Food trends now and in the near future

We closely map trends and develop solutions, ingredients and products that meet demands faced by the modern food industry. As an innovation leader, we provide market insights as well as innovative research and development to ensure future success and best business opportunities for our customers.

We can proudly say that our nutritional innovations provide solutions for global health trends. Through clever thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, we turn milk and our know-how into great tasting, sustainably produced food and drink solutions.

Regaining trust

Humans have a desire for belonging, but how we belong is changing. The world is becoming more complex, leading consumers to re-evaluate where they put their trust. Consumers rather trust recommendations of their peers, social media and other unpaid, unbiased sources. Younger people especially look for products and producers that are genuine, honest and transparent in all actions. But what does this mean for the industry?

Consumers are interested in locality and food provenance: food with a background. Food stories and experiences are shared and evaluated digitally. This is a true test to transparency, and a very important building block of trust. If your story isn’t trustworthy, someone in the digital world will notice.

Experiences over everything

Things that make life more enjoyable capture people’s scarcest resource – their attention. Food has always revolved around experiences, whether it is socializing around the dinner table, experimenting with cooking or escaping daily routines. As cooking and snacking become more convenient, the experience around them will become more important.

It’s not only the weekends and dinnertimes we focus on, it’s the enjoyment throughout the week: food is not just something we eat, it’s a multisensory experience that can bring joy in many ways. Food also forms a channel for harnessing and expressing moods: when tired, we eat to re-energize, when sad, we eat to feel better.

Health & Wellbeing

People have a desire to improve themselves in many ways: with better health, greater knowledge, development of new skills and much more. Increasingly, consumers seek their own individual solutions for feeling good. Through biohacking people are becoming much more aware of the effects of food, rest and activity on their holistic wellbeing. What most of us aim at is a naturally functional balance between these things. To succeed, we need to consider various things, such as gut health, free-from-foods - like lactose free, less sugar, gluten free - and a total rethinking of processed food.

Protein still has an important role in a healthy diet, but fodmap has also become a very popular solution for feeling better. Health and wellbeing have become important values in life and healthy ageing gathers great attention: how to maintain physical activity and cognitive functions in all age groups. Research about genetic factors of digestion and suitable individual diet will have impact on product development and strategic decisions. Diets that improve one’s performance have been a hot topic for some time already – now, sleeping, rest, and relaxation have appeared to challenge this viewpoint.

Convenience 2.0

Easiness is a must-have feature for future consumers. Convenience is no longer just a desire, but a demand. Changing demographics and daily routines create new expectations of customization and easiness. Snacks and ready-to-eat meals are in demand, but they have to meet certain standards high quality fast food sells well. The challenge of snackification is simple: how to offer fresh and healthy, free-from products.

Singles and dingles require different food selections than large families. Easiness is also data-driven, with the cooking experience optimized to keep the fun in and dullness out.

Sustainable & Ethical living

Where do people find meaning in today’s complex world? Consumers want to make more responsible and sustainable choices without sacrificing enjoyment or quality. But understanding the environmental effects of their choices can be somewhat difficult, which leads consumers to pursue concrete and visible changes that matter. Things that resonates with consumers are climate issues and environmentally conscious food. Products and brands need a story that addresses this, but it can be combined by hard facts.

While organic is widely well-perceived, plant based food and products that support animal wellbeing are interesting too. Many people wish to adjust their daily diet into more sustainable direction, but changes are dependent on products available. Wish to eat meat & dairy free is adjusted to which products are easily available. It is not an absolute value, but when made easy, highly supported. In the future, ecological packaging and less or no waste will surely be increasingly important too.

Food & Self-expression

The quest for status doesn’t change, but forms of it do. Consumers are increasingly looking to express their own attitudes and beliefs through choices they make, with daily food choices providing easy means for self-expression. What you eat tells the world who you are. Food lifestyles don’t build up solely on demographics, but rather on lifestyles and phases of life.

You can proclaim your tribe by choosing to be meatless, or you can get your super-local meat from a farmers’ market. Certain diets have also become tribes: by choosing keto, you belong to the keto tribe. Food brands attract similar people, sharing similar values. This requires brands to take a stand for something as well – they can be the voice for the people if they have the courage to do so.

Trendmap 2020

Valio’s Consumer Insight Team constantly examines changes in how we behave and make decisions. This analysis offers a holistic and clear understanding of global and domestic trends affecting food and eating. Take a look at the trendmap, if you find this interesting. It’s a useful tool for mapping the new business potentials.

Find the trendmap here

Interested in further information?

For more information, please contact our Food solution sales team. Contact us, we're here to help you.