7 trends shaping food and beverage in 2023

7 trends shaping food and beverage in 2023

Editor’s note: This story is the first in a series on trends impacting the food and beverage industry in 2023.

As the calendar turns to 2023, food and beverage companies have a new focus on consumers.

The sector has always tried to give consumers what they want, but this year, new technologies and new ideas bring that consumer focus to light in new ways. As a tight economy and high rates of inflation continue to challenge the business, food and drink companies are eyeing new ways to capture those hard-won consumer dollars.

The movement toward more RTD cocktails will continue, with beverage manufacturers of all kinds exploring ready-made drinks to provide consumers with more convenient and tasty options. Precision fermentation technology is ramping up to offer large amounts animal-free ingredients with the taste and function of dairy, eggs, collagen and gelatin. Cultivated meat, which is grown from cells without any animal slaughter, is likely to debut on the U.S. market in some form this year.

Consumers who are interested in sustainability will find more carbon-neutral and upcycled products on the market. Pending new labeling regulations and commitments will provide consumers more transparency about the products they are purchasing — and will spur reformulation.

And artificial intelligence and machine learning will help companies develop and manufacture products in more cost-effective ways, helping them control prices for consumers.

Here’s a look at the trends experts and analysts say will shape the industry in 2023.


Coca-Cola, zero sugar, Brown Forman, Jack Daniels

Optional Caption

Courtesy of Coca-Cola


Alcohol makers get buzzed on RTD cocktails

As alcohol consumers look for more ready-to-drink cocktails, beverage makers are poised to flood the market with more of the trendy products in 2023.

In the coming months, Brown-Forman and Coca‑Cola will introduce a ready-to-drink cocktail combining Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand. Coca-Cola and Molson Coors also are gearing up for the debut of Topo Chico Spirited. 

Diageo is partnering with The Vita Coco Company on a line of premium canned cocktails crafted with Captain Morgan rum and Vita Coco coconut water expected out early this year. And Truly from Boston Beer, which launched in October, will aim to gain momentum in the new year. 

“I would not be surprised if RTD spirits were the largest single entity in beverage alcohol” a decade from now, said Nathan Greene, an analyst at Beverage Marketing Corporation. 

Greene said hard seltzer, which has seen its popularity wane after years of triple-digit growth, laid the groundwork for RTD spirits. Consumers started paying closer attention to the flavor inside the can and gravitating toward the drink’s refreshing profile. 

RTD cocktails can tap into the same attributes, but unlike hard seltzer, they have access to a wider variety of alcohol and the ability to combine with other beverages (such as soda, juice or coconut water.) With consumers eager for choice and variety, the belief is that a deeper portfolio of options could increase the longevity of the category.

Ready-to-drink cocktails — led by High Noon, which is made by winemaker E. & J. Gallo — were the fastest-growing spirits category in both revenue and volume in 2021, according to the most report issued by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). 

Supplier revenue for these cocktails and spirits rose 42.3% to $1.6 billion during the period. Growth was forecast to continue into 2022, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation.

One roadblock that could potentially tamp down growth in RTD cocktails is widely varying state regulations. RTD cocktails are typically subjected to higher tax rates – giving a slight price advantage to beer – and some states don’t allow retailers to sell beer, wine and spirits together. If states, eager for additional sources of revenue, remove or ease these hurdles, it could build further momentum for the RTD cocktail category. 

“If the regulatory environment continues to open more and more, it’s going to take, particularly from beer, especially if it’s close in terms of economics and/or retail channel access over time,” Greene said.

Three scientists in a laboratory look at a pale yellow substance in a large beaker.

Remilk scientists work on dairy proteins made through precision fermentation.

Courtesy of Remilk


Precision fermentation breaks out

A few years ago, the idea of using fermentation to recreate proteins that are found in animal-derived food or difficult to find in nature sounded like a futuristic science project.

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