CHICAGO — The market researcher Circana is forecasting that after three years of food and beverage volume sales declines, the market will see modest growth in 2024. Specific categories expected to benefit the most include beverages and the deli.

A factor likely driving beverage growth will be an increase in health-conscious consumers seeking more protein and energy options in their diet. Another factor that may drive beverage sales is it has had more innovation than other departments, which has delivered excitement and encouraged category exploration, according to Circana.

Earlier this year, Circana published its annual New Product Pacesetters that showed beverages are at the forefront of product innovation. The annual review found energy drinks, sports beverages and hard seltzers accounted for many of the year’s most successful product launches, occupying six of the report’s top 10 rankings and generating nearly $700 million in sales.

In the deli, convenient grab-and-go options will drive sales as consumers prioritize meal options. Circana also sees the trend rippling throughout the perimeter of grocery stores and may force other departments to emphasize convenient options.

“Amid shifting consumer preferences and evolving market dynamics, our food and beverage outlook not only highlights key growth opportunities for 2024 but reveals a cautiously optimistic outlook as we emerge from a myriad of challenges that the industry has faced over the past several years,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader of Circana. “With continued innovation and adaptability, retailers and manufacturers will be poised to position themselves for success in the coming year and beyond.”