“Shared Planet” leads Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2022, focusing on how both industry and consumers can play their part in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future. The market researcher underscores that consumers now rank planetary health as their number one concern, overtaking personal health, which has been the top priority in recent years.
Sustainability “no longer a Wall Street issue”
“Shared Planet” leads Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2022. Consumers today are more ethically and environmentally conscious, so food brands need to work alongside the public to breed confidence in the claims attached to products.
“One of the biggest shifts we are seeing is that the health of the planet is now the top concern of consumers,” says Innova’s global insights director, Lu Ann Williams. “Personal health has been the big concern for the past few years, but consumers now tell us that this has been surpassed by global issues.”
“Sustainability is no longer just a Wall Street issue. It might not be the top purchase driver for all consumers, but for many it clinches the deal when it comes to choosing between products.”
Innova’s Global Lifestyle & Attitude Survey reveals that, when it comes to food choices, the top two environmental actions consumers are taking are reducing waste (43% of respondents) and eating in moderation (32%).
Trust and transparency are must-haves for any brand wishing to find common ground with an increasingly educated, forward-thinking and interconnected consumer base.
Top Ten Trends for 2022
Looking to the future, Innova Market Insights presents the top trends that will drive innovation and success in 2022:
1. Shared Planet
As planetary concerns outstrip personal health when it comes to consumers’ food priorities, brands are moving on from simply proclaiming their credentials to meeting a clear, agreed and understandable measurement of their environmental and social impact.
It is vital to ensure universal acceptance of certifications and greater public faith in the transparency of brand actions. This requires quick, clear, tangible and trusted information combined with a product life story that truly stands up to scrutiny.
Myths and misunderstandings are “crumbling,” according to Innova Market Insights, so it has never been more important to engage in honest and open communication with consumers.
With this aim, Foundation Earth recently launched a pilot program to test consumer response to a science-backed environmental scoring system. Eco-labeling is anticipated to rise in popularity, as these front-of-pack indicators are designed to help consumers assess the overall environmental impacts of the products they buy while accelerating industry’s journey toward net-zero emissions.
2. Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation
With personal health and global sustainability proving to be strong drivers of consumer choice, plant-based R&D has refocused from mimicking meat, fish and dairy to optimizing and diversifying options.
Featured on the show floor of Anuga 2021, expanded vegan offerings hitting the market this year are targeting adventurous consumers with cravings for grilled Middle Eastern meats, Asian satays and the Mediterranean palate.
Consumers consider plant-based alternatives to be healthier and better for the planet. A third reason, the desire for diet variation, is further boosting interest in plant-based beyond the traditional vegan and vegetarian sectors, leading to a 59% increase in launches of new plant-based products in the year to August 2021.
3. Tech to Table
Technological advances have created major innovation opportunities for the entire food and beverage industry, offering greater possibilities to change every aspect of a product’s lifecycle from conception to consumption.
While innovators embrace new production methods, consumers turn to apps and AI for guidance on personalized nutrition and a greater understanding of how to successfully fulfil their needs.
One example of this trend taking root is the EU-backed project focused on developing vertical gardens for domestic use, intending to make personalized nutrition more available throughout the continent while reducing reliance on industrial farming.
Meanwhile, advances in AI, blockchain, machine learning, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are anticipated to raise the bar for digital traceability solutions such as smart labeling and digital tracing at speed.
4. Shifting Occasions
Lockdowns and the pandemic have reshaped existing eating occasions while at the same time helping to create new ones. Consumers have a greater awareness of the comforts and possibilities of home, so now seek more from going out.
Industry leaders will be pushed to better serve evolving consumption occasions, creating products geared to the new expectations of a public whose social habits have been challenged.
5. Voice of the Consumer
Consumers are calling the shots and expecting more engagement from brands through digital and real-world channels.
People are looking for food and beverages that align with their political, social and ethical values. If they can’t find them, entrepreneurial consumers are taking action to fill the gap themselves, satisfying specific market niches and co-creating products that meet their needs.
In addition to the top five, Innova has identified the following themes that will drive consumer actions next year:
6. Gut Glory
7. Back to the Roots
8. Amplified Experiences
9. Upcycling Redefined
10. My Food, My Brand