Key trends to look out for includes consumers wanting to be a part of communities with like-minded individuals
At the start of 2021, experts at market research mintel Mintel announced three key trends that will impact the global food, drink and foodservice industries in 2021.
This report included analysis, insights and recommendations centred around the “now” (the next 12 months) the “next” (18 months+) and the “future” (five+ years) of consumer behaviour.
NS Packaging looks at what Mintel sees as the big consumer trends to hit the food, drink and foodservice industries in 2021, including behaviour related to wellbeing, value and identity.
Food, drink and foodservice trends to look out for in 2021
Mental and emotional wellbeing will create a new foundation for healthy eating
According to the report, the pandemic has made consumers recognise wellbeing as a vital concern, with attention on mental and emotional health being multiplied by Covid-19.
It believes that multisensory products will help food, drink and foodservice brands command a larger share of mental and emotional health options.
The report adds that products offering “rituals” for preparation, presentation or consumption can often make consumers feel calm and give them a sense of control.
In addition to this, customers will be looking for more functional food and drinks that claim to help people focus, relax and relieve emotional health concerns.
It also sees multisensory and functional formulations being created to enhance stress relief activities – such as TV, gaming or meditating – with certain sensory elements such as scent will be used to add “in real life” experience to virtual events.
Alongside this, people will make more serious commitments to reduce the health risk associated with unhealthy eating post-pandemic.
Key opportunities for businesses Mintel sees includes to make sure products have moments of comfort and support, that enhance experiences and encourages healthy eating.
Associate director of Mintel food and drink Alex Beckett said: “The Covid-19 global pandemic has 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.
“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.”
New definitions for what trust, quality and essential means
The report states that “pandemic-shocked” consumers are now focused on minimal consumption and getting the best returns from their purchases.
It believes, once markets reopen after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, there will be a need for more convenient options as life gets busier.
Alongside this, consumers will be expecting time-saving, hygienic and “adventurous” convenience from food and drink services.
Additionally, brands will be challenged to respond to new definitions of quality and ensure e-commerce is accessible to shoppers of all-socio-economic levels.
This focus on getting the best value for money will motivate brands to be more transparent about a product’s price, with details about ingredients, processes and people reflected in the price.
Currently, consumers are looking for foodservice-inspired options for quick meals as well as approachable upmarket solutions for at-home entertainment occasions.
In the future, an important commitment will be to create affordable nutrition products that expand access to healthy food.
Additionally, consumers’ ethical expectations will create increased importance for brands that have “value with values”, which allows for moderate price increases if it’s accompanied with explanations of how price relates to quality or safety.
Opportunities in this area include there being new advantages in home-based lifestyles as people will continue to work, relax and entertain at home in the next 12 months.
Alongside this, there will be a revival of old priorities, however the pandemic will leave a legacy for safety and hygiene in retail and foodservice.
Beckett 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.
“In the next few years, brands will also be challenged 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.”
Food and drink brands must balance a person’s need to feel unique with the desire to be part of communities
According to the report, consumers’ understanding of community has been strengthened by Covid-19, recognising the importance of connection and support.
Brands can take advantage of their positions as common interests and passions that consumers can tie into their identities.
The report says they can actively bring fans together in online communities or organise in-person gatherings.
It also believes these food and drink brands have become a safe form of escapism during Covid-19, and over the course of 2021 will encourage people to use their brand to express themselves and reconnect to pre-pandemic activities.
Additionally, consumers will be encouraged to use these products to express their moods, opinions or passions.
In the near future – in order to create new ways for consumers to authentically connect with others – food, drink and foodservice brands could and will create online and physical spaces that will bring consumers together.
Alongside this, food and drink brands could adopt social commerce models, in which online shopping experiences are shared with fellow shoppers and friends.
According to the report, in the future companies will have the opportunity to give their fans actionable ways to give back – as consumers see companies having the potential to make a difference in the world.
In terms of opportunities, brands should be looking to celebrate individuals’ unique passions – with the next 12 months seen as a pivotal time to solidify food and drink as a key part of someone’s identity.
In addition to this, food and drink businesses should create communities around common interests and mobilise consumers to do good.
Beckett said: “Consumers’ understanding of the community has been strengthened by Covid-19.
“Recognising the importance of connection and support, consumers will organise in like-minded communities for socialisation and camaraderie.
“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 or brands they have in common, communities will expand people’s social circles and introduce collective ways to make a difference.”