There’s a difference between a craze, a hype, and a trend. They sound similar to a lot of people, but not to a businessman like you. Among these three, it’s the trends that you can depend on to predict consumer behavior for a period of time. They’re the ones that have surpassed the lifespan and novelty of crazes and hypes to prove that they have impacted consumers on a larger scale. When you know which trends are governing your specific industry, then it’s easier to ride the shifting tastes of your target demographic and guarantee a profit.
This is especially true for the food industry during the pandemic. The global health crisis has highlighted which consumer preferences are just fads and which are here to stay to influence how people will choose and consume food for the foreseeable future. This year’s trends will demand a big shift for select food businesses, but since consumers are boss, there’s no option but to meet these changes head-on.
People Go for Plant-Based
A lot of people haven’t even heard of the term “plant-based” until the 2020 Oscars when it announced its catering choice. Since then, more and more celebrities have spoken up about going on this particular diet or transitioning to veganism or vegetarianism. Even with these influential people sharing their food preferences, however, the differences between these classifications aren’t clear to them. What the general market understands is that fruits and veggies are in, and meat and dairy are close to going out of style. Businessmen are looking for a healthy food franchise and diners are demanding greener and no-fry meals.
Still, if you make people choose between products labeled as vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based, they’ll go for the third one. Why? This confusion has placed plant-based choices as the optimum solution for those who want to reduce their meat and dairy intake without committing to a lifestyle that’s completely free of them.
People Go for Healthy Snacks
For so many years, vegans and vegetarians have had difficulty living the fast life without easy access to healthy snacks. There are Starbucks and McDonald’s at every turn but not real fruits and veggies that they can simply grab and go. The same applies to people who are conscious of their sugar and caloric intake. With more people becoming aware of the chemicals they put into their bodies with the common snacks they see in groceries and convenience stores, there’s a bigger market for healthy on-the-go snacks. Think dried fruits, kale chips, nuts, and celery sticks with vegan cheese dips.
Expect that you’ll see more people reading food labels and inquiring about your suppliers and cooking methods. You’ll already see restaurants using this to their advantage by turning it into their selling point. They’ll have posters or displays proving that they buy from local farmers. Some kitchens even have display glass where customers can see their food being prepared. Creating healthy snacks can be challenging, but there’s a market ready to devour them.
People Go for Sustainable Practices
If there’s one trend that the pandemic helped cement, it’s sustainability. More people are opting out of straws and plastic utensils for their metal or wood alternatives. Companies, too, are vowing to go green and have started to demand the same from their suppliers. If you’re still using any plastic in your packaging, now is the time to look for a sustainable replacement. Consumers today aren’t shy about calling out brands that haven’t hopped onto the green train, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Aside from packaging, there’s a greater demand for accountability when it comes to cut down on waste. This has spurred the regenerative agriculture practices that are driving restaurants to find creative ways to deal with food scraps and leftovers.
People Go for Guilt-Free Confections
It’s not all about the fruits and veggies. People want guilt-free desserts that have lesser sugar, possibly no dairy, and fewer calories. This saw the rise of naked cakes a few years back, and this ongoing trend has only made it more popular. You’ll also notice that fresh fruits have become a go-to topping for their natural sweetness. Japanese desserts like kinako kakigori (shaved ice with kinako topping) and tofu pudding are also attracting attention for their aesthetic appeal and guilt-free indulgence.
Basically, They Want Everything to be Healthy Again
The bottom line is that consumers all over the world are working towards healthier bodies and a healthier environment. It’s no longer acceptable for businesses to opt out of sustainability in the name of cutting costs. Consumers are more likely to support your products if you guarantee your green practices and provide them with hearty food.