Trends And Innovation Transforming The Future Of Food & Beverage Industry

Born into a 3rd generation business family of industrial pioneers and realtors, Vijay grew up having a major passion for music and arts which led him to delve into music and technology full time. Hence, he pursued his bachelor's degree in Western Classical Music, followed by another degree in Audio Technology at Plymouth University in the UK. During his university days, he developed a penchant towards the food industry and decided to venture into the F&B industry.

His journey of entrepreneurship began at the age of 25 when he along with Visakh Viswambharan, Director - Cuppa and a serial entrepreneur acquired Cuppa from the Concorde group in late 2018.

Before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship he worked as Business Development Manager with Augusta Softech Private Limited.

The food and beverage sector has witnessed a considerable transformation in recent times and is expected to evolve even more. There are a lot of opportunities for F&B businesses in terms of growth, especially in a country like India where people are so passionately driven by food. Families from higher income groups explore dining out in new places and cuisines.

Changing consumer tastes has always been the driving force of the sector. In the last couple of years, the focus has heavily been on health and wellness, exotic flavours, and snacking in terms of customers' food preferences.

The sector in India is also beginning to see a higher impact of technology - be in terms of the number of delivery apps, or collation of big data that allows us to understand customer preferences.

Customer engagement on social media today is about creating conversations, and not merely about selling. Your brand identity is showcased strongly on these platforms and acts as a guide to associate with your brand values

Health Priorities
People are growing increasingly health-conscious. Fitness and wellness as a trend have also begun to influence food - be it at dine-in restaurants, delivery orders or takeaways.

In the last couple of years, we have witnessed how people moved away from sugar and sweet products. There is a higher demand for sugar-free shakes and pastries, from both adults and children.

We also notice a return to roots in terms of the food that we consume. While foods like quinoa and chia seeds were extremely popular a couple of years ago, today we notice that there is a demand for their Indian counterparts in dishes. Millets has become extremely popular, especially in South India and has to feature on the menu.

The historic epidemic of COVID-19 - the first one we've faced in the times of technology - will further drive people to carefully examine what they eat, where it comes from and its nutrition impact.

Food Tech
Food tech, a decade ago, was defined as companies who were into food R&D. However, today, it means companies like Swiggy, Zomato etc where food is made accessible through an app, at your convenience.

Most cafes and restaurants are also taking the help of technology to understand customer preferences, manage bookings, understand patterns and trends and supply chain management.

Technology has also spurred the growth of cloud kitchens across the country, developing an entirely new business model. This evolution shows the demand for food-on-the-go and helps the company focus more on the quality and experiment instead of an overall dining experience.

In fact, the `grab-and-go' model has also grown popular in the last year. Popularised by coffee cafes in Europe and the U.S., this trend is now entering the metro cities of India. We are used to kiosks that focus on food, but the `takeaway coffee and juice' model will gain more traction in 2020.

Social Connect & Brand Loyalty
Social media is a great opportunity to connect to the customer and is becoming more critical in engaging and retaining customer loyalty. For cafes and chains that are across multiple-cities, this also helps in ensuring uniformity of communications and continuity.

Customer engagement on social media today is about creating conversations, and not merely about selling. Your brand identity is showcased strongly on these platforms and acts as a guide to associate with your brand values.

Moment Marketing was huge in 2019, especially for the hospitality industry and showcased how the industry could adapt to new trends on-the-go.

The social trend today is about campaigns, customer engagement and recall instead of merely sharing photos of food.