2020 Innovation & Product Trends: Staying Ahead of the Curve
Genelle Chetcuti, VP of Marketing, RW Garcia
In a world where “trending” has become everyday language for many, how does a company differentiate between what is truly a trend and what might just be the latest passing fad? Part of a strong strategy is having the good sense to be able to decipher fads that quickly come and go from the food trends that gain strength over time. Call it intuition or perhaps just luck but throughout our three decades of being in business, many of which were long before fads and trends were generating hashtags, RW Garcia has managed to stay ahead of the innovation bell curve.
As both a family member and an executive of RW Garcia I attribute our company’s innovative success to staying true to our core values. For over 35 years, our mission has always been to consistently bring healthy, innovative snacks to consumers worldwide. In the last several years we’ve witnessed a shift, referred to by some as a mega-trend, with millennial consumers pushing for traits such as transparency, sustainability, and added health benefits from their food supply. Consumers want to know what ingredients are going into their bodies and where those ingredients come from. They are looking for brands that reflect their own personal values and are seeking out pioneering companies that are leading the way with sustainable and socially conscious efforts. According to Forbes, giant food conglomerates are taking heed and listening to the demands of consumers – with the realization that they need to make enormous, systemic changes for the betterment of our people and our planet in order to stay competitive. These factors all contribute to growth in the organic and natural food markets. In fact, sales of organic products broke the 50 million mark in 2018, up 6.3% from the previous year as noted in a recent survey by the Organic Trade Association. Organic is no longer a niche market, many stores have their own organic line, older brands are being rebirthed with a more healthful halo, stores like Costco have dedicated a whole section to organic, and most recently 7-Eleven hopped on the trend wagon with their launch of a new wave of “better for you” brands. The shift towards natural, organic, and more healthful food isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon, in fact some have predicted 2020 to be the biggest year ever for these trends.
With all the efforts to make the food supply more transparent and better for you by using clean ingredients, we must not forget to pay attention to a component that has always been at the forefront of RW Garcia products and according to many is still the most important driver for brand loyalty - taste! Unique flavor profiles with added health benefits are starting to make waves as real trends in the snack food category. Spices such as turmeric and ginger are both riding the trend wave as they are a popular option not only because of their flavor profiles but also for their health benefits. RW Garcia meets this trend with our unique Organic Lentil with Turmeric crackers. A healthful combination of corn, lentils and a flavor-packed savory turmeric seasoning.
Another trend in flavor innovation is developing healthier alternatives to existing and well-known flavors. We recently launched an Organic corn chip line in the conventional flavors so many of us grew up on – Chili Cheese, BBQ, Yellow Salted and, for an updated twist, Blue corn salted corn chips. We are seeing great traction in the market for these delicious snacks…all of which pack great flavor and clean ingredients into a traditional snack favorite.
Consumers seeking food with more nutritional value are also looking for high-quality snack products utilizing ingredients such as seeds (chia, sesame), pulses (chickpeas, lentils), ancient grains, and root vegetables (beets, sweet potato, cassava). Cassava was predicted by “2019 Food Trends that Matter” as a plant-based trending ingredient that will continue to attract consumer attention and influence product innovation in gluten-free snack foods. But it looks like kale may have passed its renaissance moment and moved into the mainstream, as according to the 2015 to 2019 Top 10 "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey, kale moved from the number three position in 2015 to no longer being in the top 10 for 2019.
RW Garcia has managed to stay ahead of the curve with our trendsetting snack innovations throughout our company history delivering on taste, crunch, and products with enhanced nutritional value since our inception. We were first to add flaxseed, sesame and other ancient grains in 1990, developed a line of delicious gluten-free crackers in 2000, and we started the ball rolling on chips and crackers with the inclusion of vegetables long before the snack aisle was overflowing with them. We are proud of our efforts in transforming trends into snacks with health benefits, utilizing ingredients that stand the test of time. What’s next? Well – let’s just say we are working on some really exciting and delicious new products that will deliver on our mission promise. Stay tuned for the next evolution, and in the meantime remember to: Snack Healthy. Snack Delicious.