FrieslandCampina Ingredients identifies Conscious Indulgence as main global trends in F&B 2021 Trend Report

The company’s online listening programme and market insights enable food and beverage companies to understand consumers’ needs in turbulent times and help them prepare for a new normal.

FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ 2020-21 Trend Report revealed three macro trends and a further deep dive in the form of nine micro trends to provide its partners a broader understanding of key developments in the global food and beverage industry. Although they may appear differently, subject to regional differences, the three identifiable global trends are conscious indulgence, experience beyond the imagined, and shaping a better world.

Conscious Indulgence
Consumer interest in a diet with wellness benefits was already on the rise before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the pandemic has made consumers to think more about their lifestyles. That also aroused the desire to better understand ingredients and enjoy delicious beverages and foods which can, to a certain extent, protect and promote good health. Some of the micro trends observed are taking out unhealthy ingredients, added goodness and an increased interest in plant-based alternatives, revealing a deeper dive into the conscious indulgence macro trend.

Examples bringing these trends to life are brown sugar milk tea partially sweetened with natural stevia so lower in sugar or smoothie pancakes containing protein plus the goodness from consumers’ favourite smoothies.

Experience beyond the imagined
Consumers are keen to pursue unforgettable experiences and adopt new definitions of indulgence. Today, it’s all about a total and immersive experience that tickles all the senses. They are finding more time to experiment in-home, get more creative and discover new flavour combinations. Cookie cheesecake cupcakes, double brewed milk tea frappe with salted chips milk foam, extreme milk tea tasting sliders and excessively fluffy waffles are now seeing the light in the homes of consumers as they create their own feel-good moments to cherish.

Out of home is also joining the party, by brining unforgettable experiences to consumers doorstep through DIY kits or online baking classes. Micro trends now emerging across continents include new takes on textures, re-inventing in-home indulgence and extreme experiences.

Shaping a better world
Sustainability came naturally during the pandemic for consumers. People cooked creatively with whatever was left in their cupboards and were conscious about waste. Prior to COVID-19 as well, consumers wanted ingredients that were ethically sourced, came from closer to home and boasted green credentials. Nowadays consumers enjoy a brunch veggie loaf or a cappuccino in an edible cup, and feel that there are opportunities to make lasting positive changes and shape a better world. The findings in the report show that seasonal and local resources will become key alongside recognisable ingredients and transparent sourcing.

The micro trends emphasise these findings – with back to roots, no waste, great taste serving as important drivers.

Suzanne van den Eshof, global marketing director at FrieslandCampina Ingredients Food and Beverages, said: “Increased interest in food and drinks that promote consumer health, bring new experiences to life and shape a more sustainable world will define the new normal. The challenge for manufacturers is to cater to these consumer needs without compromising on delicious taste and the sense of indulgence.

“Brands and companies that are able to jump quickly on these trends, together with their ingredient supplier supporting them via recipe innovation and sustainable products, will be the ones that come out on top after these difficult times. Close collaboration will increase the speed to market, while at the same time leveraging opportunities to get creative with and for the consumer.”

The pandemic has triggered consumers to think more about their lives, the planet and the way of living, with people being compelled to be innovative. Conscientious consumers are keen to enjoy a local product towards reducing their impact on the planet and natural environment. Waste reduction is high on the agenda with consumers finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Our listening programme shows that consumers see positive developments they want to hang on to, which brings opportunities to make lasting and impactful changes to shape a better world. We feel the same way and have continued our efforts towards sustainability in order to support our partners and deliver ingredients that consumers can enjoy with a clear conscience,” Van den Eshof concluded.