Innovation: Bringing the Trends to Life

Innovation: Bringing the Trends to Life

There’s a lot of trends out there, and a lot of reports about trends… But how do you take the trends and bring them to life? At Earth Ranch, we’re going to help you take trend insights and turn them into viable, shelf-ready products, focusing mainly on snacking and breakfast. Here we go!

    1. Complex Heat/“Spicy”:  It’s still heating up out there! But now, it’s even more complex and creative. Balancing out heat with sweet or other complimentary flavors can help to drive the staying power of this trend. Millennials are still driving velocities with these flavors, also supported by the consumer desire for “escapism” to explore new foods. To capture the trend, try new creative combinations or LTOs of flavors like: 
      • Honey/Mango Habanero
      • Pickled Pepper
      • Chili Lime Mango
      • Scorpion Pepper Ranch
      • Yuzu Hot Pepper
      • Sweet Thai Chili
      • Szechuan Tangerine
    1. Clean Caffeine:  We still need to be caffeinated, but many are trying healthier alternatives while focusing more on “healthspan”, a predicted 2024 buzzword. Alternative options to coffee like natural caffeine sources and adaptogenic ingredients can still give consumers the boost they need. Caffeine is also popping up in more products that we don’t typically see caffeine in, especially in snacks. To capture the trend, try adding in some of the below ingredients to claim the same amount of caffeine as a shot of espresso/cup of coffee or brain-boosting and stress-busting benefits to products typically consumed in the morning or mid-afternoon:
      • Green coffee bean extract
      • Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane and other Mushrooms
      • Maca Root
      • Yerba Mate
    1. Global Inspiration Continues:  The global economy and resumed post-pandemic travel continues to drive a robust demand for globally-inspired foods. Different regions are becoming popular (again), with consumers getting to continue to be world explorers through food, and cultural mash-ups renewing interest in European cuisines, driven also by consumer desires for nostalgia. With 77% of consumers excited about new food and beverage trends in 2024 according to Datassential, try capturing this trend through LTO’s to bring the consumer on an exciting journey across the world with flavors like:
      • Mediterranean Herb
      • Harissa Caesar
      • Amba (a pickled green mango tangy sauce popular in Israel)
      • Shawarma Spiced
    1. Umami Combinations:  Gen Z is much more into umami than other generations, asking for the “essence of deliciousness” in almost anything. Along with the trend, we’re seeing MSG pop up a lot more – a stark contrast to the anti-MSG movement of the past. With Gen Z having a very positive sentiment towards store brands and highly loyal to store brands according to PLMA, try capturing this trend by adding a meaty, savory, rich, salty or even charred flavor to a product to deepen the flavor, utilizing ingredients like the following:
      • Mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, crimini, portabella)
      • Coconut Aminos & Soy Sauce
      • Nutritional Yeast
      • Miso and some other fermented ingredients
      • MSG
      • Seaweed & Kelp
    1. Regenerative Agriculture:  With a new film called “Common Ground” currently in select theaters featuring celebrities like Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson and Donald Glover, we could see the same impact on consumer interest in regenerative agriculture that “Game Changers” had on plant-based diets. This documentary shares why regenerative agriculture practices are so helpful in reducing climate impacts and reversing climate change, claiming that regenerative agriculture can truly save the world. According to SPINS, regenerative products have been growing at more than 20% for the past year. The issue for retailers and food manufacturers is cost - regenerative practices are generally more expensive, resulting in higher ingredient prices. To help keep the price down on shelf but still capture the trend, try using a regenerative hero ingredient to make a front-of-pack claim, sharing more of the regenerative story on back-of-pack and in marketing efforts.
    2. New Packaging Form Factors:  We’re also seeing lots of innovation in packaging types, with some innovative new ways to deliver the same old products, all focusing on convenience. Whether that’s a shaker bottle for oatmeal, or a squeeze bottle for real maple syrup, think convenience at the moment of consumption. 
    3. Back to Whole Foods:  While the plant-based protein trend almost got it right, they missed huge on consumer adoption of lab-created products. Two steps forward, one step back… but at least now we’re getting back into whole foods that are plant-based as consumers seem to have a renewed interest in putting their health first into 2024. The health-freak in me is very excited to see more whole food plant-based products enter the market in 2024, especially when it comes to those boosted with plant-based proteins!  To capture the trend, try utilizing some whole food ingredients in different ways, like utilizing dates to sweeten, or real fruits to add natural flavor. Pro Tip:  Dehydration manufacturers like us do this best!
    4. Functional is becoming mainstream:  If you saw me being quoted in this article, I really see functional claims popping up in more mainstream products in 2024 and 2025. Consumers keep demanding more out of their food and becoming more price sensitive, so that means they need more out of less. Not just a snack, but a snack that gives them more. Think about adding a functional ingredient to some best-selling products. Oats, granolas, trail mixes, and other snacks are easy options to add a functional ingredient to - whether it’s protein, adaptogens, or a vitamin additive like Vitamin D, most functional ingredients can easily be added to a formulation for a front-of-pack claim.


Dill Pickle EVERYTHING! Whether it’s popsicles, nuts, chicken, or ketchup, we’re seeing dill pickle flavors everywhere, and are positive some of these products will be here to stay. To capture the trend:  Try our Spicy Dill Pickle Nut Fusions with real habanero and dill pickle flavor infused inside of the almond, not coated on the outside! One of our newest innovations that’s ready for your brand today.

Let’s kickstart some conversations on the trends that most align with your consumer and bring a real product to life together!

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