Global food industry consumer trends in 2021


Wednesday, 20 January, 2021

Global food industry consumer trends in 2021

Consumer marketing firm Mintel has released its report on consumer trends in the global food, drink and foodservice industries.

Three key insights were established from the research. One of the top trends is that the industry will offer mental and emotional wellbeing solutions creating a new foundation for healthy eating.

The insight also found consumers will redefine what it means to trust a brand as companies strive to create unique communities with their brand image.

The research also breaks down the analysis, insights and recommendations into specific periods — the now (next 12 months), the next (18 months) and the future (five+ years).

Daisy Li, Associate Director, Mintel Food and Drink, discussed the shifts in consumer behaviour related to wellbeing, value and identity will inspire formulation, packaging, marketing and more in the years to come.

Feed the mind

From 2021, it is expected food, drink and foodservice brands will offer moments of respite through product rituals and formulations that enhance stress relief activities. As the singular focus of avoiding COVID-19 fades, people will make more serious commitments to reduce the health risks associated with unhealthy eating, become more interested in mindful and intuitive eating, and seek proof and incentives through the use of technology.

Li said the pandemic made consumers recognise that wellbeing is a vital concern.

“In the coming years, consumers will be looking for more products and services that offer mental and emotional health benefits,” Li said.

“Functional formulations and emotionally engaging multisensory products will help food, drink and foodservice brands command a larger share among a myriad of mental and emotional health options. We predict that innovative food and drink formulations will help people learn how diet can impact mental and emotional health, which will lead to new interest in psychology-based approaches to healthy eating.”

Quality redefined

The report said consumers will look for approachable upscale meals for special ‘hometainment’ occasions. It is expected to see brands and retailers launch appropriately priced products with ethical or environmental claims, and consumers increase their expectations for contactless retail that will expand to include experiential services. The report predicts that brands and operators that invest in seamless retail and equitable access to healthy food will come out on top over the next five years and beyond.

Li said when it comes to value, pandemic-shocked consumers are seeking a return to what is essential.

“Consumers are now focused on minimal consumption and getting the best returns from their purchases,” she said.

“As markets reopen, the pace of life will get busier, and consumers will expect time-saving, hygienic and adventurous convenience food, drink and foodservice.”

Li also said brands will also be challenged in the next few years to respond to new definitions of quality and ensure e-commerce is accessible to shoppers of all socioeconomic levels.

“The focus on getting the best value for one’s money will motivate brands to be more transparent about product price by providing details about the ingredients, processes and people that are reflected in a product’s price.”

United by food

In the next 12 months, food, drink and foodservice companies will encourage people to use their brands as a form of self-expression and a way to reconnect with their pre-pandemic identities, the report claimed. It is expected social commerce will develop as a new way for brands to capitalise on building communities. This will give brands actionable ways to give back and use their resources, reputation and reach to help consumers take action on important causes.

Li said COVID-19 has strengthened consumers’ understanding of the community.

“Recognising the importance of connection and support, consumers will organise in like-minded communities for socialisation and camaraderie,” she said.

“Food, drink and foodservice brands can take advantage of their positions as common interests and passions to which consumers can tie their identities and actively bring individual fans together. Bound by the brand(s) they have in common, communities will expand people’s social circles and introduce collective ways to make a difference.”

Image credit: © barbone

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