The rise of the ‘conscious consumer’ to drive future food trends: Innova

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/howtogo
Image: Getty/howtogo

Related tags Consumer trends

The pandemic has left a “lasting impression on consumer behaviour, particularly in relation to food and beverage choices”, reckons Innova Market Insights, which has revealed personal health and the environment as its top trends of 2022.

It says the health of the planet is now the top global concern for consumers, who have come to expect transparency and zero-waste approaches from food and beverage companies.

Plant-based: the canvas for innovation

The growth of plant-based has been tracked through Innova Market Insights’ top ten trends for the past few years, and this year it’s further cemented itself in the mainstream. As it’s evolved, plant-based is now no longer about mimicking meat and dairy but creating innovation in its own right and, according to Innova Market Insights, we can expect to see a major shift in the type of products being made – with a particular focus on taste and texture.

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights, said: “There’s an increasing need for plant-based food optimisation as 1 in 3 consumers globally would not consider buying 100% plant-based alternatives because of poor taste and texture.”​ Although taste and texture continue to be trickier aspects of plant-based formulation, it’s a key deciding factor for consumers.

With environmental health being one of the top two reasons for consumers considering plant-based alternatives, it’s no surprise that sustainability has risen to the top of Innova Market Insights’ trends for 2022. Williams comments: “Planetary concerns are now the top global issue for consumers, overtaking consumer health. Consumers feel a sense of joint responsibility with brands to protect the planet and whilst it may not be the top purchasing driver for all, it may be the final deciding factor for many.”​ Building trust through transparency is therefore vital for manufacturers in order for their products to stand up to the scrutiny of consumers, who want to be reassured that their food choices have a positive climate impact.

With the rise in sustainability concerns, demand has also increased for products which are part of the circular economy. Innova Market Insights’ Upcycling Redefined trend highlights a role for products that use ingredients otherwise considered as waste. According to its latest research, 35% of consumers globally find products containing upcycled ingredients more appealing than those without.

Back to the roots

Innova Market Insights has also noted functionality and authenticity as two drivers for innovation in 2022, as consumers demand freshness and flavour as well as nutrients from what they eat. Local food is just one of many ways to achieve this, Williams said: “Consumers are increasingly valuing the benefits of local food. But local doesn’t necessarily have to mean local to you; there are lots of different ways to go back to the roots whether it’s being community conscious or having a product that’s naturally functional.”

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