Consumers expect brands to be transparent about production processes and supply chains, according to Mintel.

Coming close to the end of the year, forecasters take out their crystal balls to weigh in on foods likely to be trending in the new year. Chief among those trends is the desire for greater transparency in food products, a long-term consumer demand that affects packaging for a host of baked foods and snack products.

Shoppers will continue to seek clear information about their foods, noted several trend-watchers in their forward-looking reports. Relying on insight from its global buyers and experts, Whole Foods recently released its take on upcoming food trends and predicts that consumers will seek more information about the foods they buy and that manufacturers will label their products accordingly. 

Calling the trend “Transparency 2.0,” Whole Foods said this next phase of transparency involves consumers learning the real story behind their food and how it got to the store.

“GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal welfare standards,” the report stated.

That move toward visible transparency is affirmed by Mintel’s report on key food and drink trends for 2018, which was released in late October.

“Companies are expected to be fully transparent about their ingredients, production processes and supply chains,” Mintel’s researchers said. The move toward transparency and packaging that meets consumer demand is based on distrust from consumers concerned about food recalls and scandals, as well as the growth of natural and organic product launches. 

In addition to specific product details, Mintel’s experts stated that the next wave of clean label “will challenge manufacturers and retailers to democratize transparency and traceability so that products are accessible to all consumers regardless of household income.”

Other recently released food industry predictions might make bakery and snack producers take heed. For example, the annual Waitrose Food & Drink Trend Report, based on extensive consumer polling and focus groups, projected that consumers are adding a fourth meal into their daily routine, usually a robust snack. Waitrose also points to the changes in grocery stores, as they become more “experiential settings” for shoppers, which may impact the increase in grab-and-go packages and interactive packages.