Whether they’re creepy, ugly or sweet-as-pie, tapping into the latest food trends can generate massive sales for marketers. For food brands looking to build stronger engagement and loyalty among customers, these trends can unlock opportunities for your innovation pipeline, more relevant communications and marketing programs, and ultimately, fuller shopping baskets.
Here is our take on some of the larger food trends currently generating buzz and our insights into how brands can capitalise on them
1. HEALTHY PROMISES
Superfoods, clean eating and soup cleanses are still amongst this year’s biggest trends. But what’s so new about healthy eating? Well, consumers are taking note of what’s in their food more than ever before. Major health activists like Jamie Oliver and Pete Evans are rallying people to simplify their meals. Sugar is in the spotlight and continues to be on the agenda of health professionals and government regulators. People want nutritional good news stories, and this presents a great opportunity for brands to promote the positive attributes of their product offering.
What it means for brands. More than ever, nutrition information that’s easy to understand should be an important part of a brand’s communication strategy. Brands should consider how the nutritional nuances of their products can be communicated in a way that will engage customers and help them make more informed choices. Education about portion size and responsible consumption is also a smart way to help people better understand what they’re buying and eating.
2. THE FLIP SIDE TO FOODIES
Foodies and their social media counterparts, Instafoodies, are dominating popular culture, and they’re here to stay. A recent survey found that almost half of respondents identified with the term ‘foodie’ and a whopping 52% of 21-32 year olds would prefer to go to a food festival than a music festival. But what about the anti-foodie? The people who don’t know how to boil an egg or cook a bowl of rice. The anti-foodie represents a significant untapped market, and brands have a unique opportunity to capture their loyalty through simple and educational food marketing.
What it means for brands. While it’s easy to get swept up in the world of the foodie, brands shouldn’t forget about the other half. Consider how to make the basics of cooking interesting and relatable. Your customers might not want to be MasterChefs, but they might be interested in skipping takeaway for a night to test a brand’s simple ‘how to’ video. These people still want food inspo! Simple doesn’t mean boring, and still has to be beautiful.
3. IS A GREAT BRAND STORY ENOUGH?
More than ever, people are seeking an emotional connection with the products they buy. Whether it’s where the product was sourced or the story behind the people who made it, consumers want to care about the food choices they’re making. But it’s a cluttered space. From boutique brands to supermarket fruit and veg, everyone’s trying to win the hearts and minds of their customers with a great brand story.
What it means for brands. This cluttered storytelling space is creating discerning consumers, so an authentic brand story is vital to the success of your communications and content strategy. Listen to your consumers, interrogate the brand history, and look for the unique and interesting things about your product. Consider where or how it is made, and what its interesting ingredients or manufacturing processes are. This will help you to create a unique brand story that stands out from the crowd. Brands should also identify someone to tell that story, and carefully consider how they build on and integrate with the characteristics of the brand.
4. DECADENT DELICIOUSNESS.
Flipping the healthy eating trend on its head, a growing number of brands are serving up indulgent foods with new twists on old favourites, pop-up stores or creative flavour combinations. And consumers love it. Memes about sacrificing diets and photos of overindulgent foods are provoking engagement with a broader online community, beyond just the Instafoodies. This trend is about food in all its richness, flavour and complexity. This is not just a marketing opportunity for brands, but also for new product development.
What it means for brands. Decadent foods play neatly into the hands of foodies, online and offline. Creating photo-worthy situations with product in hand is a good first start. Brands should consider indulgent food pairings, product personalisation and creative recipes to really tap into this trend. But don’t forget that while indulgent foods are causing a stir, healthy eating is still dominating this year’s food trends.
Interested in talking about how your brand can take advantage of this year’s biggest food trends? Email me on Fergus@forward.agency.com.au