The report illustrated three major global trends in the food and drink industry – Being my better me, Lovely luxury experiences & Mindfulness on the menu.
Being better by me
Consumers have become much more health conscious in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and have begun to turn to healthier choices in their diets. As consumers look to lead healthier lifestyles and maintain healthy habits, food has become a key supporter in these endeavours.
This doesn’t just boil down to traditionally ‘good for you’ foods – consumers are now looking for products that feature additional health benefits, such as cake that supports gut health or cheese that’s low in salt.
“In the quest to ‘be the better version’ of themselves, consumers see these new takes on their familiar foods as the way to ultimately make permanent lifestyle changes,” read the report.
With a greater number of restaurants and food outlets offering home delivery as a result of lockdown, consumers have become more used to ‘premium’ fast food. Special treats that were once available only by visiting a top restaurant now come as takeaways, food kits or even from food trucks.
Consumers are now looking for premium choices more often and want them to be easily accessible. They also want to be surprised, with many seeking out new experiences and over the top luxury versions of the foods they love.
Mindfulness on the menu
While the last two trends shared a focus on personal experiences, the last trend observed by FrieslandCampina zeroed in on the social impact of food and the impact our food makes on the planet.
Food for sharing has become popular as people come out of lockdown and start meeting in groups again – and they are conscious of the food that they are sharing with other in the community.
“They love to feed friends with locally grown produce, like a home-grown zucchini cake,” the report continued. “Finding inventive ways to incorporate leftovers into delicious/indulgent soups, sauces, curries and marinades is another feel-good approach that is kind to the planet as well as the people around you.”
Suzanne van den Eshof, global head of marketing for food industry at FrieslandCampina Professional, said it was unsurprising to find consumer needs and preferences have changed during these unprecedented times.
“The consumer has become more mindful and has created new habits and expectations – the challenge lies with the manufacturers to facilitate and understand the newly found needs,” she added.
“Organisations that truly understand their audiences and who are agile enough to cater to quickly changing demands, are the ones that customers connect with.
“It’s essential for manufacturers to partner up with an ingredient supplier with a strong innovative character. Understanding your customer can be challenging and translating that understanding into product and innovations is a whole other ballpark.”
Meanwhile, in the world of drinks innovation, there have been a clear number of trends that have emerged during the events of 2020/21, fuelled by the impact of COVID-19 on consumer purchasing habits. We cover some of the more prominent trends in our beverage innovation feature.