Food trends: How do they affect businesses today?
Consumers’ food preferences are continuously evolving. Today we see trends emerging in various markets – from the zero-waste eating trend, the ‘free-from’ trend, veganism, plant-based milk, and many more.
As food trends continue to emerge, food manufacturers need to keep up with the various demands (and even concerns) which develop along with these trends.
One of the most popular trends is veganism – a diet that cuts out animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. More people are now shifting to eating vegan meals in recent years. In the UK alone, for example, the numbers of vegans have quadrupled since 2006, with young women as the main growth driver to this trend.
As consumers are paying more attention to their health, animal welfare, and environmental concerns, veganism shows no signs of slowing down.
One of the most common concerns is whether a vegan diet provides enough micronutrients, such as vitamin B12 which is usually found in meat, fish, eggs, and dairy but not in fruit or vegetables. Coming up with solutions to address these concerns should be the key focus for food manufacturers active in this space.
The term “free-from” refers to food products that have been designed to not use any unnatural preservatives or contain no allergens – such as peanuts, eggs, milk, and others. This trend was considered the top trend back in 2017 and it has been growing ever since. In 2018, the global free-from category reached USD 56.3 billion in retail sales, and we are seeing an 11% increase in sales value in Europe.
There are several reasons why this trend is growing. Consumers perceive that free-from foods are healthier than the regular ones. Another reason is that consumers consider this trend to be more sustainable. For instance, free-from meat and dairy alternatives are more sustainable because they result in a lower carbon footprint than regular meat and dairy products.
Despite the consumers’ desire for more “natural” foods, it’s hard for them to compromise on taste and texture. Thus, the challenge for manufacturers is to create food product innovations that will satisfy consumers’ demand – more “natural” foods that give the same texture, feel, and taste as the regular ones.
One-third of all food produced is wasted. This means that everything used to produce that one-third of food also goes to waste. As consumers become more aware of this fact, the zero-waste food trend is becoming more popular in recent years. Zero-waste food is a movement to buy what you need and make the most of what you use. It also goes as far as re-purposing scraps and other food items that would normally be thrown away.
This trend will affect the way consumers purchase food, not only in grocery stores but also in convenience stores and restaurants as well.
How can we help?
It’s crucial for food manufacturers to understand trends and all its impact on consumers’ behaviour to avoid making a wrong strategic move.
ADK Insights continuously monitors emerging trends in the food industry. To know more about our experience and see what it could mean for your business, please contact Rob.