The ‘Health is Wealth’ trend is set to rise in 2022 and consumers are projected to want more healthy options when dining out this year.
BUPA noted an 83% increase in Google searches for ‘gut health’ and a 60% increase in searches for ‘gut brain axis’ (the connection between mental health and digestive health). As diet is one of the biggest influences on gut health, research has highlighted the benefit of a varied diet that includes non-processed food, fruits, and vegetables. This, along with the boom in demand for plant-based products, highlights increased consumer interest in healthy and sustainable options. In fact, in the wake of Covid, many consumers are now seeking out functional foods and drinks to help boost their immunity, reduce stress and aide their sleep.
Co-founder and CEO of ShelfNow, an online platform for producers and buyers, Philip Linardos notes that “the shift to more health conscious food and drink purchases has never been more apparent.” This health consciousness is also expected to impact alcoholic beverages after a University of Cambridge study found that 36% of adults increased their alcohol consumption during the first lockdown. With a 127% increase in searches for ‘mindful drinking,’ research suggests that people are also more aware of their drinking habits and are now consciously looking for ways to reduce their consumption and have a healthier relationship with alcohol.
Foodservice providers BidFood have similarly named ‘Health is Wealth’ as a trend to look out for in the coming year as their research found that 8 out of 10 people are now consciously looking for healthier options. As these consumers are willing to pay more for healthier dishes, BidFood argue that appealing to health-conscious customers is “crucial.” However, ‘healthy’ can be hard to define, as what is healthy for one person, may not be healthy for another. BidFood have therefore recognised three sub-trends (calorie consciousness, drinking healthily and healthy kicks) as key ways that consumers are making healthier choices and that businesses can engage with this trend. They advise that businesses:
- Leave room for indulgence and avoid changing the entire menu to be health focussed
- Focus on pre-existing dishes that are already healthier and advertise those to the max
- Trial lighter options if not already on the menu
- Add popular functional ingredients to dishes (i.e., superfoods, supplements etc.)
- Pair healthier dishes with healthy drinks and/or sides.
Another projected popular trend for 2022 is sustainability, with an estimated 3 in 4 people now actively trying to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Research suggests that as a result of ‘The Greta Effect,’ consumers are even more aware of their carbon footprint, and this is reflected in their eating and drinking choices. As such, flexitarianism (semi-vegetarian diet) and climatarianism, which focuses on sustainable food choices such as cutting down on meat consumption and shopping seasonally, are increasing in popularity. There is increasing demand for more ethical and eco-friendly options and businesses can adapt to this by:
- Streamlining menus to reduce food waste
- Talking about sustainable choices that they are making/have made to the consumer
- Reducing their use of plastic and educating customers on how to sustainably dispose of any plastic packaging
- Providing sustainable packaging
- Offering meat-free options
- Using seasonal ingredients.
You can find out more about projected food and drink trends for 2022 here: Food and Drink Trends 2022 | Bidfood
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