The Ripple Effect of Food Trends – What it Means for Your Menu

Never have consumers been so engaged with what they eat and drink.

The COVID-19 pandemic led consumers to refocus on mindful eating and plant-based proteins, with a renewed focus on mental health, immune support, functionality, and sustainability. The pandemic has also spurred new investment in technology, creating gains in products designed for specific dietary needs as well as texture modification, and better connecting consumers to the origin of the foods they eat.

Mindful Eating and Food as Medicine

Euromonitor’s 2021 survey found 51 percent of global consumers rated their current eating habits as healthy or extremely healthy. This trend transcends age, income, and geography. Post COVID this definition of healthy has changed to include not only physical wellbeing, but also increasing mental wellbeing, creating opportunities around immune support, gut health, and mood management.

Dupont Health & Nutrition conducted a study to identify key purchase drivers that motivate older consumers, it found that active ingredients are a primary driver of senior nutrition purchases. According to Dupont, key ingredients for seniors include plant proteins which promote muscle strength and probiotic cultures and prebiotic fibre to boost digestive and immune health.

From Farm to Fork: Food Tech, Origins, and Security

The pandemic put local sourcing and food security back on the map as supply chain issues and concerns with food safety were magnified.

When Euromonitor asked global retailers about the two most important long-term shifts to come from this pandemic, the top responses were online shopping and more locally sourced products. The intersection of these trends is creating a new era of transparency across the entire farm to fork journey.

Why It's Important to Stay on Top of Trends

Food innovation often takes older consumers for granted, but the expectations of baby boomers are evolving and residential facilities must keep up with this demographic's needs to stay competitive.

While it may be Millennials and Gen-Z who are shaking up the food and beverage sector, countries around the world, including New Zealand, have an ageing population. New Zealand is expected to have 1.2 million people aged 65 by 2034, in Europe, one in four consumers will be 65+ by 2040 – that’s a large segment to ignore and more food producers are stepping up their engagement with this sector.