development? An advertising and PR agency like EHY can help you think creatively, and capitalize on where and how to reach your customer and meet their needs. If there’s a new platform to promote your marketing messaging, we will find it. Ready to work with the best in CPG? Reach out.