Food Trends in Changing Times

In today’s rapidly evolving food landscape, staying ahead of the curve is critical for food and drink marketers. As consumer preferences shift, so must marketing strategies. To help you adapt effectively, we’ll explore key food trends backed by both secondary research and social listening data. This comprehensive guide will not only highlight these trends but also provide actionable steps to integrate them into your social media strategy.

The Impact of Price/Cost of Living: Price vs. Quality vs. Convenience

Meeting Consumer Needs in a Cost-Conscious Era

Recent findings from YouGov reveal that Brits are becoming increasingly price-conscious in their food choices. As the cost of living continues to rise, 32% of consumers are reducing their spending on dining out, while 28% are cutting back on takeaways, and 26% are trimming non-essential food items. These statistics underscore the importance of price, quality, and convenience in consumers’ decision-making processes.

Social Listening Data:

  • Food prices dominate online discussions, accumulating an impressive 465.83k mentions.
  • White label food experiences an 87% YoY surge, primarily driven by escalating food prices and inflation.

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Cost-Conscious Content: Craft social media content that acknowledges and addresses the cost-conscious mindset of consumers. Share money-saving tips, budget-friendly meal ideas, and special discounts.
  2. Quality Assurance: Emphasize the quality and value of your products. Showcase how they provide cost-effective options without compromising on taste or experience.
  3. Convenience is Key: Highlight the convenience aspects of your offerings. Whether it’s easy preparation, on-the-go options, or time-saving features, ensure your audience knows how your products make their lives easier.

Cooking from Scratch/Cooking at Home

Rediscovering the Joy of Home Cooking

In the wake of the pandemic, a YouGov survey conducted in 2023 indicates that 26% of respondents have embraced home cooking more enthusiastically. Remarkably, this trend is even more pronounced among those under 40, with a surge of 33-38%. As the nation rediscovers the joys of home cooking, marketers must align their strategies with this shift.

Social Listening Data:

  • Online conversations have witnessed a 10% uptick in discussions around scratch cooking.
  • Key topics revolve around family values, budget-friendly meals, the strengthening of family bonds, holiday celebrations, and mealtime preferences.

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Shareable Recipes and Tips: Create and share engaging, user-friendly recipes and cooking tips that inspire your audience to cook at home.
  2. Family-Focused Messaging: Highlight how your products contribute to family time and traditions. Showcase how they can enhance special occasions and celebrations.
  3. Seasonal Promotions: Tailor your social media campaigns to coincide with holidays and seasonal meal trends. Provide ideas and suggestions for festive and seasonal dishes that incorporate your products.

Vegan & Vegetarian Trends

Navigating a Diverse Dietary Landscape

A YouGov survey provides a more nuanced perspective, revealing that 73% of Britons still consume meat, with 12% identifying as flexitarians, 6% as vegetarians, 3% as vegans, and 2% as pescatarians. While the plant-based diet trend has undoubtedly gained momentum in recent years, there are indications that it may be encountering some headwinds. One contributing factor is the prevailing cost of living crisis, which has rendered vegan alternatives often more expensive than their meat or dairy counterparts. Additionally, the market for plant-based products has become increasingly saturated, making it harder for individual brands to stand out.

Social Listening Data:

  • Online discussions reveal a notable decline in demand for plant-based products, with a 29% decrease in mentions YoY.
  • Controversies surrounding plant-based alternatives, such as debates over whether vegan sausages should be called “sausages” and opposition from traditional food industries, have emerged.
  • However, there has been a significant 58% YoY increase in mentions of vegan and vegetarian meal kits, suggesting a potential avenue for growth in this sector.

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Adapt to Market Changes: If your brand offers vegan and vegetarian products, address consumer concerns and educate your audience about the benefits of these choices.
  2. Highlight Convenience: Promote the ease of adopting a plant-based diet with meal kits and ready-made options that simplify the transition.
  3. Diversify Offerings: Consider expanding your range of vegetarian and flexitarian-friendly products to cater to the diverse dietary preferences of your audience.

Alternatives & Free-From Trends

Meeting Dietary Needs and Preferences

Social listening data indicates a 31% decrease in online mentions of alternative and free-from products compared to the previous year. However, discussions around the growing availability of gluten-free choices have been notable, particularly in contexts like wedding menus, hotel breakfasts, and restaurant selections. On the other hand, non-alcoholic drinks have seen an 8% increase in mentions over the last three months.

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Highlight Gluten-Free Options: If your products are gluten-free, emphasize this in your social media content, targeting those with dietary restrictions.
  2. Non-Alcoholic Offerings: Showcase your range of non-alcoholic beverages and their appeal to consumers seeking alcohol-free options.

Medicinal/Nutritional Trends

Embracing Health and Wellness

According to the Market Research Report 2023 the medical foods market size is expected to increase from 22 billion USD to 35 billion USD by 2032. This growth is primarily driven by a growing awareness of nutritional deficiencies among consumers and increased interest in prebiotics and probiotic products.

Social Listening Data:

  • Superfood discussions have grown by 4% YoY, with an emphasis on nutritional benefits.
  • Conversations often focus on the health advantages of superfoods, with an association to vegan (63%) and vegetarian diets (15%).
  • Price plays a substantial role in social discussions about superfoods (70%), followed by quality (25%), and convenience (5%).

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Educate on Nutritional Benefits: Share information about the nutritional benefits of your products. Highlight how they contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Highlight Superfood Ingredients: If your products contain superfoods, emphasize their inclusion and their role in a balanced diet.

Artisan and Fine Food

Celebrating Craftsmanship and Quality

While references to gourmet or handcrafted food have decreased by 18% compared to the previous year, artisanal bread, cheese, and various food items are still discussed, particularly in the context of culinary events or farmers’ markets.

Why It Matters for Your Social Media Strategy:

  1. Celebrate Artisanal Qualities: If your products are artisanal or fine, showcase their craftsmanship and unique qualities. Emphasize the care and dedication that goes into creating them.
  2. Local Engagement: Promote your involvement in local culinary events and markets to connect with the artisan-loving audience. Highlight the sense of community and support for local businesses.

Sustainability and Organic Trends

Sustainability Takes Center Stage

Sustainability has become increasingly important throughout the entire food supply chain, from growth and manufacturing to packaging, delivery, and purchase. Despite higher prices, organic sales continue to rise, indicating a growing awareness and commitment to sustainable practices among consumers.

As you plan your social media strategy, incorporate sustainability messages and highlight eco-friendly practices. Emphasize the organic aspects of your products and how they contribute to a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, staying attuned to these food trends is essential for food and drink marketers. By adapting your social media strategy to reflect these trends, you can engage your audience more effectively and align your brand with current consumer preferences. Keep monitoring social listening data to stay ahead of evolving consumer behaviors and preferences. With a thoughtful and informed approach, you can navigate these changing times successfully and build lasting connections with your audience.

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