Top Food Trends in Europe

Explore how the top ten trends of 2024 are developing within the European market

June 27, 2024 – Innova’s top trends of 2024 highlight the most influential and notable developments within the food and beverage industry. Here, we analyzed consumer preferences and market trends across Europe, uncovering which of the top ten trends are most noticeable within the European market. Five of the ten trends will be discussed in relation to the European food market; “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight,” “Nurturing Nature,” “Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings,” “Indulging in Health,” and “Minimizing the Noise.”

Top Ingredient Trend

The European food and beverage industry is seeing a spotlight on specific ingredients that cater to consumer demands for health, sustainability, and indulgence. The top trend “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight” reflects this, with brands highlighting star ingredients in their products to drive consumer interest.

Consumers in Europe are increasingly seeking products rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This is driven by growing awareness of their health benefits and the desire for transparent labeling. Eggs with omega-3 claims are gaining popularity, with some brands offering eggs that provide up to 75% of the recommended daily intake of omega-3’s.

Vitamins are another ingredient experiencing rapid growth, with a 22% average annual growth rate in confectionery and bakery product launches across Europe. This trend is evident in various categories, including confectionery and bakery.

Finally, protein continues to be an on-trend ingredient, with a 63% average annual growth rate in soup product launches, and a 39% growth rate in sauces and seasonings.

Top Nature Trend

In the top food trend “Nurturing Nature,” consumers are increasingly demanding brands to take responsibility for sustainability and make a positive impact on the environment.
Many European consumers prioritize brands that contribute to environmental and social causes. 37% of consumers in Spain consider nature protection as the most important brand activity to support environmental and social causes, and 36% of French consumers say the same. This trend is reflected in the growing demand for sustainable packaging, with eco-designed options made from recyclable cardboard and plant-based materials gaining popularity.

Furthermore, consumers are associating nature protection with animal welfare and ocean conservation. They are also seeking claims that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable farming, reducing carbon footprints, and protecting biodiversity. This growing awareness is driving a surge in forest protection-related claims in the European food and beverage industry.

Top Food Trends

Top Plant-Based Trend

The rise of applied offerings in the plant-based food sector is a top trend that is noticeably popular in Europe, driven by consumer demand for familiar and recognizable choices. Consumers are increasingly embracing plant-based products, but they also seek familiarity and clarity. This top food trend is reflected in the growing popularity of plant-based versions of well-known dishes and formats, offering a sense of comfort and ease.

Innova’s food trend research shows European consumers are keen on plant-based alternatives that adapt well-known dishes, providing familiarity and clarity. This approach allows consumers to embrace plant-based options without feeling like they are sacrificing their favorite foods.

Convenient formats are growing in the European plant-based market, demonstrating a possible next step in the evolution of plant-based offerings. Both finger foods and ready meal main dishes have seen a 25% increase in European launches in the last five years.

This top food trend is further supported by the increasing consumption of plant-based alternatives in on-the-go settings, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. This suggests that plant-based options are becoming increasingly integrated into everyday eating habits, offering a convenient and delicious way to embrace a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Top Health Trend

In 2024, European consumers are increasingly seeking indulgent food and beverage options that also promote health. The top trend “Indulging Health” reflects the development of health brands creating products with indulgent formats, while comforting treats are coming with added goodness.

Innova’s food trend research reveals that 45% of European consumers are willing to compromise on indulgence for healthier food. This suggests a growing demand for products that combine indulgence with health benefits.

Cakes and pastries occupy an interesting space within the European market. They are both top choices for indulgence, and a top category where consumers are looking for healthier versions of these products. Consumers are interested in cakes and pastries that are low in carbohydrates, rich in fiber and protein, sugar-free, and based on egg whites.

Furthermore, European consumers are frequently engaging in “mindful drinking,” and seeking flavorful alcohol-free beverages as a way to improve their health. For instance, 38% of European consumers say that they are avoiding or cutting down on alcohol to improve their health. These consumers are therefore finding indulgence through non-alcoholic options like flavored mixes, cocktails, and ciders.

Overall, the “Indulging Health” trend signifies a shift towards a more balanced approach to food and beverage consumption, where consumers are seeking products that satisfy both their cravings and their health goals.

Top Claims Trend

In the developing food and beverage landscape, consumers are seeking clarity and simplicity. This top food trend, known as “Minimizing Noise,” emphasizes how straightforward communication and transparent product information appeals to consumers who want an escape from information overload.

59% of European consumers say that they would like to see straightforward communication about companies’ efforts in sustainability on products. Additionally, passive health claims, and sustainability info are some of the top categories where consumers want simplified information. Consumers are drawn to packaging that is easy to understand and visually appealing, with clear and concise messaging.

Greenwashing is a topic of concern for many consumers in Europe. 46% are wary of greenwashing, but 54% say that they cannot recognize if a company is greenwashing. More direct and transparent communication can therefore help minimize consumer fears, and drive interest in products.

What’s Next in Food Trends in Europe?

The European food landscape is poised for exciting developments, driven by a confluence of consumer preferences and food and beverage industry innovations.

Expect to see a continued emphasis on ingredients that promote health and well-being. Omega-3 rich foods, particularly eggs, will likely gain traction, while vitamins will be increasingly incorporated into diverse food categories, from confectionery to bakery. Plant-based protein sources, like faba beans and apricot seeds, are continuing their growth trajectories, offering sustainable and delicious alternatives.

Consumers are demanding transparency and action from brands. There will likely be continual growth in eco-designed packaging, with a focus on recyclable materials and reduced waste. Claims related to animal welfare, ocean protection, and sustainable farming are also vital, driving the market towards more ethical and environmentally conscious practices.

Finally, consumers are seeking healthier indulgences. This food trend is partially driven by the desire for healthier versions of cakes, pastries, and desserts, with a focus on natural ingredients, reduced sugar, and increased fiber content. The alcohol-free beverage market will likely also expand, offering flavorful and healthy alternatives for those seeking to reduce their alcohol intake.


This article is based on our report, “Top Trends 2024: Europe.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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