FoodNavigator’s year in review: The most popular food and beverage stories of 2022

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

What trends and tech caught the eye of F&B innovators in 2022? / Pic: GettyImages-Casezy
What trends and tech caught the eye of F&B innovators in 2022? / Pic: GettyImages-Casezy

Related tags 2022 market trends Health and wellness Sustainability Packaging Protein plant-based Food tech Greenwashing Ukraine

FoodNavigator looks back over the last 12 months and asks what our most popular stories tell us about the food and beverage sector’s direction of travel.

The food and beverage industry has faced an unprecedented couple of years. From the COVID-19 pandemic, through to supply chain challenges and – today – the energy crisis and war in Ukraine, supply chains and business models have had to show resilience in the face of extreme disruption. Unsurprisingly given this context, stories looking at issues around food safety and security proved popular reading in 2022.

But despite these challenges, innovation has continued to remain front-and-centre of the industry’s thinking. Developments in the fast-paced food tech world continue to push the envelope and scientific advances in our understanding of health and diet expand the boundaries of functional nutrition. Meanwhile, plant-based R&D, the protein debate and broader concerns linked to sustainability – and worries over greenwashing – also continued to dominate our pages.

Join us for a look back at 2022 through the lens of FoodNavigator’s most read and shared stories of the past 12 months.

The protein dilemma: Plant-based versus animal?

Stories examining innovation in plant-based products and new protein sourced remained hot topics in 2022. However, we are increasingly seeing push-back on the assumption that the plant-based category will shape the future of food, with questions being asked about the health and sustainability of animal- and plant-based products. Revisit our top five stories covering plant-based and conventional proteins.

Food tech in focus

Protein is of course one hot topic in the food tech space, where innovative approaches and novel technologies are being developed to answer some of the biggest challenges faced by the food sector and the need to feed a growing global population within finite planetary boundaries. From cell cultured meat, to gene editing, precision fermentation and cellular agriculture, check the R&D that caught your attention as innovators work to reshape the food system.

Sustainable supply chains… and greenwashing fears

Answering the big sustainability challenges remained front-of-mind for FoodNavigator readers in 2022, with issues like plastics and production systems attracting their share of attention. One thing that was remarkable, however, was that for every story that made our most popular list touting a sustainable solution another was looking at what consumers and regulators have clearly identified as a cause for concern… greenwashing.

Food safety, security and the geopolitical crisis

As the year progressed, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made headlines around the world… and the impact was increasingly felt in the food sector. From spiking energy and raw material prices, to concerns over food safety and security, the current geopolitical situation has had a destabilising effect. Elsewhere, concerns over food fraud and high-profile safety scares demonstrated the need to remain vigilant – and the price that such crises exact on brands.

Nutritional science driving healthy innovation

In 2020, COVID-19 brought the link between health and diet to the fore. By 2022, as European economies continued to learn to ‘live with’ the disease, health and nutrition remained important innovation drivers. From the question of how to add fibre to food to the rise of diets like keto, here’s a round-up of the health trends that caught your eye.

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