Health, sustainability and unique multi-sensory product experiences: these are the trends for the food and beverage industry in 2020

Today’s consumers are used to on-demand services in their daily lives more than ever before. They work globally, can be contacted around the clock and have less and less time for healthy food, while expecting food and beverages to fit in with this non-stop lifestyle. Products need to be consumable at any time, taste good, provide added value for both body and soul, offer something special and stand out from the mainstream. Consumers also demand that raw materials are grown sustainably, processing and product packaging are conducted sustainably, and social standards are adhered to. Which trends can be expected for 2020 in light of this development, and how can manufacturers successfully comply with these complex market requirements?

Plant-based nutrition is attractive for consumers
Plant-based nutrition provides a balance between the intake of nutrients and calories, while simultaneously having a significantly more positive impact on the planet than animal-based foods. Global meat production will increase by around 240 million tonnes by the year 2050, with global milk production growing by around 463 million tonnes in the same period.1 Today, around 80 percent of agricultural land is used for livestock farming, with a further 13 billion hectares of forest being cleared each year to gain further land.2

Livestock farming is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire mobility sector. It also accounts for around 37 percent of all methane gas emissions caused by humans, and thus has 23 times the impact on climate change than CO2 emissions.3

72 percent of consumers worldwide identify with the term “plant-based”, while around 29 percent are actively attempting to increase their consumption of plant-based proteins.4 Current consumer behaviour not only concerns non-dairy products, but is spread across all food categories and impacts further market segments, such as baked goods and chocolate confectionery. Manufacturers are often required to comprehensively reposition their product range in order to actively meet this development head on in their competitive environment.

Excellent nutritional profile with plant-based nutrition
Over the past few years, it has been observed that ever more people are choosing to purchase plant-based products and checking whether products contain artificial additives or animal-based ingredients before buying. Recently, however, consumers have expanded their focus from solely plant-based foods to healthy plant-based foods that provide minerals, proteins and vitamins.

As a global producer, marketer and provider of technology-driven natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry, Döhler combines the latest findings from nutritional science with market and consumer demands in order to optimise the nutritional profile of both food and beverages accordingly. The focus is on healthy added value created through the combination of natural, plant-based and sustainable nutrition.

Döhler offers numerous natural, plant-based products to create diverse, high-quality product ideas and concepts, such as muffins, chocolate or panna cotta based on coconut milk. This enables diverse and delicious alternatives to be produced based on oats, coconut, almonds or rice, all of which provide an excellent nutritional profile at the same time. Döhler uses various plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and chickpeas to ensure that these products are also an optimum source of protein. In combination with natural flavours, they ensure that the end product has both healthy added value and an excellent taste.

Multi-Sensory Experiences® for pure indulgence – also as a non-alcoholic option
In the fast-paced world of today, consumers are looking for the unexpected in their food, and an experience which stands out from the day-to-day. Alongside taste, consumers pay attention to the colour, texture and smell of their foods, are sensitised to Multi-Sensory Experiences® and want to be surprised and impressed by food and beverages. These products should also be healthy and delicious, while supporting the consumer’s sustainable lifestyle.

The energy drink market in particular enables Multi-Sensory Experiences® to be combined with the best possible functional added value, as popular flavours can be refined with unexpected designs and flavours. Combinations of cool and sour, hot and bitter with creamy-sweet, visual effects and intensive new fruit flavours appeal to the trend-conscious millennials and generation Z target groups in particular. Döhler provides a comprehensive range for energy drinks that provide exciting and authentic moments of indulgence, while simultaneously ensuring good taste, Multi-Sensory Experiences® and functional benefits.

Given the growing consumer focus on healthier nutrition, non-alcoholic beverages are also in greater demand – for example wine, beer, cider, cocktails and long drinks. The beverages aim to impress consumers with their authentic, ‘adult’ sensory taste profile and to be comparable to alcoholic beverages. With its comprehensive range of non-alcoholic fermented ingredients and natural extracts, Döhler also offers diverse solutions for the production of innovative and surprising product concepts in myriad different flavours, such as citrus fruits, garden fruits, red fruits, oakwood and juniper.

Consumers are open to trying new things and wish to experience combinations which do not appear to go well together at first glance, before being surprised and impressed by the taste and texture.  Combinations that blur the boundaries between supposedly separate indulgence categories are especially good at generating interest and attention, for example croissants with a cheese filling, or energy drinks with tea. Döhler therefore provides its customers with numerous options to meet the ever more complex demands of consumers and impress them with innovative product ideas.

Clean label and healthy ingredients for even more naturalness
Consumers are looking to independently support their health in a positive manner through their nutrition. Clean labelling is therefore becoming increasingly important for manufacturers aiming to gain the trust of the consumers and create transparency. These products have a very reduced list of ingredients, which are processed as little as possible, while the natural origin of the products is clearly evident. Consumers are therefore able to make independent decisions on products, ingredients and origins.

To meet consumer demands for transparency, Germany has introduced the Nutri-Score – a voluntary assessment system for food and beverages, which has already been established in countries like France, Belgium and Spain. Döhler is working closely with its customers here and supports them in the development and reformulation of recipes to achieve an improved Nutri-Score value.

Infusions based on a few simple ingredients are important here, as they not only impress through their full taste and low processing, but can also be positioned as clean label products. Fruit Infused Water and Fruit Infused Tea Drinks represent the next generation of natural refreshment and an ideal concept for a healthy lifestyle. The especially fruity beverages are low-calorie and have an authentic taste created using real fruits and no added flavours.

Döhler also provides impressive natural ingredients for smoothies, helping its customers to implement innovative product ideas and use clean label positioning for these drinks. When it comes to selecting the ingredients for the beverages, there are no limits to the diversity of colours or flavours. As a result, green fruit and vegetable smoothies are just as viable as berry mixes, passion fruit or colourful drinks made from “superfruits”. It is also possible to refine the drinks with fibre or vitamins, thereby ensuring they meet the consumer demand for healthy added value. Döhler works with its customers to develop unique recipes that precisely meet consumers’ tastes, and offers a comprehensive portfolio of natural ingredients to help ideas become reality. For snack drinks and smoothies, Döhler only uses NFC juices whose fruit and vegetable raw materials are pasteurised gently and processed as soon as they are pressed in the region of origin.

Functional added value with natural powders
The new “Full Spectrum Powders” from Döhler enrich smoothies in a completely natural way. Created using numerous botanical raw materials, such as leaves, blossoms or roots, the powders contain the full range of naturally occurring substances in the raw material, such as minerals, secondary plant materials and vitamins – in their natural amounts and ratios.

Particularly gentle processing results in the creation of near-natural powders with minimal processing and no carrier materials. The claim of the powders is simple and easily understood by consumers, meets the growing demand for clean label products and sustainable production, and will therefore be an important part of corporate cultures in the future.

Ensuring greater solubility compared to traditional Full Spectrum Powders, the Optifine quality of Döhler powders helps them stand out from the crowd. This property enables the powders to be used in applications beyond food and beverage supplements, including highly viscous products such as smoothies, milk drinks and yoghurt drinks.

Sustainability: from cultivation, to processing, to completion
Experts believe that, by 2025, corporate responsibility will be the yardstick by which the success of a company is measured. This is mirrored in consumer behaviour, as consumers are increasingly deciding whether or not to purchase a product based on ethical, environmental and health criteria.

At the same time, society as a whole is moving towards greater sustainability in day-to-day life. The concept of sustainability covers the entire life cycle of a product, from procurement of raw materials, to packaging designs and materials, up to disposal or reuse. Younger consumers in particular state that they eat healthy snacks several times a day, all while taking care to ensure that the food is packaged in a sustainable manner. Many producers are breaking new ground to ensure they meet the demands of this sustainability concept, with supermarkets now offering many plant-based products in biodegradable packaging. At the same time, consumers want their products to have diverse properties, such as natural taste, healthy functionality and a pleasant texture.

In order to meet all these demands, Döhler provides a pioneering portfolio of sustainably produced raw materials, certified by Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, among others, as well as being SAI/FSA certified. The company works closely with local farmers when procuring its raw materials, and develops concepts to ensure that these products can be cultivated sustainably and under fair conditions. For Döhler, sustainability does not stop at the sustainable procurement of raw materials, but means ensuring fair conditions for the workers when creating the raw materials and products, working on concepts for better processing methods for the raw materials (e.g. lower water consumption), and keeping the impact on the planet as low as possible.

With its comprehensive portfolio of natural ingredients and product solutions, Döhler is supporting a sustainable future. In line with the company slogan “We bring ideas to life.”, and as a provider of complete ingredient systems and integrated solutions, Döhler therefore develops innovative and sustainable concepts with its customers – from the idea, to implementation, to the supermarket shelf.



Gerber, P.J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A. & Tempio, G. (2013): Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. Available online at: [8 November 2019]

2 ibid.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2019): Animal production. FAO's role in animal production. Available online at: [8 November 2019]


Global Data Consumer Survey Q3 2019 | Global (2019): Published online in the Global Data database. Available at: [20 September 2019]




Döhler Trend article 2020

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