2017 is a quarter complete, and national politics continues to dominate our news. Undoubtedly, you have scores of sources to keep you abreast of the developments in Washington, so I’ll spare you further commentary.

Instead, let’s look at how food and beverage industry trends are shaping the young year thus far.

An initial thought regarding food and beverage industry developments in 2017 concerns mergers and acquisitions. In late February Kraft Heinz Co. withdrew a $143 billion offer to acquire Unilever. If the deal had gone through, it would have marked perhaps the most important event to impact the food industry in 2017. According to Thomson Reuters data, the acquisition would have been the third-largest in history.

Consolidation is a food business trend that has gained momentum in the past decade. Efficiencies in innovation, production and distribution are the chief reasons for major industrial mergers, and more often that not, companies have achieved these goals. However, if one was to project the natural progression of merger trends, the end result might be a single giant company. That certainly doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of healthy competition.

A prediction: Mergers and acquisitions may be a growth strategy hampered by new market forces in another decade or two.

At any rate, let’s move to more specific industry trends.

Ingredient trends in plant-based foods, dairy-free ingredients, and meat alternatives continue to gain ground across categories. Convenience food featuring organic ingredients have also maintained a growth position on retail shelves. The International Food Information Council Foundation recently identified a few other broad trends set to impact the industry in the coming months.

Products That Focus On Weight Loss
The 2016 Food and Health Survey showed glimmers of hope in America’s “battle of the bulge.” There was a significant uptick over 2015 in the number of Americans trying to lose weight—57% vs. 52%—at the expense of the number of people trying merely to maintain their weight, which fell significantly to 23% in 2016 from 29% in 2015.

In addition, according to the survey, the number of overweight and obese Americans (as judged by BMI) fell to 60% in 2016 from 64% in 2015.

Learn From Industry Experts
This August!

Opening Keynote Address!
Health & Wellness Drives New Product Development,
Labeling Trends
Speaker: Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic Insights, Nielsen

Closing Keynote Address!
What’s Next in Beverages and Better-for-You Ingredients?
Speaker: Andy Dratt, Chief Commercial Officer, Imbibe

40+ Technical Sessions
This 13th annual event is laser focused on providing food & beverage formulators with practical, non-commercial, “how-to” solutions to specific formulation and application challenges to better understand the functionality of a wide range of ingredients.

6 Application Labs
The Application Labs feature the use of product samples to more effectively demonstrate an ingredient’s functionality or its use in a finished consumer product or model system.

7 Hours of Networking and Exhibits
You will have plenty of time to network face-to-face with industry peers and ingredient experts. Continue conversations that began in the classroom during breakfast, breaks, lunch and Expo Happy Hour. Solve your formulation challenges.

Super Early Bird Rate Extended – Register Today and Save!
Visit www.rdseminarchicago.com.