As consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers get ready to transition into the 2016 calendar year, Chicago-based Mintel released its “2016 Food & Drink Trends” report. The 12 trends cover a range of topics including eCommerce and natural formulations.

“These trends explore how consumers’ evolving priorities, opportunities from advancements in functional formulation and the almost inescapable reach of technology will affect food and drink in the coming year. Consumers are not the only influencers, as shifting economics, natural phenomena and social media are shaping what, how, where and with whom consumers are choosing to eat and drink,” said Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, in a statement. “The trends will play out differently across the world based upon a variety of factors, including cultural norms, regional availability and societal needs. In some cases, established trends from one area are migrating to new regions, while a few emerging trends have the potential to disrupt the worldwide landscape.”

Among the trends identified was Alternatives Everywhere. “Veggie burgers and non-dairy milks have escaped the realm of substitutes primarily for people with dietary concerns and followers of vegetarian diets,” Zegler said. “Instead, the growing ranks of novel protein sources and potential replacements appeal to the everyday consumer, foreshadowing a profoundly changed marketplace in which what was formerly ‘alternative’ could take over the mainstream.”

Zegler also identified Artificial: Public Enemy No. 1 as a trend. “Consumer demands for natural and ‘less processed’ food and drink are forcing companies to remove artificial ingredients,” she said. “Products that have yet to do so will face scrutiny — or worse — from consumers who are looking for natural formulations with recognizable ingredients.”

The report also covers retail, purchase trends for food and drink with e-Revolution: From Carts to Clicks. “Online shopping, apps and delivery services are transforming consumers’ access to deals, niche offerings and even full meals,” Zegler stated. “While the Internet has not yet vastly changed the landscape of grocery shopping, innovations encourage consumers to think outside traditional physical retailers.”

In line with digital trends, Good Enough to Tweet highlights the role social media is playing for food and drink manufacturers. “The rise of food-centric media has sparked new interest in cooking, not only for the sake of nourishment, but for the purposes of sharing one’s creations via social media,” Zegler said. “This finds people taking divergent paths: some hope to become well-rounded enough to compete on popular television programs, while others privately cultivate specialties ranging from cupcakes to curries. Either way, people are cooking to share with friends and social media followers.”

Additional topic points in the report are Eco is the New Reality, From the Inside-Out, For Every Body, Based on a True Story, Diet by DNA, Table for One, Fat Sheds Stigma and Eat with Your Eyes.