Health, sustainability and indulgence: breaking down the trends to watch

11 February 2022, 07:53 AM
  • With customer attitudes changing almost daily, Will Cowling, marketing manager at FMCG Gurus, says it’s crucial that retailers be as responsive as possible to their evolving needs
Health, sustainability and indulgence: breaking down the trends to watch

FMCG Gurus has launched its Top Ten Trends for 2022 for industry players across the food, drink, and supplement industry, forecasting what the major attitudes and behavioural traits governing choice of product and brand will be. Unsurprisingly, health continues to dominate consumer trends, especially with proactive and preventative approaches to wellbeing being taken as people look to minimise the risk of being ill or suffering serious health problems. 

In addition, risk aversion will also be an influential factor over the next 12 months and beyond, as people continue to question aspects of their lives that they previously took for granted and struggle to adjust to what appears to be now an endemic. Linked to this, sustainability will also be at the forefront of people’s thoughts, especially as they question the link with health. Despite worries and cautiousness, consumers will continue to seek out indulgent and experimental products, both for reward and escapism purposes to deal with everyday stresses.

1. Destination health

Consumers are taking a holistic approach to health and are actively looking to improve their mental and physical wellbeing, seeking out products and ingredients with active claims. One integral part of this trend is that people are recognising the importance of emotional wellbeing and happiness, and they are looking to improve this – especially as it is something that has been heavily impacted over the last 18 months. 

2. Every day starts now

People will take a long-term approach to health maintenance as they look to stay fit and active until as late in life as possible. At the same time, they will recognise current diets and lifestyles are not as healthy as they should be. Consumers will actively research health issues and ingredients, meaning brands need to ensure nutritional information is communicated as simply as possible, whilst offering guidance to ensure people are not misdiagnosing themselves. 

3. Prevention over cure

Health goals are shifting towards a focus on disease management and proactive approaches to wellbeing, meaning there is an interest in functional products that address health problems even if people are not suffering from specific symptoms. Central to this, people are becoming more aware of the role that digestive health plays on overall health, and this will become more noticeable as awareness of the microbiome grows. 

4. Technovate me

Like many areas of life, consumers will turn to technology for new and innovative solutions to address health problems – creating new and exciting opportunities from a personalisation and customisation perspective. 

5. Path to net zero

In recent years, concerns towards the environment have intensified, with many feeling that the state of the planet is at a tipping point. This is a trend that will continue in 2022 and play a significant role on purchasing habits. This trend explores consumer concern towards carbon emission and levels of expectation they have in terms of brands addressing this issue, as well as addressing the issue of food waste, looking at how consumers are making active attempts to reverse rising landfills, the amount of discontent they have towards unnecessary waste at the industry level, and opportunities that exist around upcycled ingredients. 

6. Plant for the planet

There is continued growth of alternative dietary plans based around the avoidance and moderation of animal produce, and the desire for products that are deemed green and clean, with streamlined ingredient lists and free-from claims a must for many. Ultimately, brands will have to be seen to be taking a more proactive approach to protecting the planet and highlighting sustainability initiatives along the whole of the supply chain. 

7. Peace of mind

People will be looking to eliminate stress from their lifestyles and placing greater emphasis on trust and security. Consumers want to know the story behind the products that they purchase. Linked to this, there is also demand for shortened supply chains and locally produced products. Increased levels of anxiety and poor sleep health also means that consumers are stepping back from daily pressures and re-prioritising what is important to them, meaning there will be more focus on maximising personal relationships. 

8. Reality resumes

Consumers will face challenges as they look to adopt to what they deem a normal sense of life. For example, time-scarcity is something that will continue to be an issue, and something that governs dietary habits. As will financial uncertainty in a tough economic climate and the desire for comfort products that offer moments of escapism. One of the key implications to this is that barriers to healthy living with continue to exist, even in a time of heightened concern over wellbeing. 

9. Conscious indulgence

Despite the doom and gloom, taste and enjoyment will continue to be the main reasons why people turn to food and drink, and there will be demand for products that offer moments of indulgence and a genuine experience. Conscious indulgence is a trend that looks at how people like to enjoy moments of hedonism and want a genuine experience from the products that they purchase. It also explores how people are adopting a debit-and-credit approach to wellbeing. Indeed, whilst consumers want to improve their eating and drinking habits, they want to avoid feelings of compromise and sacrifice. As a result, they will look to lead a healthy diet most of the time, to justify the occasional moments of indulgence. People will also look to adjust snacking habits so that treating occasions do not conflict with wider health goals, driving demand for products deemed guilt-free. 

10. Dare to change

Consumers are seeking out experimental flavours that challenge their sensory perceptions, often as a form of self-expression. Consumers will seek out premium and indulgent flavours, wanting new and innovative flavours. Story-telling and authenticity plays a key role in this trend, with consumers wanting to know the heritage and history behind products, partly as a sign that maximum care and attention has gone into the formulation of the project and partly because it adds to the overall experience.

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