Oceans of Possibilities: Looking to the Sea for Food Trends. The #8 Top 10 Trend 2024

Explore Trend #8 in Innova’s Top Ten Trends of 2024, Oceans of Possibilities

April 15, 2024 –  The #8 Top 10 Trend 2024 from Innova Market Insights is Oceans of Possibility. This trend captures how food and beverage companies are farming the ocean for opportunities. These companies are using oceans and seas as the farms of the future for inspiration in food and beverage ingredients. The waters are also a source of new, innovative ingredients that are good for the environment and sustainability.

Opportunities From the Seas

Marine ingredients from the oceans and seas offer three types of opportunities in new food, beverage, and supplement products. The first is health, due to marine ingredients being highly nutritious. Examples of nutritious marine ingredients are: forms of collagen protein used in food and beverage fortification and in supplements, omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae, and vitamins and minerals extracted from various forms of marine life. The second opportunity is regarding sustainability. Marine ingredients are highly sustainable. They are a renewable plant source that is also carbon-friendly by helping to capture carbon from the atmosphere. Third, marine ingredients offer natural functionality based on their inherent components. Spirulina provides a natural blue color, and agar is a plant-based alternative to animal-based gelatin.

Consumer Trends Show Interest in Marine Ingredients 

When conducting consumer research, Innova asked consumers which marine ingredients they were most interested in. Consumers named fish oil, marine collagen, and seaweed as their top choices. They also are interested in algae, kelp, and spirulina. However, they may or may not be willing to pay more for these ingredients, depending on the specific ingredient. They were also asked about the most important aspects of healthy foods and beverages. Consumers named naturalness, nutritional value, and balanced nutrition as top features. These aspects are offered by marine ingredients from the ocean and seas.

Oceans of Possibilities

Seaweed and Spirulina Are Well-Established in Foods and Beverages 

Looking at foods and beverages for top marine ingredients, seaweed and spirulina are used in many different products and are well established. One form of seaweed, microalgae, is the fastest growing specific marine ingredient and is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as vegan salmon spread, baby food, and plant-based fish sticks. Red algae is also growing from a small base. Spirulina is an important source of vitamins and minerals, especially in functional beverages such as waters, shots, and drinks for gut health, and provides a distinctive blue color.

Marine Ingredients in Supplements 

Top marine ingredients in supplements differ somewhat from marine ingredients in foods and beverages. Spirulina and chlorella are the most widely used marine ingredients in supplements. The marine ingredients bladderwrack is growing fast in supplements for fat burning, and the microalgae schizochytrium is also growing. Marine collagen is additionally an important ingredient in the fast-growing skin supplements category.

Consumers Take Action for the Environment 

Consumer trends research shows that consumers globally are concerned about the environment. Around 1 in 5 consumers say that they have taken action to choose products that are more sustainably grown and produced. Consumer trends also show that they tend to choose foods with a lower environmental impact, and would like companies to protect nature and reduce their carbon footprint.

Consumers show interest in marine ingredients that are carbon positive. However, the level of interest varies by region. The highest levels of interest in carbon-positive marine ingredients are in Latin America and Asia.

Seafood Companies Show Ocean Stewardship 

Oceans of Possibilities

Seafood companies are actively responding to global concerns about the environment through ocean stewardship. They can be seen communicating regarding how they are caring for oceans today and protecting oceans for the future. They are also donating a portion of their profits from product sales to environmental non-profit organizations that work to protect the ocean.

Fish and Seafood Substitutes Use Marine Ingredients 

Many opportunities exist to use marine ingredients in the trendy subcategory of fish and seafood substitutes. Launches of fish substitutes and seafood substitutes show a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35% between 2019 and 2023. The food and beverage industry is shifting its practices by utilizing a wider variety of plant-based food resources from the ocean, beyond its fish and seafood.

Consumers and Industry Are Interested in Plant-based Seafood 

Consumer trends research shows that 1 in 3 consumers globally are extremely or very willing to try plant-based seafood. Over one-third of consumers already eat plant-based seafood for health reasons. Consumers look for protein, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, namely, omega-3 fatty acids, from plant-based seafood.

Food and beverages companies are using marine ingredients in plant-based product launches. Some use plant-based marine protein as the main protein source. Others combine plant-based protein with other plant-based proteins such as pea and soy. They also use plant-based marine ingredients for nutrients and flavorings.

Seaweed Snacks Are Popular 

Food and beverage company innovators are using marine ingredients in snacks, and seaweed is the most widely utilized. Global launches of seaweed snacks rose in 2023 after a slight downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic years. Seaweed snacks are widely available in Asia, which represented a solid majority of launch activity in 2023. Faster growth in launches of seaweed snacks can be seen in North America and West Europe.

The fastest growing claims in seaweed snacks are vegan, plant-based, high source of protein, high source of fiber, and natural. Flavor is most important in Asia while protein and fiber claims are more important in the less mature West Europe market.

What’s Next – Overlap with Other Innova Top 10 Trends 

The #8 Innova Top 10 Trend, Oceans of Possibilities, overlaps with other Top 10 Trends. Marine ingredients support health, functionality, sustainability, and plant-based product development, including ingredients for 3D printing of seafood.

What’s Next – Marine Ingredients for Flavor 

Marine ingredients, including sea vegetables, offer opportunities for enhancing flavor. Food and beverage companies are interested in adding umami flavor profiles to their new product launches. Miso and mushrooms are well-established, but marine ingredients provide a natural, plant-based alternative.


This article is based on our report, “Top 10 Trends 2024: Trend #9 – H2O – Quenching the Future – Global.”
If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo. You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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