What’s in Store for Food & Beverage in 2020

Posted by: Malisa Meresman in: Food/Beverage -

The 2020 Food & Beverage Beat is here, and 2020 promises to be the year of sustainability. You may think we’ve heard it all before, but in our conversations with eight thought leaders in the U.S. food and beverage industry, it’s clear that sustainability is taking on more meaning — it’s not just about the environment.


For consumers in 2020, sustainability goes beyond earth-friendly practices. It’s about regenerative agriculture and shifting dietary habits. It’s about becoming more educated when it comes to meat and dairy substitutes and wanting less processing in what we eat and drink. Transparency in the food system is going to be key, as people increasingly want to know not just what’s in their food, but how it got there and who is responsible throughout the supply chain.


In the wine industry, a focus on sustainability will lead the way toward more natural wines and exploration of varieties that can thrive as the climate changes and in nontraditional wine-producing regions. Even at the bar it seems mixologists will be finding innovative ways to use and reuse ingredients for a pro-planet happy hour.


And, we can’t forget about sustainability in terms of the social issues relating to who grows and prepares our food, how farm workers are treated, and what types of environments are encouraged in restaurant kitchens and dining rooms.


But it’s not all about sustainability all the time. Sometimes, it’s about new flavors, new regional influences and new generations, as Gen Z is starting to raise its profile. Click here to read all the details, and, as always, feel free to contact us if you want to share trends you’re noticing or want to learn more about how your brand can benefit from the insights of FINN’s consumer group.




Plant-based meats mainstream!

Posted by: Megan VanDomelen in: Food/Beverage -

There’s no arguing that animal-based food alternatives are in high demand right now. We’ve heard all about plant-based milk products and how they’ve continued to grow since 2014. The plant-based milk category has grown 3.1% over the last year, while cow’s milk sales have gone down about 5%, according to Nielsen. But, milk alternatives aren’t the only category on the rise – plant-based protein and meat substitutes are projected to reach $5 billion (with a ‘b’) by 2020. This year, Beyond Burger – a plant-based burger that looks, cooks and smells like meat – saw sales more than double, and shares jumped 21% in June.

Fast food chains are even jumping on the plant-based train. In 2019, the Impossible Burger – another meat alternative that is a blend of soy and potato proteins – announced partnerships with Burger King, Subway and Qdoba, while McDonald’s and KFC joined forces with Beyond Burger.

Another trending meat alternative is the hybrid meat-plant burger for consumers that are looking to reduce their meat intake, but not eliminate it. This trend is growing as more people are reducing their meat consumption but not going vegetarian or vegan. One brand that is leading the hybrid movement is Applegate (client). Their “Great Organic Blend Burger” launched in March 2019 is made for the “conscious carnivore” and features a blend of humanely raised organic meat or poultry, organic mushrooms and rosemary extract.

So, the question is, why is this new food trend booming right now?


Another Feast in the Books

Posted by: jillw in: Food/Beverage -

Feast Portland 2019 may have come and gone, but the highlight reel keeps playing in our minds and on our palates. Feast has become the nation’s food festival to beat, and for good reason. Much like our culinary landscape, Feast is always evolving, each time introducing fresh events, new locations and innovative showings from an expansive star-studded cast.

Here are some of our impressions from Feast Portland 2019 and its impressive cast of chefs, restauranteurs, and food and beverage purveyors:

Like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location

Crowds at marquee events like The Big Feast and Brunch Village responded well to locally made or Oregon-grown messaging. This year, we even saw an appearance from Burgerville, a Northwest fast food favorite for its focus on sourcing quality ingredients close to home. We think the message has been received: why seek ingredients from afar given the diverse and flavorful bounty at our doorstep?

Sweet or savory? Feast’s answer: Yes.

Why box yourself in? This year, The Big Feast featured numerous sweet and savory pairings that drew attention to the versatility of various ingredients. Coconut was a popular choice, sometimes showcasing its sweetness, other times its texture and crunch. Pickled toppings also added interest, from traditional cucumbers and onions to some unexpected items, like elderberries.


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