New alternatives to animal protein, authenticity, mental health, personalized nutrition, hybrid experiences and hypercomfort are some of the trends that will have the biggest impact on the food sector this year.
Sustainability, trust, proximity, social responsibility, well-being, experimentation and smart solutions. These seven macro-trends are driving the present and future of food consumption, according to the EATendencias 2022 – Consumer Connected Food Innovation report, developed by the Intelligence and Innovation team at the Azti Technology Center.
These are the 7 axes that will guide the lifestyle, attitudes and behaviors of consumers in a context marked by the need for continuous reinvention due to the pandemic.
The impact of the pandemic on our lives, over such a long period, has had a decisive influence on attitudes and mentalities, transforming people’s priorities and habits. We are facing an increasingly thoughtful and engaged consumer, who has been approached by insecurity, helplessness, frustration, apathy and discouragement, and who is learning to live with the physical and psychological ravages of COVID. -19 secures the document.
The environment in the spotlight
Specifically, Azti experts highlight the relevance of sustainability as the first major macro trend to mark the consumer’s shopping list. Under the name of SUSTAINFOOD, experts reflect on the state of eco-anxiety generated by the current worry about the climate emergency and remind that the feeling of guilt is the main driver of behavior change.
Likewise, they point out that society is more aware of the impact of the entire food production chain on the environment and that the true ethical and environmental behavior of companies and consumers is in the spotlight. Hence, they stress, the importance of unified environmental labeling systems such as the recently presented Enviroscore.
In this context, experts distinguish two micro-trends related to sustainability. First, the commitment to reducing food waste and the circular economy. Second, the search for alternatives to animal products, which incorporate sustainability, ethical and health attributes.
New sources of ingredients and proteins such as fungi or microalgae illuminate a promising future for solving the technological and nutritional challenges of more traditional vegetable proteins. And products from cell cultures are getting closer to a market reality every day, the report says.
Health is the main focus of consumption in 2022.
Reliable and local products
The second macro trend is related to consumer confidence. TRUST4FOOD is the name with which the Azti team asserts that COVID-19 has only widened the trust and credibility gap even further in the face of the misinformation sensation.
For researchers, in an increasingly digitized world and faced with an avalanche of unverified information, consumers seek to build trust with facts and evidence that dispel apprehensions associated with food production and processing. .
In this scenario, the experts assure that the consumer is more demanding and thoughtful, he needs to have some control in the face of an often opaque food chain. Furthermore, the report ensures that consumers seek to validate commercial messages with metrics so that promises are based on facts and evidence.
Third, from Azti, they identify convenience and closeness as an additional value when making purchase decisions. LOCALFOOD is therefore the third macro trend described in the report.
The local continues to attract the consumer, the origin has multiple emotional and positive connotations. But it was the pandemic that caused a change and a boost to the trend, as it caused many to rethink the origin of the products they consume, the document states.
More social awareness and concern for well-being
The fourth macrotrend identified by Azti is SOCIALFOOD and focuses on consumer social responsibility. People are increasingly questioning the implications of their consumption habits, which makes them more selective and thoughtful in their purchase according to defined values.
The sphere of consumption guides the change in the food system: whether or not to buy a product is a way of voting for a series of intangibles. The younger generations feel that they can change things through their decisions. Responsible and ethical consumption has become part of the lifestyle, image and personal development of many people, the report points out.
In fifth place, Azti experts highlight BETTER4ME, the macrotrend that places health care and physical and mental well-being as one of the most powerful drivers influencing everyday behaviors, with a more proactive approach and preventive, linked to the desire to live longer and better.
The pandemic has made mental health emerge as one of the things that has deteriorated the most in the past two years. Stress, exhaustion and loneliness are issues that a significant portion of the population struggles with.
In the same vein, personalization is going to be increasingly present in all areas of our lives, including food. Precision nutrition pursues this, the adaptation of food to the specific needs of the person, based on scientific evidence and supported by technology.
The document describes the trends that guide the lifestyles, attitudes and food consumption behaviors of populations, in a context marked by the pandemic, and that pave the way for food innovation.
Hedonism, fun and smart technologies
Just as social awareness, environmental concerns and self-care are on the rise, consumers are also embracing small dietary whims and seeking to escape routine to turn everyday tasks such as meal preparation into an experience. fun. This macrotrend has been called EATERTAINMENT.
We are curious by nature; we love novelty and pleasure through the 5 senses. And now, more than ever, we want to have fun, have memorable experiences and stop to enjoy the little things that bring us well-being, explains the report.
Moreover, in a scenario where the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring, hybrid lifestyles are emerging, where interactivity, agility and the most immersive experiences are sought. The food of the future will be augmented, being able to enjoy it in multisensory virtual universes. Immersive retail, virtual showrooms, and shopping experiences (both physical and virtual) are new ways to create unique brand experiences for customers.
Finally, the last trend identified is the SMARTFOOD and it is related to the incorporation of innovative and intelligent solutions to improve and personalize the shopping and consumption experience.
Consumers aspire to have a sense of control over their lives, demonstrating an increasingly empowered and creative attitude to create or access the products and services they want. Consumption occasions are made more flexible. Improved shopping experiences and convenient solutions that make life easier and help people make the best decisions anytime, anywhere are sought after, the report says. In short, at present, what prevails is the hyper-convenience of the service, where the winners will be the audacious value propositions that respond as much as possible to the individual needs of consumers.
the EATrends 2022 report helps to understand what is happening in the field of food consumption and gives clues to changes in people’s needs, preferences, beliefs and behaviors