Food trends that will become more prevalent in 2018

In this article, we look at the new trends that will become more prevalent in 2018. Indeed, we expect them to impact food consumption not just in Denmark but in the rest of Europe and North America.

Our previous newsletters reported on megatrends set to continue into 2018 and what these will mean for meat consumption/the industry.

• Curiosity and a break with habitual ways of thinking
There is a change in the way we usually think about food. Last year, we reported that more people are becoming 'flexitarians' in that they occasionally choose not to eat meat for dinner. This trend, which is set to continue, is strong because it is rooted in several megatrends, including health, sustainability and food engagement. First and foremost, consumers are considering the need for different types of food, based on the desire for more sustainable consumption. For some consumers, it’s not about avoiding certain types of food. (this can feel like too much of a chore and an excessive intervention into food culture and daily life). Rather, it’s more a question of choosing other types of food that can be tried in new contexts.

• No waste: optimisation, recycling and reuse
Another important factor that will affect consumers’ behaviour in 2018 is the issue of moderation and better use of resources. According to research, 74 per cent of people are concerned about the accumulation of plastic in nature and 64 per cent are concerned about the pollution of the environment and nature. Stronger awareness of sustainable consumption, with no waste or irreparable harm to the planet, not only imposes a range of requirements on production methods, but also on the packaging used in food production. It will also become necessary to take a critical look at portion sizes and the function of packaging. Consumers are demanding smaller packs and more options for individually adapted portions to avoid food waste.

• Consumption with heart: care for nature, animals and people
Consumption with heart: care for nature, animals and people. We have previously written about responsible consumption and there is nothing to indicate that this is on the wane. Consumers are keen to make a difference and are looking for the same attitude and responsibility from producers and the retail sector. In a new survey, 'Good animal welfare' was the top scorer for all animal categories when consumers were asked about what they wanted from future Danish conventional production. The popularity of fair trade, organic and animal welfare labels are key indicators of this trend.

Read also: Danish welfare label

• Authenticity: The real and the near
Consumers are seeking an unambiguous and credible story about a food product’s journey from farm to table. To this end, local and region-specific products can help build confidence. Food must be ’pure’, without additives and e-numbers, and incomprehensible production methods and complex lists of ingredients are to be avoided. Traditions are being revisited and renewed, food like grandma used to make is hitting the spot and techniques such as curing are proving popular with foodies. The simple and pure offer is a worry-free alternative. Natural food produced through understandable processes is seen as better, safer and healthier.

• Balance: A more rounded focus on health
For more and more consumers, health is no longer about counting calories or kilometres on a treadmill. People are now taking a more relaxed attitude to health and, above all, are looking for balance – everything in moderation being the way forward. There should also be scope for quality of life and enjoyment, where food becomes the focal point for a sense of well-being and contentment. At the same time, there is increasing focus on mental well-being where relaxation, de-stressing and proper sleep are just as important as physical maintenance of the body.

• Food as medicine: functional food reaches new heights
Alongside – and in some cases contrary to – the trend towards a more rounded and more balanced approach to health, 2018 will see even greater focus on the importance of food to the health of the body. There has been a lot of hype about various ’superfoods’ and dietary supplements, which is spreading to food in general. As part of this trend, products that are ’rich in’ or ’free from’ undesirable elements are flourishing. For example, more consumers will be eating anti-inflammatory or blood sugar stabilising food or food containing beneficial intestinal bacteria in 2018. The latest insight into healthy bacteria’s beneficial effect on the body will impact consumers’ perception of the healthiness of food and drink.

• More personal, tailor-made food
As the internet offers us more shopping opportunities, we will see consumers demanding a more personal, tailor-made food offering. More and more consumers will define their own ’balance’ and health, which will increase the need for a differentiated product offering that gives consumers the option of putting together their own food and drink. In future, therefore, it will be even more important that food companies offer a range of products whose size and content can be varied. This is where new technology can help to give an insight into consumer preferences.

About the analysis:

The consumer and food trends analysis for 2018 is based on several sources and surveys. Through qualitative and quantitative surveys of the Danish population in 2015-2017, we looked at what attitudes and behaviours are shared by trendsetters. At the same time, our analysis of trends for 2018 is based on insight from GfK ConsumerScan reports that draw their conclusions from data collected from a panel of 3000 representatively selected consumers that regularly report on what they buy. Moreover, we have based our analysis on sources such as Innova Market Insights, Euromonitor International and Mintel which, in their trend reports, keep track on demographic developments, imports and exports and product launches globally and in different regions.