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“Driven by a desire for nostalgic comfort through an unsettling time, the leading example of this was banana bread, which trended across social media so frequently it became known as the symbolic comfort food of the pandemic,” drinks brand Fentimans says in its 2022 market report. “As we emerge from the pandemic, these traditional home comfort flavours have taken on a new emotional relevance in our lives and will establish themselves as key parts of the British identity.”
Indeed, traditional flavours will be key for connecting with consumers, but comfort has also been found in permissible indulgences. The Craft Bakers Association’s latest report found that over a third of bakers saw sales of sweet bakery products grow over the past year. “Indulgence is never out of fashion, although it is now taking a range of forms, from special edition sweets and snacks through to lighter or healthier versions of traditional indulgent or comfort foods,” says Heather Morris, co-founder of consultancy SHFoodie.
“As we come out of the pandemic, we often feel we need a ‘treat’ to lift our spirits but we still want to consider our health, so we make choices like smaller portions of chocolates or by having a cauliflower or beetroot pizza base to reduce carbs. It’s definitely an area set to continue expanding through 2022,” she says.
A split has emerged between the consumers who were able to save money during the pandemic and those that struggled financially. For those who padded their savings accounts during lockdown, a trade-up mentality will bolster the indulgence trend. Data from CGA cited by Fentiman’s report said 36% of consumers faced reduced income at the height of the pandemic, while 63% had saved money.
Read about more food and drink trends for 2022 here.