By Nicole Di Tomasso
TORONTO — Nourish Food Marketing, in collaboration with Kahntact Marketing, recently hosted a webinar to mark the release of its Nourish Trend Report 2022, which delves into 11 key trends shaping the future of the food, beverage and agriculture landscapes.
“Looking at the future today, I truly believe we’re at an inflection point,” says Jo-Ann McArthur, trends expert and president at Nourish Food Marketing. “We’re just getting through one shared global crisis with COVID-19, and now the world is re-focusing on climate change.”
This year’s trends include:
- Takin’ Bout My Generation: Boomers and Seniors Coming on Strong
Both boomers and seniors will look for more functional foods to support healthy aging. “Most want to age in place, rather than go into care homes. To achieve this wish and remain independent, boomers and seniors will be willing to pay more for food and beverage that preserves their muscle mass, skeletal strength, immunity and vitality,” said McArthur.
McArthur also highlighted specific marketing strategies for these age groups, including simplifying digital processes, upgrading to larger font sizes and using senior influencers.
- Let’s Make This Clear: Using Purpose Transparency to Gain Consumer Trust
Now more than ever, consumers are turning to products that are transparent and have a positive impact on society. “There’s a rising consumer demand for products that are open about its life cycle, where ingredients have been sourced, processing practices, labelling and packaging,” said McArthur.
Purpose and trust are critical to attract and retain consumers, and it must also go beyond words and include images and video as well.
- Plant-Based 3.0: A Divide between Better for You and Better for the Planet, Real Food and Science
McArthur said some are moving away from mimicking meat to embracing the plant, while others are increasingly focused on science. More food companies are starting to invest in the plant-based market in big ways, but generational differences among consumers are also emerging.
“[Older consumers] want products that are better for them nutritionally than their meat counterparts, while younger consumers are embracing food science for the sake of planet health. They’re trusting advances of food technology,” said McArthur.
- Re-Mapping the Paths to Purchase: An Updated Shopper Journey for Post-COVID-19 Grocery Behaviours
More consumers are wanting a seamless shopping journey that combines both online and offline experiences. “The digital retail space has truly perfected one-stop grocery shopping. Not only can you get your recipe idea online, but also purchase everything you need with one convenient click,” said McArthur. “While this behaviour works well online, it falls apart once you in stores. The majority of consumers don’t want physical stores to disappear, but they will expect convenient experiences and endless aisles and solutions at their fingertips with more inspiration and customization across all touchpoints.”
- Blurring the Lines: Foodservice Models Get Increasingly Hybridized
Like working and shopping patterns, hybridized models are being applied across the food ecosystem, with restaurants pivoting to bodegas, promoting meal-kit delivery and grocery stores adding indoor agriculture.
- Cultivating Your Inner Garden: Eating for Gut Health Goes Mainstream
The link between gut health and wellness continues to grow, with interest in pro-biotics, pre-biotics and now post-biotics. “As medical research continues, interest in our gut micro biome and how it interacts with wellness will grow with consumers clamoring for products to optimize it,” said McArthur. “Expect more functional food with gut health claims, as well as a continued rise in fermented food.”
- Save & Splurge: The High-Low Fashion Trend Comes to Food
McArthur used the high-low fashion trend as it relates to food and said, “With rising food inflation, food budgets are going to get tighter, especially as the world opens up again and we have more travel and entertainment options to spend our money on. Consumers might start to practice high-low in the food category by scrimping on the basics while splurging on the accoutrements like an artisan olive oil to elevate a meal.”
- What’s Good for Me is Good for Fido: The Humanization of Our Pets (Bonus Trend)
McArthur noted, “This year, we included a pet trend as we see the line between human and pet food continue to blur. Ben & Jerry’s entered the pet-food business in 2021, introducing its Doggy Desserts, which is made using the same ingredients as its plant-based non-dairy desserts for people.”
- Farms on the Edge of Uncertainty: A Perfect Financial Storm Could Capitalize the Canada Agriculture Economy
Len Kahn, president of Khantact Marketing, went on to highlight factors that could negatively impact Canada’s agriculture economy in the near future, including inflation, rising interest rates, government policies and ongoing supply-chain issues.
“Carbon tax, environmental farm plans, border restrictions, tariffs — all of these things can drift down to the farm level. The new factor is supply-chain disruptions, which over the past 18 months, I think the farm market has handled fairly well, but it’s quite possible that will not be the case going forward,” said Kahn.
- The Emergence of the Modern Farmer: Doing Away with Stereotypes and an Increased Focus on Mental Health
Kahn continued to say that modern technology has made farming easier in the physical sense, but the overall pressures are much higher. As a result, more issues around mental health are starting to surface.
“It’s only in the last 5 or 10 years that we’ve really started to look at [mental health] and, unfortunately, there’s been an increase in suicides and mental-health issues at the farm level,” says Khan. “When you think about farming, you put all your money into it first, whether it’s livestock or crops, and then you have to hope that things turn out so that you can sell something at the end. It’s very stressful.”
- Urgently Hiring: The Farm Labour Gap Approaches Critical Levels
Farming is hard work and requires extensive manual labour, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find people who want to do it. In addition, farming is more technologically complex than it’s ever been, requiring a certain level of education and skill. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact too, as more people move to work in other sectors.
“According to Statistics Canada, the current labour gap is 63,000 and it’s projected to grow to more than 120,000 by 2029. We need more people.”
The Nourish Trend Report 2022 is available online now. To download the full report, click here.