Swiss flavour and fragrance manufacturer Givaudan identified over 70 “crucial drivers” and “leveraged attitudes” that it believes will shape the future of food demand in its new behavioural survey, which feeds into the trends programme FlavourVision.
The company spoke to 33,000 consumers across 25 countries to identify “high-level forces of change”, global marketing head Marissa Barnes explained. These encompass social, technological, economic, environmental, political factors as well as consumer values and behaviour, she told FoodNavigator.
The group then deepened its analysis by interviewing consumer experts, food sociologists and chefs. “In addition to our typical review of online and syndicated materials, we went into the streets of over a dozen cities around the world to capture great trend examples. Our new FlavourVision platform makes it easy for our creative marketers, chefs, and flavourists to capture and share trends digitally wherever they see them, around the globe,” Barnes noted.
So what are Givaudan’s top trends?
The growing influence of technology, social media and globalisation has made people more willing to question traditional definitions of identity and embrace “more complex, fluid expressions of self beyond gender, race, and ethnicity”, Givaudan observed. “This translates into food choices driven by social causes and values; novelty, exotic flavours and flavour fusions, and food experiences worth sharing socially.”
Consumers are leveraging heritage and high-tech solutions to address the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of wellbeing, the Swiss firm noted. “The increasing quantification of health is enabling more proactive wellness measures and driving consumer demand for functional foods, ‘better for you’ products and pure and simple ingredients lists.”
Demand for community and human connection is rising even as consumers become more mobile and independent. Companies are responding by celebrating cultural heritage, craftsmanship, and provenance. “This is translating into a demand for authentic flavours and cooking methods, food with a provenance or connected to a specific culture and sustainable and ethically sourced products,” Givaudan suggested.
Finding scale across whilst delivering personalised products is the new challenge. “Advances in technology will allow consumers to quantify and communicate their needs, permitting trusted brands to provide the most relevant solutions,” Givaudan predicted. This trend links to high levels of diversification and niche food and drink products alongside personalised nutrition.
According to Givaudan, consumers are seeking “moments of escape and meaningful indulgence”. This is translating into demand for multi-sensory eating experiences, indulgent ingredients and exotic tastes, the company claimed.
Conflicting information on health, global security, and the environment has made consumers less trusting of the food sector. “Consumers crave transparent, authentic communication from brands to be sure they’re making the right choice for themselves and their families,” Givaudan said. This is leading to increased interest in natural, organic and sustainable food, transparent labelling and minimally processed foods.
As consumers seek “self-improvement” they are increasingly open to experimenting, from ancient Ayurvedic remedies to emerging high-tech solutions, Givaudan said. The group’s trend forecasters predicted that as sensing technologies and genomics advance, people will have access to more tools to meet their unique needs. This trend is leading consumers to seek out functional and fortified foods with physical, emotional and cognitive benefits.
Givaudan’s FlavourVision includes an interactive digital platform that allows the company to develop “trend treks” showcasing how these trends are playing out on the ground. “Our first round of live trend treks included cities in India, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Nigeria, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the USA,” Barnes said.
The company “absolutely” hopes that this kind of data-driven insight into the consumer mind set makes will make it a more effective partner for food manufacturers. However, Barnes continued: “What really gives Givaudan an edge is that we translate our findings into product concepts and flavours for our customers, and those ideas are backed by our technology to make it happen. Inspiration is critical, but we prioritise what is relevant and actionable for our customers.”