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The percentage that consumer discussions on social media regarding “personalization” in relation to F&B increased since the pandemic hit.

The dollar amount that the CBD-infused beverage market is predicted to reach by 2025.

2.8 billion

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COVID-19’s effect on consumer behavior

The Hartman Group’s “Functional Food & Beverage and Supplements” report finds that close to a third of consumers say they are consuming more supplements, functional foods or functional beverages. This can take the form of adopting entirely new solutions or rededicating oneself to regular use of familiar ones. These efforts to address mental and physical health reflect holistic notions of health and wellness, and consumer desire for empowerment and resilience.

The fielding of the study behind this report coincided with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As the year wore on, THG reports that it saw disruptive impacts on household routines from the resulting anxiety, along with stay-at-home orders and the pandemic’s role as a catalyst for engagement with health and wellness. Although, it is distinct from other health challenges consumers continually navigate.

What other ways has COVID-19 changed consumers’ daily routines? Among consumers aware of COVID-19, THG says they are doing more:

• Sleeping (39%)
• Exercising (37%)
• Meditating/praying (33%)
• Taking supplements (31%)
• Consuming functional foods/beverages (29%)
• Talking to healthcare professionals (20%)

The report also indicates that anticipated changes after the threat has passed include:

• Cooking at home more often (34%)
• Shopping online more (23%)
• Shopping less frequently (22%)
• Purchasing different brands than previously (10%)
• Consuming more functional foods (19%)
• Drinking more functional beverages (16%)
• Using more supplements (16%)

SOURCE: Signal Analytics, Food & Beverage Insights 2021

“In a highly competitive market where negative publicity shared on social media can irreparably damage a processor’s reputation, removing undesired material from pet food through optical sorting increases customer satisfaction, maintains brand loyalty and protects a processor’s brand.”
— Lars Povlsen, global sales manager, proteins, TOMRA Food

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Cultured meat startups on the rise

According to FutureBridge’s research, investments in cultured meat startups indicate investors are buying into their claims. Global cultured meat startups received more than $318.6 million in funding in 2020, a 266% increase over the previous year.

“We are now witnessing cultured meat products move from the lab to the factory,” says Sarah Browner, senior analyst at FutureBridge. “Many cultured meat companies believe they will have commercial products ready within the next few years. However, they caution that it is more important to get the release right than to do it quickly.”

San Francisco-based startup Memphis Meats led the 2020 funding haul. Backed by big conventional meat players Tyson and Cargill, the company raised a $161 million Series B round, bringing its total haul to $181.1 million.

Startup companies from the Netherlands also feature prominently in the list of most funded cultured meat startups in 2020. Mosa Meat, the Dutch startup founded by cultured meat pioneer Mark Post, received $75 million in a second funding round. The company, which made the world’s first cultivated beef burger, raised funds to upgrade to small-scale output in the first half of 2021. It is targeting a full industrial site as early as the end of 2022.

The research outlook projects accelerated developments in the cultured meat sector through the rest of 2021 and beyond. Reducing cost, increasing scale and achieving regulatory support will be the key challenges that companies will need to overcome in the coming years.