'We're getting fatter but more healthy': The lifestyle trends having a 'profound impact' on UK food choices

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Craft brands, Clean eating, flexitarian, vegetarian, free from

Clean eating and health and wellness are having a “profound impact” on the UK’s eating and drinking habits, according to new research, but consumers still want to indulge. What does this mean for food brands and retailers?

Market research company Nielsen and retail trade journal The Grocer looked at the fastest-growing products in UK supermarkets and drilled down into the numbers to identify which lifestyle trends are impacting UK consumers’ food and drink choices.

They found that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian are not just buzzwords; they are making their mark on sales. Meat-free products fuelled the extra £41.9m (€46.2m) spent on chilled ready meals. Brits are also eating more vegetables. Volume sales rose by 1.4% while meat fell by 0.3%.

Consumers want healthy food, and this is reflected in the numbers: free-from is now the UK’s fourth fastest growing category by absolute value (£200.3m or €221.7m) while sports nutrition is the fastest growing category by percentage, up 20.8%.

Even the £247m (€273m) value increase in the soft drinks category is “slightly deceptive​” as it is due to the UK’s sugar tax and volume consumption is actually flat.

For alcoholic drinks, consumers want quality over quantity, which is reflected in the rise of smaller, more experiential brands. One of the fastest growing brands under £50m, for example, is Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin.

The food and drink we eat and the way we consume it is changing​,” says Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer. “Paradoxically, we’re getting fatter but more healthy."

Consumers are drinking and smoking less and embracing healthier options like low-calorie drinks and ice cream but they are also indulging more in treats and snacks and takeaways, added Leyland.

“It’s millennials and Gen Zers that are driving these twin trends,” ​says Leyland, adding that these younger consumers are also looking for craft, niche and start-up brands.

“This is acting as a wake-up call for the giants of grocery. However big you are, you have to position yourself as an exciting proposition for today’s consumer – or face losing relevance.”

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Expanding the value of beverage through wellness

Expanding the value of beverage through wellness

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences | 19-Nov-2020 | Research Study

Fermentation and live cultures contents in food are perceived by consumers as healthier because these provide a wellness halo while Covid-19 is accelerating...

Clean-label Umami and Kokumi solutions

Clean-label Umami and Kokumi solutions

Kerry | 12-Nov-2020 | Case Study

The memorable sensory qualities of umami and kokumi used in perfect synergy can bring depth and taste to savoury foods. Integrating umami and kokumi effectively...

The next generation of food and drink is here

The next generation of food and drink is here

Barry Callebaut Food Manufacturers | 10-Nov-2020 | Technical / White Paper

More than ever, consumers look to brands who share their values to justify their choices. Food and drink should not only be tasty, but nutritious and good...

Related suppliers

1 comment

Pure lies

Posted by Rajeev Samuel,

Carbohydrates directly cause obesity, heart disease, liver disease, cancer and dementia!

Report abuse

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars