Situations over time, changes in our world or events beyond our control influence consumer habits; and food is no exception. As we will see in the new food trends launched by Kantar, consumers have been incorporating new foods into their daily routine. This is brought about by different consumer concerns over time.
What will you find in this study?
Kantar has launched a study “Finding the Future Series of Food: Global Report”, which collects the new consumer trends for the rest of the year. Throughout the study, consumers’ emphasis on health, culinary experience, environment and convenience is mentioned. In addition to gut health and wellness dominating with a growing interest in fermented foods and probiotics.
Tensions over rising food prices due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine continue unabated, while curiosity about CBD products and anti-inflammatory diets continues to grow. In terms of sustainability, regenerative agriculture and food waste management are prioritized.
In addition, Spaniards are exploring global cuisine with an emphasis on Korean, Italian and Chinese, but interest in the Mediterranean diet, recognized by UNESCO, is growing for its healthiness, environmental friendliness and cultural tradition.
What are the new food trends for this year?
Thanks to this study, retailers will be able to get a general idea of consumers’ new habits:
1. Focus on mental health
There is a growing concern for the proper functioning of cognitive abilities, with special emphasis on stress management. Consumers have clear needs focusing on specific cognitive functions such as memory, concentration and mental stamina.
Within this context, ashwagandha and lion’s mane are experiencing rapid growth and generating interest in supplements, teas and recipes. Cordyceps, an energy-boosting vitamin, is also gaining popularity in the supplement and coffee sector.
In addition, there is a niche of consumers actively seeking ways to integrate the MIND diet into their lives, indicating a potential space to watch closely. This diet is a combination of two popular diets: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension). It was specifically designed to promote brain health and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
2. Plant-derived protein
Protein is a widespread macro-ingredient and consistently praised for its benefits. In fact, there are more than 29 million monthly searches worldwide related to this topic.
Interest in diets is driving the trend to diversify protein sources, especially those of plant origin. In addition, interest in sustainability is driving the movement toward plant-based products.
Some of the foods most in demand for increased protein in consumers’ routines are chickpea, fava bean and mung bean.
In terms of searches, plant-based protein queries focus on their nutritional value, while plant-based meat searches focus on ingredients and healthfulness. Related to this are the increasingly abundant online searches for terms such as “peas,” “beans,” “mung beans,” “mycelium” and “seitan.
Some innovative brands that are addressing this trend include:
Forest Feast, which offers vegan, gluten-free and low-sugar chocolate.
Issei Mochi gummies, which are gelatin-free, low-sugar, gluten-free and soy-free.
These options allow consumers to enjoy indulgent foods without remorse.
3. Improving quality of life by improving gut health
Gut health is on the rise and more and more consumers understand the influence of the foods they eat on their bodies, such as bloating, gas or irritation.
Interest in digestive health products continues to rise, with more than 40 million searches related to this topic. “gut health” (+85%) and “probiotics” (+17%) top the list, followed by kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha.
Innovative brands are already responding to this trend, such as:
Olipop, which offers a sparkling tonic with plant fiber and prebiotics.
Fermenti also stands out by offering traditional cookies made from fermented fruits and nuts.
These brands are leading innovation in the field of gut health, offering effective and targeted products for specific needs, while providing new and exciting experiences for consumers.
4. The great sugar debate
The debate over sugar consumption continues, with monk fruit entering the discussion as a possible healthy alternative. Consumers are interested in healthier options such as monk fruit and psychose, but there is still tension between taste and health. Global searches for sugar substitutes exceed 16 million per month, and searches for psychose are up 112%.
Brands are responding to this trend, such as:
cookie with less sugar and fat, and more protein and fiber.
Chocolate with half the sugar of the most widely consumed globally.
5. Precision nutrition
Precision nutrition is booming, with an increase in searches for “dietary supplement” (+22%) and “anti-inflammatory” (+18%). Consumers are looking for foods and supplements that meet their specific needs, backed by easily accessible data.
In addition, interest in micronutrients and specialized nutritionists is growing. Among disruptive ingredients, Tremella mushroom stands out, with a 41% increase in searches, followed by micronutrients (+16%), food fortification (+9%) and medical nutritional therapy (+8%).
In short, consumers are looking for foods or supplements to meet their specific needs.
6. Marine plants become superfoods
Marine plants, especially algae, are becoming popular superfoods due to their high nutritional value. The growing interest is reflected in the overall increase in monthly searches (7.5m+) and growth in related topics, such as seaweed (+10%) and Spirulina (+5%).
Consumers consider them powerful detoxifiers and are incorporating them in a variety of ways into their diets, from recipes to smoothies. While spirulina and kelp are prominent in supplements, there is growing interest in seaweed such as Hijiki and edible seaweed in salads and garnishes. Companies are responding to this demand with innovations in these nutritionally dense, multifunctional products.
7. “Ancestral” ingredients
In response to global instability, consumers are seeking balance and wellness in ancient, time-tested ingredients. With more than 6.5 million monthly searches globally, ingredients such as maca (+8%) and mate (+6%) are gaining popularity. Other booming ingredients include quelite, sacha inchi and lucuma.
Consumers appreciate these ingredients for their preventive and therapeutic benefits, supporting the belief that food is medicine.
8. Spicy flavors
The popularity of spicy food continues to rise, with consumers appreciating its depth and balance. Data shows a growing interest in Korean cuisine (+44%), chili (+8%) and Thai cuisine (+4%).
There is also an increase in interest in Hawaiian, Indonesian, Nigerian and fusion food. Foods such as Mexican mangonada and salsa macha stand out for their combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavors.
As cuisines blend, ‘sweet-spicy’ dishes emerge such as salmon cooked with Air Fryer and gochujang sauce, which is “sweet and spicy at the same time,” according to testimonials compiled by Kantar. Consumers are looking for an exotic and new taste experience that combines spicy, salty and sweet.
9. Steam cooking
The trend for healthy home cooking is on the rise. Innovative cooking devices, such as air fryers (+68%), cooking robots… are gaining in popularity, and interest in them shows no signs of waning.
Consumers are looking for meal kits that allow them to experiment and demonstrate their culinary skills. Companies are responding to this demand by offering affordable, ready-to-eat meal kits programmed to cook to perfection with smart features.
Sustainability is evolving from generic concepts to specific topics, with consumers increasingly focused on long-range issues. Interest has grown in issues such as PFAs (+96%), fair trade and sustainable agriculture.
Consumers are looking for transparency beyond labels and show interest in sustainable agriculture (+85%) and soil health (+25%). In addition, there is an effort to reduce food waste, such as home composting. By supporting impactful initiatives, consumers want to protect themselves and the environment.
Brands such as Kissd and Brownes are already innovating to address this trend, with sustainable products and packaging:
Sustainable flavored waters, containers made from 88% vegetable-based packaging.
Products made from 100% recycled plastic.
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