10 trends to shape the future of food

18 February 2022, 07:03 AM
  • Foraged food and new-age terroir are among the topics covered in a new trend report for 2022, which is all about optimism
10 trends to shape the future of food

The food industry has seen radical changes over the past few years, and if Wunderman Thompson’s latest report is anything to go by, there are plenty of exciting innovations on the horizon. In its eighth edition of The Future 100: 2022, the intelligence company singles out 10 interesting trends to shape the direction of the food and drink sector for years to come.

Emma Chiu, global director of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence said the report covers “creative innovations that are set to go mainstream alongside the shift in consumer behaviours. In 2021, cautious optimism set the pace as the world reflected on the challenges of 2020 and looked to a year of societal healing.

“This year ushers in a resolute positivity that encourages playfulness and creativity. This optimistic outlook will take us on a journey into the near future, where a new digital era is on the horizon as the metaverse shifts from a sci-fi concept into reality,” Emma said.

“Lifestyles and businesses will shift to become climate-friendly as being sustainable is no longer enough, while the physical and emotional tax of the last two years is forging a holistic, sensitive, and nuanced approach to wellbeing. Brands and marketers are leading with positivity, eager to provide joy in people’s lives by creating euphoric ads as they too ride the optimistic wave,” she continued.

Here are 10 food and drink trends to know about:

Foraged cocktails
Tapping into the local trend, cocktails using locally foraged ingredients offer consumers a range of sustainable drink options. “Whether rewilded or repurposed, foraged craft cocktails are lifting spirits. Local, self-sustained cuisine is minimising waste and reforming menus as contemporary innovators incorporate local flora into their craft,” the report said.

Liquid immunity
Wellness aficionados are quenching their thirst while supercharging their immune systems. Thanks to Covid-19, the focus on illness prevention is driving growth in the global immunity-boosting food market – the report cites a growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% from 2021 to 2028. Plus, six in 10 global consumers are looking to food and drink to help their immune system, according to Innova’s Consumer Survey 2020. 

The new terroir
“Climate change is forcing farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs to adapt and embrace new crops that would have been impossible for them to grow even 10 years ago,” the report said. “New terroirs could forever change the way we think of the heritage and provenance of food.”

Cell-cultured coffee
“The impetus for an alternative way to make coffee is similar to that for meat and seafood: growing world demand that’s taxing the earth’s productive resources,” the report said. “The global coffee market was worth over $102 billion in 2020, according to Mordor Intelligence. The market—from whole bean and ground and instant coffee to pods and capsules—is marked by fierce competition and innovation.”

Haute veganism
Forget about the ultra-processed meat alternatives – vegan dining is going highbrow, with the evolution of new fine dining experiences driving demand.

Net-zero alcohol
Global distilleries are addressing climate change by going carbon neutral. “Alcoholic brands are reinventing their processes to be more sustainable and less wasteful to combat climate change,” the report said.

Blue Zones diets
Blue Zone diets are modelled after people living in areas like Greece, Japan and Italy who tend to have fewer diseases and longer life expectancies. “Signs collectively point to holistic, integrated wellness habits as the main cause,” the report said. “Research shows that people living here are part of communities that focus on collective care, food in moderation, and sustainable habits.”

Three new ingredients
Wunderman Thompson’s three ingredients to watch include kernza, a climate-friendly grain; Peruvian gooseberry, a native to the Andes with a bittersweet flavour; and tea seed oil, also known as ‘the olive oil of the East’.

Accelerated maturation
“Time-consuming processes such as alcohol maturation and food fermentation are being upended by start-ups with ambitions to economise on time and output, as well as explore new taste frontiers,” the report said.

Edible escapism
“With travel still not possible or appealing for many, people are opting to take their taste buds for a trip, driving a wave of globally inspired eating experiences,” it said. Read more on the trend here.

more like this
close stay up-to-date with our free newsletter | expert intel | tailored industry news | new-to-know trend analysis | sign up | speciality food daily briefing