Insight: Mintel announces global food and drinks trends for 2021

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SINGAPORE – Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has today announced three key trends for the global food, drink, and foodservice industries, including analysis, insights, and recommendations centred around the ‘now’ (next 12 months), the ‘next’ (18 months+), and the ‘future’ (five+ years) of consumer behaviour:

Feed The Mind: Innovative food and drink formulations will offer solutions for mental and emotional wellbeing that will create a new foundation for healthy eating.
Quality Redefined: Brands will be challenged to respond to new definitions of trust, quality, and ‘essential’.
United By Food: Food and drink brands can balance a person’s need to feel unique and special with the desire to be part of communities of like-minded individuals.

Looking ahead, Daisy Li, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, discusses how shifts in consumer behaviour related to wellbeing, value, and identity will inspire formulation, packaging, marketing, and more in the years to come:

Feed The Mind

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In 2021 and beyond, expect to see food, drink, and foodservice brands offer moments of respite through product rituals and formulations that enhance stress relief activities. As the singular focus of avoiding COVID-19 fades, people will make more serious commitments to reduce the health risks associated with unhealthy eating, become more interested in mindful and intuitive eating, and seek proof and incentives through the use of technology.

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“The COVID-19 global pandemic has made consumers recognise that wellbeing is a vital concern. In the coming years, consumers will be looking for more products and services that offer mental and emotional health benefits.

“Functional formulations and emotionally engaging multisensory products will help food, drink, and foodservice brands command a larger share among a myriad of mental and emotional health options. We predict that innovative food and drink formulations will help people learn how diet can impact mental and emotional health, which will lead to new interest in psychology-based approaches to healthy eating.”

Quality Redefined

Expect to see consumers look for approachable upscale meals for special ‘hometainment’ occasions. Expect to see brands and retailers launch appropriately priced products with ethical or environmental claims and consumers increase their expectations for contactless retail that will expand to include experiential services. Over the next five years and beyond, brands and operators that invest in seamless retail and equitable access to healthy food will come out on top.

“When it comes to value, pandemic-shocked consumers are seeking a return to what is essential. Consumers are now focused on minimal consumption and getting the best returns from their purchases.

“As markets reopen, the pace of life will get busier and consumers will expect time-saving, hygienic, and adventurous convenience food, drink, and foodservice. In the next few years, brands will also be challenged to respond to new definitions of quality and ensure ecommerce is accessible to shoppers of all socioeconomic levels. The focus on getting the best value for one’s money will motivate brands to be more transparent about product price by providing details about the ingredients, processes, and people that are reflected in a product’s price.”

United By Food

In the next 12 months, food, drink, and foodservice companies will encourage people to use their brands as a form of self-expression and a way to reconnect with their pre-pandemic identities. Expect to see social commerce develop as a new way for brands to capitalise on building communities that will, in turn, give brands actionable ways to give back and use their resources, reputation, and reach to help consumers take action on important causes.

“Consumers’ understanding of the community has been strengthened by COVID-19. Recognising the importance of connection and support, consumers will organise in like-minded communities for socialisation and camaraderie. Food, drink, and foodservice brands can take advantage of their positions as common interests and passions to which consumers can tie their identities and actively bring individual fans together. Bound by the brand(s) they have in common, communities will expand people’s social circles and introduce collective ways to make a difference.”

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