Affordability, indulgence, and health: Top trends for 2023 [Interview]14 Nov 2022
Consumers want affordable alternatives that offer the same great taste and health benefits as their favourite products. Brands that can deliver on this will dominate in 2023, according to Mintel.In the food and beverage space, consumers are key in driving innovation, pushing brands to come up with new, innovative products that reflect their changing demands and desires.
As inflation continues to soar to record highs across the globe, consumers are feeling the crunch as they are hit with price hikes of everyday food and drink goods. With many turning to discount retailers and own-brand alternatives, manufacturers are being driven to increase the affordability of products to remain competitive in the market.
“The cost-of-living crisis and worsening climate emergency compels all food and drink sectors to be alive to innovation that is truly sustainable but also empathises with consumers’ affordability needs,” said Alex Beckett, director at Mintel Food & Drink.
A recent EU survey revealed that when making food purchasing decisions, price is the top consideration for most (54%) consumers. With many unable to afford their everyday favourites, consumers are opting for lesser-known brands and products which is likely to influence how brands position themselves on the market in the coming months.
“We will see consumers switching to more affordable alternatives that they have less experience cooking with, requiring brands to act again as educator and adviser. Nutrition quality also rates highly as a core purchase influencer, as well as price, so vitamin and mineral content and value-for-money appeal,” said Beckett.
“Private label will naturally grab more attention, but brands will nonetheless be required to play that hugely important role for consumers: delivering the next beautiful flavour experience that lights up their day for a few minutes.”
Consumers are seeking mood and health-boosting products
Meanwhile, consumers are seeking new ways to enjoy food and drink that come without the hefty price tag.
“Looking ahead to 2023, I think we will see disruption around indulgence, as the need to deliver pleasure will be heightened. Indulgence will demand more sophisticated thinking, [for example] around the power of anticipation and complex, joy-bringing flavour combinations.”
Beyond momentary indulgence, consumers are also demanding products that offer health benefits, both physical and mental, fuelling the holistic health trend that dominated much of the past two years, influenced largely by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Demand for healthy food is being driven by heightened awareness of the role of diet on overall wellness, and an interest in healthy ageing among an ageing population. The desire to appear physically healthy ties in with consumer feelings about social standing and identity, driving interest in healthy diets. And, lest we forget, we have an obesity crisis but the variety and availability of food which is nutritionally sound and safe to eat is arguably better than at any point in history,” Beckett said.
With consumers embracing alternative, healthier, and more sustainable consumption opportunities, this opens the door for new ingredient and product innovations.
“Watch out for aphrodisiacal botanicals. These promise to be the next evolution of plant-based wellness ingredients, and deliver a new kind of mood boost that, quite frankly, will be sought after for all kinds of reasons and all demographic types,” Beckett said.
“Algae and fungi offer hugely exciting potential, and wearable technology will continue to flourish, [for example] around electrolyte loss during physical activity and real-time feedback about calorie intake.”
“In science we trust, in education we, as consumers, rely.”
As brands and consumers alike grow increasingly aware of the social and environmental impact of the products they produce and consume, sustainability remains a key industry trend.
In response, scientists are developing techniques that promise to make ingredients more sustainable with a reduced carbon footprint, such as precision fermentation for dairy, palm oil, and flavours; genetic modification for agriculture; and cell-culturing for meat.
“I’d like to hope that scientists have huge potential to deliver on their promises, as we absolutely need their solutions and breakthroughs to feed the planet,” Beckett said.
“The challenges are cost efficiencies during an energy crisis, the complicating effect of political and big business interests and, ultimately, will consumers trust it and pay more than the alternative?”
Alex will be speaking in-person at Fi Europe 2022 in Paris from 6-8 December. His presentation will explore the developments that will impact consumer demands for food and drink in 2023 and beyond.
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