Food and drink consumer demand trends for 2023

Monday, 14 November, 2022

Food and drink consumer demand trends for 2023

Centred around outer space, climate change, mental performance and the overwhelmed consumer, here are four of the eight 2023 Global Food and Drink Trends that Mintel analysts believe will impact consumer demands for food and drink in 2023 and over the next few years, as well as 5+ years into the future.

1. Weatherproofing

The first consumer demand trend is predicted to be food and drink formulations that help consumers endure heatwaves, subzero temperatures and disastrous weather events.

According to Jenny Zegler, Director, Mintel Food & Drink and Mintel Global Consumer: “Adaption and resourcefulness will be the name of the game as brands innovate to help consumers deal with the harsh effects of the planet’s more dangerous weather. From polar vortexes to heatwaves, consumers will look for products that help their bodies withstand the varying temperature extremes. Food and drink innovations also will be called upon to deliver easy-to-use nutrition during catastrophic floods and other weather-related disasters. Meanwhile, the genuine demand for energy savings in 2023 will drive a newfound appreciation for the benefits of having energy-efficient food and drink on hand during extreme weather. Stronger UV rays will create demand for functional food and drink with skin health benefits, while shelf-stable formats will prove to be life-savers as brands face up to the reality of supply chain issues. Beyond mainstream needs, brands will innovate emergency food and drink for special diets, children and the elderly, while pet food brands would do well to explore how to help our beloved pets endure severe weather.”

2. Staying sharp

The second trend is food and drink formulations that help consumers optimise their mental performance at work, home and play.

“Focus and productivity are the next mental and emotional wellbeing functionalities that consumers will be seeking. Consumers will look for food and drink that influence cognitive capacity, manage stress levels and optimise brain function. Expect to see brands promoting the brain boosts available from familiar energising ingredients, such as plant-based ingredients like fruits, vegetables and legumes, and caffeine (in moderation). But research will be needed to prove to consumers that the range of natural and functional ingredients from B vitamins to nootropics deliver on their cognitive health promises. New research and patents related to the gut–brain axis will create opportunities to highlight how the digestive health benefits of pro, pre and postbiotics support cognitive health. These science-backed advancements will enable fibre-rich foods such as produce to shine,” Zegler said.

3. Outer space

As Earth endures more chaos, the next trend is that space will become a source of optimism, innovation and connection.

“In the not-too-distant future, space will become less whimsical and more tangible. Centring around escapism, the food and drink market will take inspiration from space-inspired technologies and earthly innovations from space travel findings — think lunar minerals and zero-gravity dining. The undiscovered novelty of outer space will have a particularly unsullied charm for Gen Z, who are disillusioned with the world as it is, but brands should also consider the inspirational role space will have in Gen Alpha’s lives. New technologies, including resource-efficient agriculture and powdered protein, will come to light, giving food and drink brands a wider variety of space-inspired themes. Astronauts require food and drink solutions that can facilitate multiyear missions into deep space and these breakthroughs may well prove useful on Earth,” Zegler said.

4. Minimalist messaging

The final trend in the top four is clear and simple communication from food manufacturers to consumers who are fatigued by information overload.

“When it comes to brands communicating with customers, clarity and simplicity will prove to be a winning formula. Communication will be streamlined to the essential selling points as consumers seek brands that focus on their advantages on pack — and save storytelling for websites, social media and marketing. Products with clean designs that highlight natural ingredients and key health benefits will satisfy shoppers who are looking to escape information overload. Over the next decade, expect to see consumers rely on more virtual solutions to inspire, educate and affirm their purchases. Brands will share information on eCommerce sites to ensure their stories and benefits reach consumers who rely on their smart assistants, smart refrigerators or eventually curated shops in the metaverse to filter out items that do not meet their preset preferences,” Zegler said.

The full report is available for download here.

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