Consumers would no longer trust products that look “too perfect”, after exposure to food scandals and civil unrest related to global food shortages, Gaye told a British Frozen Food Federation conference last month.
“Ugly food is going to be a big trend in the coming years,” she said. “The food ‘porn’ (which is beautiful looking food) that we’re used to seeing now will be gone and it will all start to look very ugly because consumers will trust it more.”
In time, even homemade-style products would be considered with suspicion by consumers, who would then demand more natural, irregular looking products, Gaye claimed. “What we think of as being normal now so, perfectly formed products in appealing packaging will be considered untrustworthy in the future,” she added. “Everything is going to change; it’s a trust thing.”
A rise in the number of shoppers purchasing blemished or misshapen fruit and vegetables was an early indication of the trend, she added. According to recent Mintel figures, almost half (42%) of fruit and vegetable buyers had said they would buy oddly shaped produce.
Other food and drink trends over the next five years predicted by Gaye, who is also a part-time senior lecturer in branding, marketing and consumer research at Nottingham Trent University, included: a rise in vended foods; increased demand for foods with health benefits; reduced food waste; and novel solutions for breakfast.
Foods with exciting new textures and other, more playful products would also be in higher demand in the coming years, she added.
Morgaine Gaye is a keynote speaker at ‘New Frontiers in Food and Drink: putting innovation on a plate’, a conference organised by Food Manufacture’s publisher William Reed Business Media and in conjunction with sister publications: British Baker, The Grocer and Meat Trades Journal. The conference will take place at Etc.venues St Pauls, 200 Aldergate, London on Friday June 26, 2015. For more information and to book, click here.
Meanwhile, new product innovation was a key reason behind Marks and Spencer‘s boost in food sales reported in its fourth-quarter financial results posted today (April 2).