Industry Trends

Product Development During a Pandemic

2020 has presented unpredictable challenges to the food & beverage production industry. This year has been a whirlwind for demand, projections, and production focus for all companies in North America – perhaps none more than the companies that provide nourishment and satisfaction to their consumers around the world. The most challenging times offer the most opportunity for companies to pivot and accelerate into their research and development initiatives.

This year and next will truly define the trajectory of companies for the next ten years. With the disruption in the food market, forward-thinking companies are cutting ties with failing legacy brands and shifting gears into consumer-driven markets; and they are doing it well. Many of our clients are shedding the stiff and dull brands that have been stifling progress.

It is exciting to see companies taking the leap and preparing for the future of food demand. For years, the smaller and more agile companies have been making splashes within the next wave of food in regards to innovation. They’ve been leading the charge with new food trends and processes. Now you are seeing process innovations across the board with the integration of internal and external talent. EV Group is receiving an increase in demand for proactive consultancy earlier on in the process. Companies are getting serious about the new generation in food demand.

Companies are becoming leaner with their core groups in engineering and research & development. They are leveraging consulting firms to deliver the project or program-based requirements. Our research & development teams have been growing considerably within the product development, process engineering and commercialization segments. We are seeing newer organizations and industry power-houses shifting into more clean and sustainable foods and packaging.

Consumers have been long-hungry for healthy alternatives that taste good. Every meat company has considered a meatless division, and you see many of them now on the shelf. It’s nearly impossible to not see a new seltzer product launched into the market every month.

It’s great to see these companies adapting, but now it’s time to really get ahead of the curve as food and beverage trends are changing before our eyes. The next cycles are being created and developed in pilot plants as we speak. New processes, quality assurance, and packaging methods are changing for the long-term and will continue to evolve. We’ve been proud of the partnerships and pivot-points with our clients as we prepare for the disruptive storms of the future.

Contributed by Bryan Ray, Business Development Manager for EV Group