Mindfulness is a key factor in people’s food choices for 2018

Mindfulness and individual choice are at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to food choices in 2018.

Although these are not new trends, they are ongoing factors that continue to shape the consumer food market.

Consumers are developing a more holistic way of questioning what they eat.

Rather than random selection, they’re looking to connect with a brand’s values – be it health and wellness benefits, a social conscience, or enhanced nutrition.

READ: The top six food trends for 2018 – a manufacturer’s guide

Consumer packaged goods companies must become more innovative and relevant to meet consumer needs.

This pushes companies to run incubator programs for product innovation and experiment with creative technology in stores to keep consumers satisfied.

Studies conducted by Haines Consulting Group show that consumers are increasingly mindful in their food choices. It is the main driver to consumer behaviour in the food industry.

Modern consumers want to know what is in their food and how it was sourced, so they can make better decisions about their health and how the product impacts the environment and the community.

This behavioural shift means that brands must advertise and create an environment that empowers consumers through convenience, health and choice.

The technology and tools available to consumers mean they have more insight into their personal health than ever before.

Knowing how many steps they’ve taken, calories they’ve burnt, or how much sleep they’ve had, can play a big role in people’s food choices.

For brands, messaging is key, to help consumers make the desired choice for their health.

Consumers are becoming more educated on nutrition and food quality, as they want to make responsible food decisions.

Food is becoming less of a commodity and more of an individual choice.

Preferences need to be catered for and shopping needs to feel relevant and personal.

But, it’s a fine line to find the balance of enough options to overwhelming choice.

The ability to personalise is essential, but people don’t want to be confronted with too many choices.

Brands also need to effectively communicate food messages about nutrition and health.

Another trends that isn’t new, but is proving important to consumers, is fitting products into people’s busy lifestyles.

Products need to be conveniently packaged and marketed to tick the convenience box for consumers.

This trend is evident in the uptake and increase in food delivery services and meal packages, blurring the line between restaurants and supermarkets.

E-commerce is set for huge growth with fast ordering and delivery services, meaning shoppers can get everything they need quickly and easily.

Understanding all of these consumer trends can help business increase engagement and ultimately increase brand sales and success, Haines Consulting Group explains.



Mindful choices a key food driver for 2018

The increasingly thoughtful and mindful consumer will continue to catalyze changes in the way that companies produce, package and label their products.

More conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, 4 in 10 US and UK consumers increased their consumption of “healthy foods,” 7 in 10 want to know and understand the ingredient list, 1 in 5 in the US are most influenced by “real” ingredients, and ethical claims on packaging are top of mind. In response, better-for-you claims continue to be on-trend, having increased their market penetration from 42 per cent in 2012 to 49 per cent in 2017 YTD.

“Today’s consumer displays a high level of mindfulness about well-being and the environment,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“So it is no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly mindful in their food choices, wanting to know what is in their foods in order to make decisions about health, sustainability and ethical issues.”

“Mindful Choices” leads the list of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2018, where the company continuously analyzes global developments in food and drinks launch activity and consumer research to highlight the trends most likely to impact the food and drinks industry over the coming year and beyond.

Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for 2018 are:

  1. Mindful Choices. Consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know what is in their food and how it is produced. Innova Market Insights research data indicates that 1 in 2 US, UK and German consumers read ingredient labels often and that 7 out of 10 US and UK consumers want to know and understand ingredient lists. At the same time, rising levels of interest in ethical issues have resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink NPD soaring in recent years, with a CAGR of 44 per cent over the 2011-2016 period.
  1. Lighter Enjoyment. As consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing its appeal, although definitely not at the expense of a familiar, high quality and indulgent taste profile.
  1. Positively Processed. As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, alongside the development of new ones.
  1. Going Full Circle. The notion of closing the circle is increasingly taking hold, with greater consumer expectation that companies and brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.
  1. Beyond the Coffeehouse. While coffee is clearly trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea is also seeking to reinvent itself among the younger generations. With the taste and experiential associations of coffee and the healthy image of tea, the industry is increasingly using coffee and tea as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products as varied as energy bars, yogurt and jam.

The other trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

  1. Say it with Color
  2. Dining Out, In
  3. From Snacks to Mini Meals
  4. Ocean Garden
  5. Bountiful Choice

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Consumer trends and the ‘new food world’ of 2025

Over the next decade, we will see a ‘new food world’ where real food is demanded by more people, according to a prominent industry strategist.

Speaking at a business networking breakfast held in Sydney last week, Chr. Hansen’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Dr Kelli Hayes (pictured top) said the industry can expect to see shifts in the five value drivers (tasty, healthy, convenient, authentic, and safe) consumers will use to make food purchases and choices, as well as ongoing consumer concern over food’s affordability.

“Negotiating these drivers results in people facing difficult dilemmas and contradictions. For example, consumers often find it difficult to find healthy foods that are also safe to eat since the healthiest foods are those that are high in nutrients and contain no chemicals, but such unprocessed, fresh foods tend to be unstable and present a safety risk,” Dr Hayes said.

“Consumers also think it is difficult to find food that is both healthy and convenient since eating healthily requires extra time and energy that people are hard-pressed to find.”

“Providing affordable solutions that meet multiple value drivers will be the key to the industry’s success and present significant innovation opportunities.”

These insights into understanding changes in consumer food behaviour were gathered from research undertaken in the US, where consumers and producers are pushing new and innovative food practices; Europe, which has changing consumer habits, regulators considered ahead of other markets, and innovative retailers; and China, which has high growth and large scale potential.

Dr Hayes was joined by guest speaker, Social Researcher, Mark McCrindle from McCrindle Research (pictured below) who discussed a range of issues including the emergence of mega trends in Australia and how these are impacting consumer behaviour towards food, shopping and eating.

Mark McCrindle Image

These mega trends include the impact of cultural diversity, which is making food offerings in supermarkets and restaurants a lot broader and more interesting.

McCrindle also discussed the impact of Generation Y emerging and starting to have families in record numbers.

“We are seeing a group of parents who are more food literate and tech savvy than ever before. They are label readers and seek information about the foods they buy and are particularly conscious when buying food to feed their children,” McCrindle said.

The other trend we are seeing is that online shopping for fresh food has not taken off like other categories and this is because people are still keen to see, touch and smell their food before purchasing it.”

Other local trends Mr McCrindle discussed included the continuing emergence of indigenous foods to provide a local connection and flavour to Australian cuisine. McCrindle described Australians as ‘experimental’ and ‘forward thinking’ when it came to embracing new foods and cuisines.


Food and Beverages to tackle big growth in online shopper behaviour

Over 40 per cent of retailers are set to increase technology budgets in the next twelve months in a move to meet changes in consumer behaviour for online and mobile retail sales, according to the inaugural CommBank Retail Insights report.

Consumers are remaining highly selective and loyal to their brand, with more than 90 per cent of online shoppers transacting with just three or fewer brands each quarter.

Online retailing not only boost sales with strong websites and great products, it also offers a broader product range that can be easily found with effective search engine optimisation.

For Food & Liquor retailers, the shift towards online sales has been relatively slow in comparison to other industries. 41 per cent of businesses surveyed in the report had no online presence with multichannel retailers while 28 per cent only had between 1-10 per cent overall sales from online orders.

Multichannel retailers have experienced higher growth than their online-only competitors, indicating that customers could be inclined to search online for physical retailers that they are already familiar with.

Most Australian online retailers remain focused on the domestic market, with only 21 per cent generating sales offshore. Food and Beverage retailers aim to capture a greater share of offshore customers by investing in initiatives to localise offers included discounted food delivery and advertising produce on local websites.