The events occurred in the past two years led to some fundamental changes in people’s habits and behaviors, influencing the Food & Drink industry promoting mental and emotional wellbeing through food and the choice of sustainable and quality products that bring people together, making them feel part of a community.
Mintel recently held a webinar starring the Global Food and Drink Trends 2022 forecast, providing an overview of the trends driven by consumers. The global situation shaped by the still-present COVID-19 pandemic and today’s issues such as climate change and the economic environment are leading consumers to increasingly consider the products they buy, becoming more informed about the origin of the product and its sustainability in terms of production and sourcing.
The main areas highlighted by Mintel involve the desire of consumers to be in control of their actions and choices, at the same time pursuing fun and levity, to fight the global situation, at least in the choice of food and drink. Let’s see together how Food & Drink 2022 trends can be integrated and included in the plant-based sector.
What will be the trending opportunities in 2022 for food and beverage?
A first trend, which goes by the name of “In control” focuses on consumers’ desire to make informed decisions by being in full charge of their choices. More specifically, there are three topics that consumers consider when choosing a product, which is the presence of simple ingredients and formulations, immune health benefits, and the moral values and sustainability of the brand. Brands then can seize this opportunity by increasing the level of transparency to the consumer by giving more information and updating them on the company’s environmental commitment. For example, one way to help consumers in their choice could be to add third-party verification on product packaging, or the use of rating systems, such as the Nutri-score, which is being discussed for adoption by the European Commission, as a way to supplement the information on ingredients and nutritional values already present on packaging in accordance with the law.
The second issue highlighted by Mintel is a renewed consumer desire to explore and embrace new experiences, summarized as “Enjoyment everywhere.” Brands can therefore seize the opportunity to experiment with flavor and format, be creative with colors and shapes, and create innovative and interactive designs that engage consumers. According to this trend, plant-based products can have a great opportunity for development, playing more on innovative flavors and textures, eradicating the idea that adopting a plant-based diet means not being able to eat tasty and appetizing food. In this perspective, we can talk about a “dirty vegan” approach, where such products can be promoted with messages about taste and pleasure.
Finally, the last trend that Mintel believes will influence the Food & Drink industry is outlined by the new vision of spaces by consumers, seen as “Flexible Spaces“. The concept of living space has changed in recent years, as people have been spending more time in their homes. Brands can therefore ride this trend by reinventing their products, designing new ways to interact with consumers at home, away from home or online.
What’s next: innovation and transparency
Based on these concepts, we can understand how this year’s brands will be able to take advantage of consumers’ desire to have fun and experiment with new things, developing innovative products in all areas, from taste to texture to design and packaging, while keeping an eye on clearly communicating the product production process, updating consumers on any sustainability issues pursued by the company.