Global trends and insights in healthy food 2020

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 12 June 2020

In the search to meet the expectations of their consumers, companies annually forecast the trends that will guide purchasing decisions. The impact of COVID-19 on them has been noticeable and, for this reason, the Galician Food Cluster (Clusaga) has analyzed how they have been affected.

According to GlobalData data, sales in 2018 of foods with health benefits reached almost 800 billion euros globally, of which 20% corresponded to functional products. However, with the forecast of major declines in global economies for the coming year and with an eye to health, foods associated with the concept of health will enter to compete for the attention of consumers who are increasingly cautious and demanding.

The impact of COVID-19 on the food trends of the year 2020 has caused the acceleration of many of them. Below are the most relevant and accentuated by the postcovid situation:

  • Foods to strengthen the immune and digestive system: From adaptogenic supplements to yoghurts with bifidus. Ingredients stand out, such as ashwagandha; mushrooms, such as shiitake and turkey tail; preparations like kimchi and sauerkraut; seasonings, such as citron vinegar; and fermented drinks, like kombucha and kefir. What is the consumer looking for with it? Prevent disease through what you eat, benefit from natural anti-inflammatories, relieve stress and reduce anxiety. In 2018, according to GlobalData, global sales of foods focused on the immune system were 3.3 million euros and 58.3 million for digestive health.
  • Make the new more familiar: Prebiotics, probiotics and cannabiodiols as ingredients for general well-being, explaining their origin, process and benefits to the consumer, through a story. The tendency to generate a link, an emotion with the brand, prevails.
  • Balance between well-being and pleasure: It highlights the botanical and herbal concept in cold teas and in carbonated drinks. Also, jasmine, roses, tea, hibiscus, seasonal fruits, espresso, latte and caramel flavors, the reduction or absence of refined sugars. However, soft drinks and snacks may be affected by the primacy of basic goods over premium products during the crisis.
  • Alternatives of natural origin, preferably vegetable: The search for substitutes will continue. The use of pseudocereals and vegetables will prevail for dry products such as flour and pasta; hybrids of plant and animal products in dairy and meat alternatives; algae as snacks, protein sources and raw materials for the elaboration of natural additives in the plant-based products industry; and insects as a source of protein, with the challenge of improving the solubility of the protein, and its sensory acceptance, to integrate it into foods such as potato chips, cookies, breads and sausages.

To carry out a holistic analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on pre-established consumption trends, some of the variables that must be taken into account are: seasonal change, time at home, emotional state during confinement and pocket involvement . To these are added: the age of the consumer, the frequency of the use of technologies, social networks and e-commerce platforms, the demand for transparency and traceability, the eating habits already internalized and the taste and time spent on cooking.

A health crisis like the current one makes consumers more quality conscious, willing to pay more for holy and nutritious food. However, the derived economic situation also influences spending power. Therefore, society will increasingly analyze the cost-benefit ratio in its purchase decision.

In this sense, Clusaga works on the European project Atlantic Area Healthy Food Eco-System (AHFES) , which seeks to improve the competitiveness and growth of SMEs in the value chain of healthy eating and daily life, helping to develop an ecosystem transnational innovation company that helps entities access information, partners and markets and align their products and services to the needs and expectations of the consumer.

This news was published on the Galicia Food Cluster website here.