73% of consumers worldwide state depression and mental health have a moderate to severe impact on their everyday life right now. A further 60% say their household income has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Consumer resiliency is stretched to the max in these unparalleled times, which is causing stress and anxiety. It will come as no surprise that the pandemic has added new dimensions to consumer expectations of health, food and the foodservice industry.
Taste Tomorrow, the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in bakery, patisserie and chocolate, is continuously monitoring food trends and consumption habits and has uncovered interesting statistics around consumer expectations for the future. These are the most significant:
34% of global consumers believe food will be healthier in 2030
Consumers have a strong belief in a healthier future. Most people are convinced that food in 2030 will be as healthy as today or even healthier. What constitutes a healthy product? The vast majority of people define healthy food as food that adds ingredients as well as removes them. Consumers want more and less at the same time. They want less ingredients such as sugar, fat and salt that are harmful to their health, and more of the good stuff, for instance fibres and proteins.
60% of global consumers utilise food as an important tool to strengthen their health. During the pandemic we also noticed an increase in the awareness of the immune system. Online searches for immune boosting foods went through the roof as 58% of the people spent time educating themselves on ingredients and procedures that can boost their immune system.
89% of Chinese consumers wants to maintain the current hygiene measures
China is the first country to open up again after strict covid measures and lock-downs, so it’s interesting to see what consumers expect from the new normal there. If the results from China are indeed representative, the rest of the world will not have to put away its mouth masks and cleaning products any time soon. Hygiene remains very important, even when the corona measures are loosened.
Chinese consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of hygiene for their health, a number that has gone up from 84 to 88% between April 2020 (post lock-down) and January 2021 (in the new normal). Most Chinese (89%) are of the opinion that the hygiene measures should remain as they are, which goes hand in hand with a great demand for contactless payments in shops and restaurants.
68% of consumers see plant-based products as an option to feed the growing world population - and 58% is willing to adopt them
The future is looking green. Vegan and vegetarian diets continue their steady growth, but other consumers see the value of plant-based solutions as well. 38% of consumers think a plant-based diet is healthier than a regular one, and 45% believe it has a positive impact on the environment. When the plant-based diet is framed as a solution for feeding the growing world population, it becomes even more popular. It is the second most popular means to maintain the food supply, 68% of consumers endorse the relevance of plant-based products. An impressive 58% is even willing to incorporate more plant based items in their diet.
56% of consumers look for items that are sustainably produced with care for the environment
A responsible diet matters. Half of consumers worldwide agree that the food choices they make reflect their personal values. ‘I am what I eat’ is their motto. Food is closely linked to ethics and lifestyle, so what you put in your mouth should say something about what you stand for.
Consumers are focused on making ethical choices and their scope goes beyond their personal benefits. The care for people, animals and our planet matters. Factors such as fair prices for farmers, animal wellbeing, packaging and local sourcing are all being taken into account. But the most important factor for today’s consumers is environmental sustainability, with 56% of people stating they prefer products that do not harm our planet.
43% of consumers check the product source on food labels, making it the third most important piece of information on there
The call for transparency in the food industry is growing. Consumers want to know what’s inside their food, where it’s from and how it’s produced. Ingredients are still the most important piece of information on a food label and the nutritional information comes in second. But the more in-depth product details are becoming increasingly important: 43% of consumers read the product label to find out more about the source of the product, 39% check out the source of the ingredients and 24% are interested in the sustainability.
Up to 75% of consumers agrees all shops and restaurants should deliver at home
Online ordering and home delivery of food is here to stay. Consumers want food outlets and retailers to provide ultimate convenience to ease their busy lives. Groceries and meals have to be delivered at the front door, preferably without waiting or compromising on quality and selection. The home delivery trend has of course been accelerated since the pandemic, but the demand for food deliveries will most likely remain high. In China, 52% of consumers state that they will continue to mainly order food online after the pandemic.
Stay relevant for consumers
Consumers are clear on the direction they want food producers to head in: they see a future that’s healthy. Plant-based options will become a major part of diets and all food is preferably sustainable. That sustainability has to be proven by transparent sourcing and clear information on food packaging. For the near future, consumers like strict hygiene measures to stay in place and they see home delivery as an absolute must. Which trends will you adapt to?
Want to find out more of the latest consumer trends?
Find out how to adapt to new consumer wishes in our article on the three biggest food trends to watch in 2021.