There's no denying that the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted food and beverage new product development. One year ago, China's manufacturing shut-downs reduced global ingredient supply and raised costs. Subsequent U.S. stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions have devastated restaurants and hampered daily R&D work. And although robust grocery sales benefit CPG companies and retailers, an overwhelming focus on supply chain (keeping store shelves stocked) has meant less of an appetite for new product development.
Even so, it's clear that consumers still have appetites for comforting, flavorful foods, better-for-you functional beverages, convenient at-home meal solutions, and more. Prepared Foods finds many examples of innovation—category by category—in the grocery bag. Read on for an in-depth look at new tastes, flavors, products and packaging.