Following on from our Food Trends article, in which we covered ethical consumers steering trends, here we talk about what shoppers are actively seeking out. For food brands staying ahead of the curve, we take a look at what’s whetting their appetite.

Balanced health

The beginning of the year saw a concerning trend for many – the rise of the obese child. Naturally PR opportunities were seized (including the worrying offer from Weight Watchers to give teenagers free access to their programmes), and the UK government further justified their push for a reduction by 20% of calories in popular foods by 2024.

The purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon shows corporate giants know what the consumers are asking for: increasingly nourishing, healthy and whole foods. Unilever have also cottoned on pretty quick with their purchase of Pukka Herbs – they know consumers are heading towards a balanced and healthy approach to wellbeing.

Traceable provenance

The best-selling cookery books on Amazon are, as always, weight-loss related. However, the trend is taking a turn towards simple foods, whole foods and easy-to-put together foods. The no-sugar trend asks us to look for the hidden ingredients in processed foods, or, even better, avoid them completely.

Consumers are suspicious of dodgy provenance and are becoming super savvy when it comes to traceability. Since the mad cow and horse meat debacles, we’ve been cautious and social media makes it all too easy to fan flames of a rumour. Even McDonalds know to talk about the journey of their foods.

Ethical value

Retail sales for Fairtrade grew by 7% in 2017

While the average consumer wants to eat well, they also want to eat good. The Blue Planet 2 plastic ocean shocker has moved people to make a difference where they can. Packaging and environmental impact is a huge consideration now and major retailers know it. Meat-free and plant-based is on the rise not just due to cruelty beliefs, but also because of the impact on the environment.

Functional Snacking

The snack situation follows suit. Food on-the-go has to be healthy and conscious and increasingly plant-based and functional. Protein-packed snacks have been appearing at POS: the Graze boxes, Nakd bars, Eat Natural snacks – all boasting a boost of energy to build muscle and contributing to a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the high end snacking has left the vegetable crisp behind and taken things a step further. Pea crisps in Aldi and Seaweed Thins at Sainsbury’s, not to mention our personal fave, Innate Butternut Squares.

Far flung flavours

Well, it’s far flung and it’s local too actually… Street food’s set to continue its rise in popularity – tasting global wares at home. Consumers are enjoying the rest of the world at home too; where once the family favourite was lasagne and chips, families are now no stranger to knocking up a Thai curry or a building a burrito.

Craft beer and microbreweries are continuing to cause a stir and flavours are becoming more adventurous. Shoppers are throwing cases of Punk IPA or Whitstable Bay in their trolley and enjoying something a bit closer to home in their brews. Flavour-wise they’re becoming more high-brow and trying out new and interesting combinations. With the rise in healthy eating, palettes are becoming more accustomed to a less salty, more earthy and ‘real’ taste.

So what’s tickling your tastebuds? Have you noticed changes in the way people are consuming your products? Get involved in the chat over here @giantpeach #peacheats