Food for thought for brands
text size

Food for thought for brands

The pandemic has changed the way people consume food and drinks, according to Mintel research

More than 50% of consumers worry that life will not be the same as it was before the pandemic, according to a new Mintel Global Consumer Trends survey. As a result, the way people consume food and drinks is changing dramatically, with implications for the food, drink and food service industries.

Over the past two-plus years, lockdowns, food panic buying and homes becoming offices have affected consumer behaviour in a multitude of ways. One thing we've observed is food becoming more than a source of sustenance, but also a source of reassurance.

Mintel's 2022 Global Consumer Trends study explores these behavioural changes, with insights and recommendations for food, drink and food service brands on how to incorporate the trends into future strategy. Three key trends offer great potential: In Control, Enjoyment Everywhere and Flexible Spaces.

In Control: This explores how consumers are dealing with pandemic-induced feelings of uncertainty and now want to take control in the ways available to them. Brands can empower consumers to do this in their food or drink purchases by offering more transparent detail on their products.

"Today, consumers want more control over their wellbeing," said Heng Hong Tan, food and drink analyst for Asia Pacific at Mintel. "More than half of consumers in the Philippines (61%), Thailand (56%) and Vietnam (64%) say that they check product labels (ingredients, nutrition, etc) when shopping for food or drink.

"Food and drink brands have the complex task of conveying clear and reliable guidance so that a product will meet consumers' health priorities. They can empower consumers to make the right health choice by giving clear on pack detail linked to dietary requirements.

"Consumers will expect more transparency about a brand's climate-friendly and ethical commitments. Brands can win trust with third-party verification or measurements via rating systems which, in turn, can also help consumers make informed choices."

Enjoyment Everywhere: This explores the notion that consumers want to break out of their confines after enduring long periods of lockdown, and have a newfound appreciation for occasions when happiness and fun can be found in everyday items and activities. Food and drink brands are well-positioned to offer experiences that cannot be replicated online.

"Consumers will be open to food, drink and food service that engages more of the senses to trigger emotional connections," said Mr Tan. "Food and drink that captivate the senses can appeal to the unexpected and the intriguing.

"At the same time, the metaverse offers a new arena for brands to engage with consumers. In Singapore, 73% of consumers say that they have played games on a tablet, laptop or desktop, according to Mintel Consumer Data. Brands can join the gaming trend and 'gamify' everyday activities like cooking in the digital realm where consumers can connect or bond with another."

Flexible Spaces: The pandemic left consumers craving human connection, which, at the same time, delivers them the convenience of online shopping. "Flexible Spaces" explores how consumers have been forced to rethink their work and play spaces due to changing consumer lifestyles.

Blending the best of physical and online spaces will be key in creating spaces for brands to interact with consumers going forward. In Indonesia, 82% of consumers are buying food in person in a store.

"We will see retailers redefining their approaches to space and selling to accommodate a more diverse consumer base, facilitate deeper consumer-to-brand connections and unite those that share common passions in both physical and online environments," said Mr Tan. "As technology becomes more advanced, these blended worlds will coexist more seamlessly."

Do you like the content of this article?