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‘Reducatarianism,’ women-focused foods among emerging trends for 2023: Report

The pandemic has radically accelerated the pace of change in the food industry. ‘We’re now about to jump a decade forward,’ says Nourish president Jo-Ann McArthur
nourish food report

Nourish Food Marketing’s seventh annual Trend Report found key opportunities are going unaddressed in the food space, with the pandemic having accelerated the pace of change dramatically – and likely permanently.

“We’re now about to jump a decade forward on these issues,” says Nourish president Jo-Ann McArthur. “Instead of a gradual trajectory, we will see trends leaping into the future. You might say we’re on the launching pad.”

This year’s Nourish Marketing Trend Report identified seven emerging trends in the food and beverage space for 2023. Here are some of the report’s key observations (the complete report can be downloaded here).

The rise of “reducatarianism” 

While the growth of plant-based meats saw many people swapping out animal proteins for their plant-based equivalent, consumers are increasingly seeking out a diet that is a blend of the two, Nourish said.

“It doesn’t have to be either/or, it can be an ‘and’,” McArthur says. While consumers are increasingly becoming less carnivorous, they are also increasingly unwilling to compromise on taste.

At the same time, there is also growing consumer awareness of just how “ultra-processed” some plant-based foods actually are. A plant-based liquid egg, for example, contains 11 ingredients, compared to just one ingredient of a chicken egg.

“Processed food is processed food, no matter what the protein is,” McArthur says. “Consumers will embrace whole foods again, as they want cleaner and simpler ingredient decks. The novelty of faux meats spurred trial, but now that honeymoon period is over.”

Catering to women

Reflecting the broad-based trend towards personalization, women-focused food is a missed opportunity that can no longer be ignored, Nourish said. With consumers continuing to take control of their health and well-being, food is often regarded as the first and easiest line of defence.

While last year’s report identified boomers as a key demographic with huge spending clout, McArthur says women are being almost entirely overlooked by food manufacturers. “Women are not just smaller men,” says McArthur.

Companies that are able to provide a “cradle-to-grave” solution for women’s needs – from hormonal differences to pregnancy, menstruation and menopause – have a huge opportunity to thrive, Nourish found, noting that outside of PMS-focused teas, there are relatively few products on the market addressing biology driven food cravings.

There are some, however. The Toronto-based Lactation Cookie Company, for example, produces snacks designed to support the breastmilk supply for lactating parents, while the U.K.’s Moodygirl Chocoloate – which McArthur describes as “a brand that truly gets it” – boasts a product specifically formulated to people dealing with PMS.

McArthur says it’s important for brands operating in this space to plainly state what their product does, rather than couch it in euphemisms. “Taboos and whispering are for our grandparents’ generation,” she says. 

Food without borders

The rise of social media means that food trends can now quickly travel around the world, Nourish said. There is also a continued merging of international food ingredients and preparation methods, allowing consumers to broaden their tastes.

In the past, innovation in food used to begin in fine dining before making its way to QSRs and finally to retail. Today it is following a new path, McArthur says, pointing to the rise of the whipped Dalgona coffee trend on TikTok before being adopted by chains like Starbucks and then making its way to retail in the form of a Dalgona coffee cake sold by Loblaw’s private label brand, President’s Choice.

At the same time, social channels are allowing recipes to spread at a pace never seen before. A recent social media network called Flavrs, which launched in beta in September with backing from celebrity chefs Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio, bridges the gap between browsing for recipes and cooking them with an integrated feature that enables people to shop for ingredients on Instacart.

The local solution

The local food movement has been growing in importance for several years, with consumers associating “local” with both quality and community support. It’s also grown in stature after the past year underscored the fragility of global supply chains.

“The new ‘glocal’ shifts away from global food sourcing towards bolstered domestic supply chains to preserve food sovereignty,” McArthur says, adding that it will take “outside-the-box” thinking to address the food security crisis.


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