Polish FMCG market

Mintel’s 2024 Global Food & Drink Trends

Monday, 29 January, 2024 Food From Poland 42/2024
Mintel’s 2024 forecast highlights key trends: moderation in processed foods, Gen X’s lean towards functional eating, technological conveniences in meal planning, and a sustained focus on sustainability amidst a preference for comfort in food choices
Mintel’s food and drink experts re-examined nearly 10 years of previous Global Food & Drink Trends to pinpoint the enduring themes that are still shaping consumer preferences.

In 2024, expect brands to help consumers live longer and healthier lives, balance their needs for health and pleasure, and unlock new conveniences from technology.

Trust The Process

The difference between processed and ultra-processed food (UPF) will be a bigger consideration for health-aware consumers, although the sheer prevalence of UPF means they will more likely moderate intake, rather than eliminate it from their diets.

67% of UK adults agree that highly processed food/drink are fine in moderation in a balanced diet. Meanwhile, 77% of Polish consumers try to avoid ultra-processed foods.

The heightened attention to UPF coincides with the higher cost of living. As a result, consumers are most likely to say they are interested in minimally processed food and drink, but would not pay more for it. Alternatives to UPFs must therefore be affordable for most consumers to buy, highlighting the challenge for ingredients and production processes to be scalable.

Age Reframed

Food and drink that supports the healthy ageing process is struggling to fully resonate with Baby Boomers, but in Gen X these products have a more enthusiastic and engaged audience. Compared with Baby Boomers (aged 58-75 in 2023), the next-youngest generation, Gen X (aged 44-58), is more likely to choose food and drink with fortified and functional health boosts.

In Germany, 28% of Gen Xers think of food and drink with fortified ingredients as being natural, versus 19% of Baby Boomers. In Poland, 82% of Gen Xers believe eating and/or drinking fortified/functional food and drink helps them take care of their health, versus 68% of Baby Boomers. This generational difference will bring new opportunities for innovation that supports healthy ageing.

Eating, Optimized

Technology brands will succeed if they deliver value-for-money solutions to make food shopping, meal planning and cooking a more-convenient and enjoyable task for consumers. And the food brands who succeed will be those that quickly adapt to this technology.

COVID-19 and the end of the pandemic have accelerated consumer enthusiasm for scratch-cooking, but the hectic pace of life has intensified their desire to find efficient culinary shortcuts. As more consumers become used to the helpful role that technology is playing in their lives, they will be more interested in, and trusting of, emerging technologies to help them optimise meal planning. Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) will provide consumers with the practical, time-saving and increasingly affordable tools to help with meal planning and cooking – tasks that may become less stressful and more pleasurable.

In Germany, 56% of adults would like more ideas on how to eat healthily on a budget while in the UK, 67% of respondents are more interested in energy efficiency in the kitchen now compared to before the pandemic.

Climate Changes, Comfort Endures

Overwhelmed by the worsening climate crisis, consumers will expect food and drink companies to maintain sustainability efforts, but they will value comfort as the prime selling point. It is imperative now and in the future that the food and drink industry strives to operate sustainably. In France, 66% of adults expect brands to take the lead on addressing environmental issues.

However, for many food and drink consumers around the world, the importance of sustainability as a key purchase motivator has been deprioritised due to the rising cost of living. There is also a particular need to be more transparent with consumers by explaining environmentally responsible initiatives in more tangible, verified ways. In the UK, for example, 59% of adults say a ‘traffic light’-style label that consolidates all sustainability information would be helpful.

Honorata Jarocka
Principal Analyst

Fot: mintel.com

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