Author Archives: Ewa Semenowicz

  1. 5 Food & Drink Trends to Watch in 2017

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    A sneak peek of what’s about to blow up on the food & drink scene.

    Has food & drink ever been bigger, better, cooler, more artisanal, more crafted, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, full of ancient grains – well you get the point – than now?

    Driven by the ever-so-easily-bored millennials, food & drink trends are more sophisticated than ever and it’s an exciting time to be a branding agency specialising in this sector.

    Keeping our eyes peeled for the next ancient grain, here are our predictions for 2017.

    food and drink trends 2017

    In 2016 1 in 6 Brits set out on the challenge of Dry January, and 2017 was predicted to attract even more brave souls swearing off alcohol for a month.

    The general ‘sobriety’ trend is growing with the arrival of  ‘virgin’ bars, sober pre-work raves, mindful clubbing & juice bar crawls, heavily attended by millennials in search of more meaningful interactions.

    The oh-so-millennial search for authenticity means that swapping a pint for a luminously coloured soda isn’t going to cut it. Think sexy, adult, alcohol-free drinks like Seedlip Spice 94 inspired by the botanical notes of gin, or German craft soda Wostok featuring flavours such as tarragon and ginger or pine needle.


    Food and drink trends 2017

    Gut health has been identified as a major factor influencing our overall wellbeing and so foods promoting this  have been gaining mainstream interest.

    Naturally probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or lacto-fermented gherkins are coming out of foodie exile, whilst anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric or bone broth are predicted to continue to grow in popularity.

    So expect to see the gut health claim being used more often, and if wheat & refined sugars didn’t have a bad enough rep already, their negative link to gut health will play an important role in how we market food in 2017.


    Food and drink trends 2017

    The Water plus trend isn’t new of course, with coconut and birch water now almost mainstream, but 2017 will bring us new additions such as omega 3 water, watermelon water (there must be something in it if Beyonce is investing, right?) or smoked water. The last one is likely to remain a niche ingredient mainly used for creating quirky cocktails, as it blends well with oaky notes of whiskey and makes a perfect addition to classic Bloody Marry.

    As we pay more attention to the sometimes suspect health claims of the food & drink we consume, the Water + category will grow to accommodate the latest in proven wellness benefits, with drinks such as water kefir and kombucha gaining in popularity.


    Food and drink trends 2017

    Plant-based diets have been getting an insane amount of attention and have well and truly settled into the mainstream.  Recently, Sainsubury announced its plans to rearrange its aisles to encourage shoppers to eat less meat.

    Riding the wave of popularity the new veggie diet is all about plant based versions of comfort food. Think vegan butchers, tofu steaks and all things rich, indulgent & unapologetic. For example, Sgaia’s meat range (vegan meat made out of wheat and soy protein with a blend of herbs and spices) which celebrates culinary traditions with modern alternatives to traditional meat products such as pastrami and späck. This trend is all about celebrating plant food and moving away from ‘fake’ sausages with a long list of unpronounceable ingredients towards proud vegan food made out of real ingredients.

    The growing veggie trend also means a shift in food claims, which will be more focused around common anxieties associated with not eating meat and diary. And so we’ll be turning to ‘new’ sources of calcium such as teff or amaranth or protein rich plant products like hemp seeds.


    Food and drink trends 2017

    The clean living trend saw a whopping surge in healthy snacks – mainly recipe and shape variations of dried fruit and nut bars and a load of coconut, dates & cashews.

    But I think 2017 will see a rise of snacking counter culture; savoury, protein rich, not necessarily veggie, but still healthy. Like paleo-inspired Fori meat bars, made with grass-fed, free-range British meat and a mix of herbs & spices.

    But with sustainability considerations playing an increasing role, alternative sources of protein will be gaining popularity. Whilst insect snack pots might remain a niche product (let’s face it, probably for decades), cricket-flour protein bars are likely to gain acceptance more easily.

    As well as the trends mentioned above (or maybe as part of them), 2017 will see a surge in treating food and drink as extension of our personalities. Just as we have always expressed our identity through clothes we wear and possessions we own, food becomes another important platform of self-expression. It’s an opportunity for consumers and companies to communicate powerful messages about their values, social status or creativity. Both from a sociological and branding point of view, it is a fascinating phenomenon and one which deserves a separate blog post…(watch this space).



  2. What Beyoncé and Steve Jobs can teach food & drink Start-ups

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    Dave and I recently visited the ‘Food Matters’ show in London. It was a great event with tons of really innovative brands in the health-conscious food & drink market. We drank, we ate and talked to many passionate people.

    As we walked through the stands sipping on 5 different types of coconut water, the first question we were asked whenever we ‘revealed’ that we were in fact branding & packaging designers was: “OK, so what would you do differently about our pack?”

    As the day went by we noticed some patterns amongst the numerous exciting start-ups at the show. Most of the time they were not short of great product and marketing ideas, but some of their branding could use some polishing. So here they are, our 4 top branding tips for food & drink startups:

    1. Story is key. Food & drink markets are extremely competitive; whatever you are doing, the chances are that someone else is already doing it or about to do the same. This is why your story is key. In a world where you could drink a different brand of birch water every week of the year, it is ultimately the brand story & personality that will win people over. But having a story is only a small part of the success: You still have to make sure that your branding and packaging tells that story.

    2. This brings me to our next tip: Make sure your message is clear. We’ve seen a few products with beautifully designed packaging, but which told us absolutely nothing about what we were about to eat or drink. And I’m not talking about that exciting feeling of intrigue but just plain confusion. That is not to say that you have to spell out every bit of information on the front of the pack but rather consider what the product and main benefit is.

    3. Package your idea properly: If your idea is good you shouldn’t need to use gimmicks and complicated print techniques to bring it across. However, there are very few things as disappointing as a great idea with execution that sucks – especially when it comes to food & drink packaging where there is nowhere to hide. A cheap label, unpolished visuals or font that just doesn’t work can put your whole idea at risk of being dismissed as cheap or untrustworthy. Consider what everything – pack format, name, logo, typography, colours, print quality – communicates about your brand.

    4. Follow through with your idea: At Food Matters we saw many brands with some great design elements that simply did not follow through across their marketing media. Consistency is such an important part of creating a recognizable, ownable brand. Why do you think Steve Jobs always wore black turtlenecks and those horrendous New Balance 407’s? The lack of consistency is often a challenge when it comes to start-ups, as you are still in the process of figuring out who you are. Even Beyoncé had a few hiccups (yes, that satin & fur combo really happened) on the road to becoming Beyoncé. There are many people capable of coming up with a good idea; a cool logo, catchy slogan or brand icon but it’s about developing that idea and applying it consistently throughout your communication that will set you apart.

    Beyonce branding tips for start-ups