The rise of the adventurous consumer

A desire for unique experiences has compelled consumers to seek exciting products that tantalise their tastebuds. Christian Philippsen, managing director of BENEO, Asia-Pacific, sheds light on striking the balance between novelty and other important factors.

The Asia Pacific F&B industry is ever evolving, and this year will be no different. In 2024, there will be a host of new food trends to look forward to — including the anticipated rise of the adventurous consumer. According to Mintel, “amid ongoing uncertainty and anxiety, consumers will seek experiential food and drink that is enjoyable, fuels productivity and transports them to new realms.”1

The need for all this adventure is propelled by various factors. One global study found that seven in 10 consumers have a desire to experience interesting textures, to be surprised in some way.2 Zooming into the Asia Pacific region, it was found that countries such as the Philippines have almost eight in 10 consumers saying that eating and drinking is the main way they connect with family and friends.3

This connection can be further fuelled by novel, adventurous food choices that bring variety to the table and increase connectivity amongst different generations due to common experienced new taste sensations. However, despite the enthusiasm for embarking on this adventurous food journey, consumers also emphasised the need for a delicate balance between taste, price, health, and sustainability. They are looking for food products that not only excite, but also meet their nutritional, economic and social needs.

In response to this emerging trend, food manufacturers are looking towards sectors such as the plant-based industry to captivate the adventurous consumer. Plant-based products are well positioned to meet this growing consumer demand. The plant-based sector holds enormous growth potential, especially as consumers increasingly embrace new culinary experiences, and demand more innovative, unique foods. However, in a landscape where the novelty of plant-based meat patties has waned, food manufacturers face the challenge of elevating their offerings to keep consumers engaged and returning for more.

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