Continuing from ‘Sweetshop of the Future’ Part I: Cupcake vending machines, black water, edible packaging, and disruptive chocolate, she said sugar free drinks will play a huge part in the future of beverages connected to water. We will see more frozen desserts around water and ice, shaved ice like the slush puppies of the 80s, hanging thirst globes, water with gold flecks in it, or infused with a flavour.
“There will also be products coming onto the market replacing traditional water brands, such as birch water, aloe, Icelandic glacial melt, black water infused with charcoal taking market share in that beverage space,” she said.
According to Gaye, consumers will be more aware of what is in the bottled water we buy off the supermarket shelves, and understand what is in the plastic.
She said a lot of manufacturers are thinking about edible membranes, creating entertainment around a water container such as a globe which you can smash and the liquid is inside, ice lollies, ways to make the colour and taste more interesting, for example Metromint, in the US, creates lemon, mint and chocolate mint flavors.
Vending machines are going to huge, said Gaye, they already are in Japan, but not so much in Europe.
“Time is becoming the commodity money can’t buy, consumers wants things right here, right now, at any time. They are much more demanding today than before,” she added.
A good example where vending machines have moved beyond the ‘sandwich and a bag of crisps’ is Paris's first 24-hour automated baguette dispenser, by Jean-Louis Hecht, FEBO hot snacks in The Netherlands, and Sprinkles CupCake ATM in LA.
Hecht has installed two machines, one next to his baker's shop in Paris's 19th arrondissement and a second in the north-eastern town of Hombourg-Haut, close to the German border, where he has another shop.
FEBO started as a bread and cake shop called Maison FEBO before being closed and turned into a kitchen before becoming a fast food automat. There are now over 60 shops in the Netherlands and more than 20 in Amsterdam which stand out on the street due to their red and yellow colours.
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is the brainchild of co-founders Candace and Charles Nelson when Candace was pregnant with their first child. She thought it was ridiculous that she owned cupcake bakeries and couldn’t get a freshly baked treat at an odd hour.
That craving inspired the company’s first cupcake ATM in Beverly Hills, California, in 2012. They are now installed in six cities across the country including Chicago, Atlanta, and New York.
“There are some great vending machine possibilities and some companies are putting them in bus stops and at train stations because they have got a captive audience waiting for something, ie milk vending machines. We will see a lot more in the future including those for more healthier, natural products, such as bananas, DIY popcorn, juice machines and high-end organic raw bakery,” added Gaye.
“There are lots of ways for brands to incorporate technology into their products to enhance their marketing, including QR codes , eye detection and face recognition to target the consumer of their choice.”
Gaye said health is a big trend in the F&B industry and far reaching. It is being piggy-backed by brands and consumers are taking responsibility for their health by being more self-aware and self-policing the foods they eat.
“In the future, we are going to start having devices which will know our DNA. We will be able to breathe into devices and they will tell us what food and nutrients we need - bespoke food for our own genetics,” she added.
“Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland have already developed DNA barcodes that will allow food to be tracked back to its origins after it's been processed.”
The barcodes are detected using a technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), where the short target DNA sequence is amplified, allowing the barcode to be detected at very low concentrations. To test if their method would work, they added the DNA barcodes to milk and reported that even after it had turned into cheese or yogurt, the labels could still be identified.
In terms of marketing, Gaye said products claiming to be ‘superfoods’ has been banned in the EU but consumers will still be drawn to the idea of anti-oxidants and we are starting to see a lot of black food coming to the fore which is associated with earthiness and natural such as black salt and seaweed. The idea initially became popular in Japan, and is now seeing interest in countries like France.
The idea of ‘making it from scratch’ or breakfast-on-the-go such as yoghurt sticks with granola, will see a rise in demand as meal times are shifting and the way in which people operate during the day is shifting.
“Breakfast is a big component of this and hasn’t been fully addressed yet in the snacking to go category,” said Gaye.
“We are moving away from the big bites, and super pack portion sizes and these are being reduced into something a lot smaller.”
She said other products that are seen to have USP health benefits for western markets include camel milk cappuccinos, insect bars like EXO which use cricket flour insect protein.
“The cross over with insects right now is good because manufacturers are using bugs to create different textures and flavours, for example, the Wahaca chain of Mexican street food restaurants serves bug burgers on its menu,” said Gaye.
She added a lot of manufacturers will start to promote healthy eating but some of it is marketing hype.
“Chocolate brands are starting to add things in, brands are pushing healthy additives, manufacturers are getting clever with the things they are adding to their labelling,” she said.
“The big thing is getting a consumer to believe you and to trust you and to promote sugar free products. We will start to see vegetable ice cream, in Japan, Häagen-Dazs has a murasaki imo sweet potato flavour. We are also starting to see garden pea ice cream on a stick, different tea flavors of ice cream. The vegetable is becoming king.
“There has also been a rise in interest in palmyra jaggery sugar which is high in vitamin B12, and low in the glycemic index.”
According to Gaye, concerns about the environment will lead to further taxation about what we put into landfill. Consumers will understand more about biodegradable packaging and we will be monitored for how much waste we are producing.
“Future products will be edible glassware, sugar that doesn’t melt when it’s got liquid in it, edible coffee cups and spoons, packaging that breaks down. One example is the Edible finger biscuit by Paolo Ulian, which can be dipped into chocolate or peanut butter and WikiCells, which encloses food and drinks in a membrane similar to the natural skin of a grape or apple,” she said.
“Bubbies homemade ice cream and desserts combining creamy gourmet ice cream wrapped in a sweetened mocha rice confection for a ‘clean eat-on-the-go’ experience. We will see a ‘silence of packaging’, currently brands like innocent smoothies want to speak to consumers like a ‘funky’ person but where we are going is into a silent phase because people don’t believe all the hype on the packaging any more.
“It will be more a case of ‘not what you are trying to say’, but ‘what you are not saying’. Less is more. In time, there will be nothing at all on our packaging and if the consumer wants to find more information they can find it on the internet or scan a code which takes them to an information page.
“This idea will evolve from Generation Z (post-Millennials) known for their use of technology, otherwise known as digital natives.”