So Trends – What’s the Point?
At Hornall Anderson we’re nosy, we like to have our fingers on the pulse and we like to know what’s going on in the world. We delve deep into the trends which are likely to influence businesses over the next few years. So how can we spot the next big thing?... At the Future Laboratory in Shoreditch, a team of global snoopers are uncovering what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food and drink and are putting under the microscope brands, movements and influencers which they believe will shape the future.
You may ask: ‘Is this information really going help my business?’ Look at some cautionary tales from those who thought some trends would be here one moment and gone the next, but who now understand their impact. Did the people at Kodak think: ‘Digital photography? It’ll never take off.’ Or look at the recent collapse of BHS, where it tried to be all things to all people but actually appealed to no one.
So on an unseasonably hot autumn day, we headed down to the Future Laboratory to hear one of the world’s most renowned and respected future consultancies, LSN, a vision of the Future Laboratory, give us an update on what is going to influence trends in food and drink over the next three years and believe me, it was fascinating.
Healthy eating is here to stay
It’s no great surprise to hear that people are tired of being told what to do by ‘experts’. We are warned to cut out fat, told to forget about gluten and cautioned that sugar is the new crack. But consumers still want to know exactly what they are eating and drinking. They want to understand the effect their consumption has on the world, their minds and bodies. Deny them at your peril, advises Steve Tooze, Foresight Editor at The Future Laboratory. In this time of 24/7 information overload there has never been a more apt time to say: ‘Power to the people.’
We are seeing a much greater convergence in the world of food and drink with the adjacent worlds of health and beauty, technology and well-being, which is helping to drive innovation. There is a march towards fresher foods, with nine in ten of us thinking it is healthier and 80 per cent believing it tastes better, according to research and consulting firm Technomic.
This requirement for healthy food options is being driven, not only by the millennial generation, but by the next generation snapping at their heels: Generation Z, the first generation weaned on the mobile phone. These kids are no fools: 45 per cent want to consume products with all natural ingredients and 67 per cent believe healthy eating is trendy. The claims on pack they want to see back this up: natural, low calorie, organic and vitamin enhanced are the main marketing messages they are looking for. And a huge 49 per cent believe health claims and being good for you are a reason to buy.
This is bad news for the drinks industry, which for the first time has posted negative figures. And there is more gloomy news to follow. One fifth of the UK’s 16-24 year olds now claim to be teetotal, while 66 per cent think alcohol is not important and 75 per cent try to drink less deliberately. So for anyone that may think trends aren’t important, I hope you’ll see why we all need to get involved. It is this information which will lead to innovation in the future. Trailblazers such as Seedlip are leading the way, with backing from Diageo, to develop a non-alcoholic spirit brand, but there is room for many more and masses of opportunity for challengers to own this space.
Healthy has become the new normal, with the stereotypical view of healthy eaters as hemp clothed hippies consigned to the past. We want to support food brands which help us be healthier and this trend is here to stay. Most of us will admit to a flexitarian lifestyle, while vegetarians have increased by 60 per cent from 2011-2015. And as meat grown in a lab looks set to be available in three years’ time, this can only be good for the planet and all of us animal lovers.
Busy lifestyles driving change
Another major trend which is shaping the way we live our lives, is the moving away from the old fashioned idea of three meals a day at set times. Our busy lifestyles have made eating more impulsive and spontaneous. We simply don’t have the time to eat around set meal times and this is driving massive expansion in the on the go and snacking sectors. However, we need to be careful in the UK as this trend means we are consuming 50 per cent more calories than we think we are. Our demands for convenience are set to grow and for the first time restaurant sales are outgrowing grocery shopping. With delivery only restaurant concepts popping up stateside, it can only be a matter of time before we can order healthy gastronomic meals packed full of flavour and delivered by Uber or even a fleet of robots currently being trialled in London.
It is now much easier to be a connoisseur than it used to be. A lot of that experimentation starts outside the home in food services, and then people look for ways to bring those experiences inside the home. Millennials want to learn about what they consume and they demand sustainability. Brands like McDonalds and Burger King are banning antibiotics from being used on their chickens and Kraft is removing nasties from its family favourite Mac & Cheese (without the permission of a focus group and guess what - no one noticed). There is a sea change taking place in the way the big brands do business. Giving back to both the environment and working closely with local suppliers is a key to long term growth and to connecting with a demanding audience. It is essential for brands to replenish the resources they consume and great packaging design can really help to convey the message to the consumer.
Now more than ever, brands need to find new ways to reach out to consumers bored silly with marketing jargon. No better example of this exists than the recent Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS) which took over Clapham Tube Station, replacing traditional advertising with pictures of cats in a bid to provide a peaceful space for travellers, free of adverts.
And that’s why trends are important. It has never been more vital to know what’s ahead so you can innovate, connect with your audience and grow your business opportunities.
For more details on trends and insights please contact Nicola Thomson 0113 3944340