Braver design for a brighter tomorrow.

Taste the Future

Unlocking value for food and drink brands.

by Emma Davies, Senior Strategist at B&B studio on 22/03/2024

At our most recent Brave New Word event, we welcomed trends, foresight and strategic agency; The Future Laboratory, for a discussion on key drivers affecting the food and drink brand landscape in 2024.

The food and drink industry has been marked by multiple challenges over the last year; growing environmental concerns, supply chain struggles and most felt, the cost-of-living crisis. Amidst it all, a growing tension is playing out whereby consumers don’t want to sacrifice on conscious and enhanced food and drink experiences despite significant cost pressures.

Here, we capture some key insights from the evening; focusing on how some of the most forward-thinking brands are grappling this shifting landscape surrounding value.

Ai efficiencies 

Ai’s influence is taking hold of every industry, and food and drink is no different. In the realm of inflation specifically, the Future Laboratory discussed examples of food delivery services using Ai to help consumers find affordable and nutritious food as fast as possible. Inflation Cookbook (a Canadian delivery service), monitors prices of 40+ items across 80+ locations nationwide. It then selects 10 items with reduced prices, to craft budget-friendly recipes, catering to cost-conscious consumers.

Brand: The Inflation Cookbook/Image source: mugglehead.com

Cost allies 

It was refreshing to hear, that even in the realm of price, brands are choosing to side with consumers; empowering them to make better financial decisions. Edeka, a German supermarket group, recently launched a food waste prevention initiative, offering shoppers valuable insights to minimise waste and maximise their grocery budgets. Meanwhile, French retailer Carrefour is tackling deceptive pricing head-on with shrinkflation labels, ensuring shoppers are informed and suppliers are held accountable.

Brand: Edeka/Image source: Oktakite

Make me Feel  

In an age of introspection, The Future Laboratory highlighted opportunities to tap into different emotional states as a way of providing value beyond the functional and obvious. The beverage category was cited as an exemplary category that has successfully positioned products to benefit mental health not just physical. Emotional Utility Beverage, a US functional beverage brand, are crafting drinks with brain-boosting ingredients linked to feelings of euphoria and focus.

Brand: Emotional Utility Beverage Image sources: The Dieline alimentarium.orgalimentarium.org

Green gains 

Contrary to popular assumptions; sustainable products don’t always equal higher price. The Future Laboratory revealed how aligning with nature can actually lead to cost efficiencies. Take the Solar kitchen pop-up restaurant in Helsinki, for instance, harnessing the power of the sun to cook its entire menu. Whether it’s sunny barbecues or overcast comfort foods, this eco-friendly approach is a win-win for both the planet and the pocket.

Economic instability doesn’t have to spell bad fate. On the contrary, it should, as evidenced in the brands above, provide impetus for brands to reinvent themselves. Ultimately finding creative, new ways to connect and communicate value to consumers.

Brand: Solar Kitchen Image source: Designboom/alimentarium.org