Sustainability Trends

2024: The trends challenging the food industry

The food preferences of consumers are constantly changing, a fact that forces food companies to continually reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive in the market.

Four food trends will dominate 2024, namely the importance of health, the desire for food that is both wholesome and enjoyable, is in harmony with physical needs, and making choices that are better for the environment.


Eating for health and pleasure


Opting for healthy foods does not mean forgoing the pleasure of eating. Quite the opposite: it means finding a balance between well-being and the enjoyment of food. To achieve this, more and more consumers who care about their health are looking for better quality products, which can often be sourced locally1. A survey carried out by Innova Market Insight states that for every consumer prepared to sacrifice pleasure for the sake of healthier products, another would not, confirming a change in mentality towards healthy nutritional choices that do not detract from the pleasure of eating2.

In parallel, consumers are moving away from ultra-processed products in favor of more natural foods. Growing awareness of the adverse effects of additives and transformation processes on health is leading to a progressive rejection of industrial foods. We can also observe a preference for raw ingredients and a reduction in the consumption of pre-packaged foods3.

This trend sees the inclusion of plant products and gluten-free options gaining in popularity, reflecting the diversification of protein sources for health, ecological and ethical reasons. This change is also in response to the growing demands of consumers with intolerances, offering them innovative and flavorsome alternatives.



The development of functional nutrition

Functional nutrition, focused on individual health, recognizes the diversity of nutritional needs related to age, gender, metabolism and genetic preferences. A recent study reveals that one in three consumers say they are proactive in the prevention of health problems, which demonstrates a growing desire to take charge of one’s health through sensible and appropriate food choices2.

Adapting diet to lifestyle is a fundamental strategy for healthy eating, with consumers seeking out personalized nutritional options to meet specific needs, for example, for physical activity, the stages of a woman’s life, food intolerances and food preferences.

One notable trend concerns the balance of macronutrients, with a tendency to increase the consumption of protein and reduce added sugars in order to achieve satiety and manage weight and body composition.

Consumers seeking functional nutrition want specialized, made-to-measure diets with a balance of macronutrients, provision for intolerances, and support in the form of meal planning tools. This is an endeavour that goes beyond the mere fact of eating to become an act of taking care of oneself and one’s well-being.

For more detailed information on this subject, you might like to consult our article on personalized nutrition.


The growth of the snack market

The snack market is experiencing constant growth and should reach the 3.7 billion dollar mark by 2025, with an average annual growth rate of 4.9%4. Whether sweet or savory, healthy or just appetizing, the vast array of products the sector encompasses offer a quick source of energy and are practical and portable thanks to their ready-to-eat composition. This new style of consumption is already common to 85 % of consumers, who treat themselves to at least one snack a day for pure pleasure5.

The growth of this market is fueled by the great number of innovations emerging in the sector to offer products that play a variety of roles, such as satisfying nutritional needs, being a source of pleasure, offering a moment of relaxation, and, finally, fulfilling the functional role by helping the consumer optimize performance.

Over recent years, the growing interest of consumers in health and well-being has generated demand for protein snacks.

At Lactalis Ingredients, we offer a broad range of dairy ingredients that can be easily integrated into the composition of functional snack products. For more information, you might like to read our blog article on this subject: Snacking in 2023: proteins first.




Supporting sustainable development and ecology

At a time of growing environmental awareness, sustainable development and ecology have become fundamental food trends. For consumers, protecting nature should top the list of priorities for companies when they have to decide on measures to implement as part of their environmental and social agenda2.

The packaging revolution, one of the key areas for improvement, is concentrated on sustainable alternatives, reducing single-use plastics, limiting over-packaging of food products and promoting recycling.

Also central to this trend is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in which Lactalis Ingredients is very active, with vital progress being made in key areas such as the environment and nutrition, as well as health and employee development, all of which is described in our latest CSR REPORT.

Furthermore, priority is given to local purchasing and sustainable farming practices in order to ensure food sustainability, creating a new Standard in which food choices are governed by a sense of responsibility towards the planet. Today’s consumers are making informed choices in an effort to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Any questions ? Contact us!


Sources :

1) Innova market insight – Webinar top 10 trends opportunities for 2024
2) Innova Market Insight – Top trends 2024 (2023)
3) Mintel – 2024 Food & Drink Trends: North America webinar
4) Mordor Intelligence, Europe Snack Bar Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027) (2022)
5) Mondelez, The third annual State of Snacking (2022)

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Author : Coralie Pallet

Coralie Pallet is a Junior Product Manager and works in the Marketing Department of Lactalis Ingredients. She is responsible for the management and the development of the ranges of milk powders, rennet and acid caseins and cheese for food applications. She holds an engineering degree in Agronomy, completed by a Master's in Business Management, specialized in agri-food business strategies and marketing.