This time of year, everybody out there has predictions for what’s going to be big in the coming year. But no one ever circles back and checks themselves to see if their predictions were accurate. Until now. We made some bold predictions at the beginning of 2018—here’s how they fared.

Our prediction: Pending legislation on food labels would amplify chatter on the topic.

Recent updates: In April, representatives from the House introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act (FMLA) of 20181, but it has yet to be voted on by the House. Then in May, the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts and Serving Size label rules announced in 2016 were pushed back to January 1, 20202. Moreover, independent research conducted by Charleston|Orwig indicated 63 percent of consumers think food labels are very or extremely important—meaning, yes, we called it. And you can expect to continue hearing about these issues in the coming year.

Our prediction: Alternative proteins would be on the rise.

Recent updates: It’s true—alternatives to more than just chicken and beef are gaining traction. Plant-based eggs, crab cakes, sushi, shrimp and poke are all on the rise.3 This summer, Nielsen data showed that sales of plant-based meat alternatives had increased by 24 percent in the last year, hitting $670 million in sales.4

Our prediction: Food as a form of self-care or authentic wellness would increase.

Recent updates: It’s certainly true that consumers have continued to choose healthier options for themselves and their wellbeing. Functional food ingredients—those that claim to make you sleep better, exercise better or even be more effective at work— including things like prebiotics and probiotics, are estimated to have increased by almost $4 billion in 2018 to a total of $68.6 billion. By 2023, the market is projected to reach $94.21 billion5—meaning we may have been a little early on this prediction.

Our prediction: Lab-grown food would gain traction as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditionally grown food.

Recent updates: As these foods continue to attract attention, dispute over what they should be called has ensued. Lab-grown meat companies struck a truce with the U.S. meat industry, agreeing to scrap the term “clean meat” because of its implication that regular meat is somehow unclean, and replace it with “cell-based meat”. 6 We are also hearing the term, “cellular agriculture.” However, regulators will ultimately decide how these products should be labeled—as soon as it’s decided whether the FDA or USDA will lead oversight of the category. 7 So far it looks like some sort of joint oversight.

Our prediction: Traditional cooking would make a comeback—especially among millennials and Gen-Zers.

Recent updates: Aside from the proof of continued popularity of meal kits and at-home grocery delivery, cookbook sales in the first half of 2018 were up 21 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.8 Not only are people increasingly cooking in their homes, but there’s something about the traditional, almost nostalgic feeling that they enjoy.

C|O insight

It can be hard to predict what will shape the industry in the coming months, but certainly not impossible. One thing we know for sure is that from seeds in the ground to entrée on the plate, our favorite industries continue to evolve at an increasing rate. To keep up with our consumer research and the trends we’re eyeing, and to make sure your marketing and communications programs are keeping pace, contact Mark Gale:










Published On: December 19th, 2018Categories: Campaigns and Communication

C.O.nxt Insight.

Our team of subject matter experts focuses on food and agriculture—farm field to processing to entrée on a plate. We can help you build a new brand, protect an old one or target customers to foster sales. Let’s talk when the time is right to handle your next strategic marketing and communications challenge: Marcy Tessmann,


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