We are just coming through a series of crises, while being unsure about what the future has in store. At times like these, people tend to want security and value things they can rely on and control – which often means what they eat. After all, food is an area where consumers can make choices that affect the climate, their carbon footprint, animal welfare and last but not least, their own health. Many people feel that by taking an active role when it comes to food, they can make changes, do good and have an impact in these areas. It gives them a sense of agency at a time of uncertainty. People are likely to stay highly interested in food throughout 2023, according to the latest Trend Report on Nutrition. The report gives us an update on the latest scientific and nutritional developments, according to the German Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) and the NUTRITION HUB.
People have developed a real interest in food over the past few years but one of the most striking developments is the growing gap between rich and poor due to inflation. People with lower incomes are less picky when they shop, making their decisions mainly according to price. At the same time, however, our diet is generally much healthier and more sustainable than in the past. The food industry is reacting to this trend by offering a greater variety of organic, vegan and vegetarian products and more sustainable, regional and healthy goods. All in all, our society is eating food that is more sustainable and climate-friendly than ever before. There’s more good news. We are also healthier when it comes to drinking. In the past, “zero alcohol” was seen as less appealing but it has now hit the mainstream, a development that brings us alcohol-free wines and beers. The trend looks set to gain further momentum among generations Y and Z.
Older people are also becoming more aware of how much nutrition matters and value online nutritional counseling and therapy that can be accessed anywhere at any time. Consuming snackable content, as it is known, puts seniors bang in the trendsetter category as apps, big data and digital communication all play a growing role in nutrition therapy.
Flexibility and speed are increasingly important due to our changing lifestyles. We may be working from home and unable to pop to the canteen so turn to fast food – but not necessarily unhealthy food. Fast food is swiftly becoming a bad word and instead we tend to choose convenience meals and healthy food to take away, with bowls, salads, soups and sliced fruit available everywhere from supermarkets to gas stations. Thanks to this growing range of options, we are less tempted to reach for junk food.
With people having such different lifestyles and activity levels, no single form of nutrition is optimal for everyone. More and more functional foods are coming onto the market in combination with digital offerings. Increasingly, apps provide suggestions about food or dietary supplements to suit individuals and their own particular needs.
Health and sustainability are becoming ever more important but at the same time, conditions are changing and it has become harder to make food. Many people have become more anxious and frugal, gaining a sense of security by stocking up on staple foods. At times people built up stores of flour, rice and noodles at home, particularly when the war first broke out. Shoppers are paying more attention to goods that are on special offer or cost less. People worry about supply chains more. One positive effect of higher food prices is that more people are cooking at home and the number of searches for recipes online is growing. People are cooking batches of food in advance, using home-grown vegetables and looking for ways to avoid waste.
Large companies like DMK are monitoring these social changes and nutritional developments and adapting their products accordingly. All of these food trends were on view at international trade fairs this year from the Internorga food fair in Hamburg to the Gulfood in Dubai. DMK also presented a series of new products and was able to see firsthand how visitors liked them.