17 Feb 2012

Great food insights from JWT Intelligence

Fantastic piece of work from JWT Intelligence delving into current food trends. Indispensible if you work for a food brand. Get your copy by signing up here.

11 Key trends highlighted:

1. Foodie Culture - Yesterday’s gourmand has multiplied into factions of foodies all with various passions centered around cooking, dining out and eating,eating, eating. A foodie backlash may be under way, but food remains more photographed, analyzed, critiqued and generally obsessed over than it’s ever been.

2. Food as the new Eco-issue - The environmental impact of our food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—drive awareness around the issue and rethink what kind of food is sold and how it’s made. As more regions grapple with food shortages and/or spiking costs, smarter practices around food will join the stable of green “best practices.”

3. The Devil Wears Packaging - As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew. The ultimate goal is “cradle-to-cradle” packaging—sustainable from creation to disposal.

4. Health and Wellness - Awareness of good nutritional habits has been steadily rising,even as obesity becomes a more pressing issue—in turn driving governments and health advocates to further push both consumers and brands to adopt healthier ways.

5. Maximum Disclosure - Competitive pressures and legal requirements are forcing manufacturers and retailers to take transparency to the max,disclosing more about nutritional data, green credentials, sourcing,social responsibility issues (Fair Trade, etc.) and the people and processes behind the brand.

6. Live a Little - Faced with constant reminders about what to do (exercise more,eat better) and what not to do (overspend, overeat), and fatigued from several years of austerity, consumers will look for ways to live a little without giving up a lot. People have been exercising more self-control, and increasingly they’re looking to let loose once in a while: indulging in sinful things, splurging on treats and at least momentarily escaping from today’s many worries.

7. Navigating the New Normal - As the new normal becomes a prolonged normal in the hampered developed world, more brands will open up entry points for extremely cost-sensitive consumers. Marketers will find new opportunities in creating stripped-down offerings, smaller sizes and otherwise more accessible products and services.

8. Getting Smarter - From phones to fridges, devices are getting “smart,” connecting the real world to the digital world and influencing how we find, eat and make food. More broadly, each step of the way—from shopping to finding recipes and cooking to dining out—is getting “smarter” for those armed with the latest digital tools.

9. All the World's a Game - Increasingly, brands are applying game mechanics (leader boards,leveling, stored value, privileges, superpowers, status indicators,etc.) to non-gaming spaces in an attempt to drive certain actions or behaviors. This is more than brand-sponsored games—consumers are engaging in brand communities, content or campaigns through incentives and rewards modeled on behavioral economics. In food,gamification can help to motivate not only good eating habits (e.g.,Foodzy) but also customer creativity and engagement.

10. Screened Interactions - More flat surfaces are becoming screens, and more screens are becoming interactive. Increasingly we’ll be touching them,gesturing at them and talking to them. This is opening up novel opportunities to inform, engage and motivate consumers, whether through screens at restaurants, on vending machines and kiosks, or via out-of-home ads.

11. Retail as the Third Space - Retail spaces are increasingly serving as a “third space” that’s only partly about consumption. Supermarkets and other foodcentric outlets are becoming as much about experiences,unique environments and customer service as they are about simply buying goods.