top 10 food trends for 2019

by: PLAY

The PLAY team LOVE all things FMCG and are dedicated to keeping your fingers on the pulse of Australian consumers, so we’ve put together 10 of the top food trends to get you ready for 2019! (If you want to look at our list from last year, click HERE.)

This list has been curated from the predictions of sources like Mintel, US-based retail giant Whole Foods Market, as well as our team of FMCG research buffs and their first-hand experience with Australian consumers. 

We’ll be delving into some of these trends in more depth during 2019, featuring areas such as personalised health and nutrition, ethnic shoppers, sustainability, gut health, and much more.


1. Hemp and CBD infused foods.

Hemp has started appearing in many forms, such as seeds, protein powder and snack bars, praised for its “superfood” status with an impressive amino acid profile, lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, amongst other benefits.

As hemp becomes more widely legalised and accepted around the world, consumers will be demanding more of these products. Currently, Australia prohibits the use of CBD (a cannabis plant derived ingredient that has been linked to a range of health benefits) which is a big part of the exploding global nutraceutical market. However, if this changes, it could be a huge opportunity for Australian brands. 


"What we sell in the US is hemp derived CBD supplements, which can be sold over the counter, it's sold in health food stores, it's completely safe for many people to consume."

(Paul Benhaim, Hemp Foods Australia)

food trend 2019 hemp and CBD


2. Fat, the new hero.

Fat is back! Diets full of anti-inflammatory “healthy fats”, heralded as being able to help people lose weight and boost mental function, are officially on trend.

This, tied with the free-from, gluten-free and even grain-free movement, means that carbs are down - and fats are up!

Product innovation is happening everywhere as consumers opt for keto snack bars, MCT oil in coffee and “fat bombs” to complement their trendy high fat/low carb keto, paleo, grain-free or “pegan” (paleo and vegan) diets.


food trend 2019 fat

3. Eco packaging and conscious companies.

The eco and ethical movement is gaining more momentum every day. Consumers are putting their money where their mouth is and businesses are starting to follow suit with more commitment.

Food manufacturers like Chobani are opting to support developing countries and underprivileged communities, amongst other people-related causes which are now under the spotlight. 


“Unilever brand Knorr is testing a new video ad format that allows viewers to choose a charity to benefit from the revenue it derives if they view an ad for at least 15 seconds… if someone watches until the end, they can choose to donate (free of charge).”

- (The Drum).

In Sydney, many cafés don’t even give you a straw anymore unless you purchase a metal or bamboo one. Into 2019, the “farm to fork” or “seed to shelf” movement and the rise of blockchain technology will also have more impact on the development of transparent, sustainable production processes.

consumers are making more eco-friendly choices

4. Personalised nutrition.

Personalised nutrition is becoming deeply embedded into our everyday routines due to increasing consumer interest in health, wellness and clean living, as well as technological developments.

From genetic testing through to Alexa-style devices and tracker apps, consumers are taking their health into their own hands and optimising their lives through customised diets.

Large FMCGs are getting involved already with Nestle launching the Nestle Wellness Ambassador platform in Japan earlier this year – a platform that provides customers with personalised nutritional advice based on their dietary habits, DNA, and blood test results.

personalised nutrition is becoming more popular

5. I "sea" more food.

Marine food and sea greens are about to have a bit of a moment. Consumers are hearing all about the benefits of anti-inflammatory omega-3 and specialists are spreading the message about the health benefits of sea-based superfoods like algae and kelp.

We can expect to see much more innovative snacks than simply salted seaweed in 2019, as well as products like “tuna” made from algae and vegan omega-3 oil capsules tapping into the ongoing meat-free trend.

seafood is the new superfood

6. International influence.

As consumers get more experimental with food and bring international flavours from their travels back into their kitchens, we’re starting to see tropical flavours from the pacific rim (Asia, Oceania and the western coasts of North and South America) coming to the fore. 

Vegans have been using jackfruit as a “pulled pork” alternative for a while now and we’ve already seen dragon fruit smoothie bowls on the menus of health cafés, but 2019 will take this trend a step further by incorporating more monk fruit, guava, passion fruit, shrimp products, cuttlefish, Filipino pork sausage and umami flavours.


"Australia has always been ahead of the curve with having strong international influence in its food culture, one of the great advantages of immigration! There is a particularly strong influence from Asia in restaurant culture and we are seeing this trend on the supermarket shelves with more unusual types of food and ingredients available, both in the ambient aisles and the fresh section."

- (Becky Mead, COO at PLAY).

food trend 2019 international foods

7. Probiotic innovation.

Yes, we’ve heard it before – “it’s all about the gut!” but this trend is becoming increasingly pervasive in 2019. We’ll see more shelf-stable probiotics integrated into foods like soups, snack bars and cereals like FMCG giant Kellogg’s producing probiotic cereal – all bringing gut health into the mainstream.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post on "wellcare" innovation, probiotics have also moved into cleaning products, as well as essential oils and beauty products – they're everywhere and they're not going away anytime soon!

superfood snacks are popular with consumers

8. Not getting frozen out.

We’re seeing the industry and our clients giving frozen treats a healthy, plant-based face-lift with ingredients like avocado, hummus, tahini, coconut water and even probiotics (those things are everywhere!).

Proud and Punch was a topic of conversation in our recent white paper on all things natural due to the business' on-trend approach to frozen treats: 100 percent Australian fruit and vegetables, no added sugar and seemingly the equivalent of a detox juice!


"Australians are looking to satisfy their sweet tooth on those hot summers day without having to deal with the guilt-factor of eating traditional ice cream. This is particularly true as people's dietary preferences change alongside the growth of dairy-free, vegan and low sugar trends."

- (Chris Thomas, founder of PLAY).

food trend 2019 frozen treats

9. Healthy ageing.

The term “anti-ageing” is becoming taboo as people across the globe are living longer and taking a holistic approach to ensure they lead active, healthy lives. FMCGs need to follow the personal care and beauty industries by starting to use a more positive approach to communicating with ageing consumers. 


"So many companies focus heavily on Millennials, yet the ageing population is not only growing but increasingly affluent. The opportunity for nutrient dense, flavourful, suitably portioned health products for an ageing population is huge, and the marketing behind it can surely seize on a clear gap in communications!"

- (Andrew Turner, Associate Director at PLAY).

Functional food products with claims and benefits around building healthy bones or joints, boosting the immune system, high protein, anti-inflammatory properties and optimising brain health will do well with these consumers in 2019.


“At a time when record numbers of people are living to be 100 years old, food and drink companies are challenged to address the wide variety of health states of consumers aged 55 and older. The diversity of seniors’ needs can be addressed through food and drink for medical purposes as well as products designed for prevention, with formulations that are nutritious, flavourful, and easy to consume.”

- (Mintel).

food trend 2019 healthy ageing

10. Tech-food faux meats and crickets.

People going plant-based isn’t new news. However, we’ve now started seeing things like Minced (click HERE for our video consumer feedback on this vegan mince!) cropping up in the meat aisles of supermarkets and bleeding vegan burgers created in labs by tech-food businesses.

Faux meats and snacks are upping their flavour and texture game, as well as stepping away from junky products by taking a more innovative ingredient approach. This means plant-based eaters don’t feel they’re missing out and “flexitarians” can incorporate more plants into their diets.


“The issue with alternative meats at the moment is the battle between the head and the stomach: consumers know rationally why these new meats are better for the environment (and often for them!), but the culturally-created instinct revulsion of certain foods is extremely difficult to overcome.”

- (Katherine Savage, Research Director at PLAY).


2019 will bring more “fakon”, crickets (a more eco-friendly, ethical animal protein alternative) going into the mainstream and an onslaught of nut-based, dairy-free cheese products.

lab grown meat and healthy protein

Over to you.

Want to learn how to leverage these consumer trends in the future?

Drop us a line at or call us on (02) 8097 0200. We can't wait to hear from you! 

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about the author


A boutique insights agency who love to help you decipher complex customer behaviours. Big fans of snappy reports and hot chips. We call Sydney and Melbourne home but LOVE to travel (although lately, our most exciting trip has been from the study to the fridge).

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