Inflation is directly impacting how and what consumers spend on food and beverages. It is also exacerbating pre-existing issues around health and hunger. Innova Market Insights’ 2023 Trends Survey revealed how people around the world are seeking to cope with economic pressures, what their priorities are, and what this tells us about the opportunities for brands and producers to meet current and future demands.
Globally, 1-in-2 of the respondents to Innova’s survey said they are spending more on food and beverages since the onset of pandemic-related lockdowns. A similar proportion say their increased outlay is due to inflation. Looking to the future, nearly 70% of consumers say they are actively trying to save money. But important as price is, health stands out as the number one concern of people in every income bracket. Consumers believe it should be the main driver of new product development, ahead of affordability. Further, health is a key consumption driver across many categories. Combining these insights, we see that the key to growth lies in affordable nutrition.
As well as revealing their main concerns, consumers also told Innova how they are trying to achieve the food and beverage solutions they seek. Using data from the 2023 Trends Survey and Innova’s 2022 Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey, we find that about a third of respondents are looking to cook from scratch, both to reduce spend and eat healthily. This opens opportunities to provide simple, nutritious ingredients that can combine to meet demands around cost and quality. Brands are growing their range of essentials, with the % share of new product launches including a “budget” claim rising sharply. Price is often a major driver of choice with these items so reductions here can bring rewards for providers and consumers. But it remains vital to promote the goodness within. Beyond cost, consumers also look for strong nutritional messaging and a focus on simple solutions such as reducing waste.
Tackling food security fears
There is an additional, global element to affordable nutrition. Food security and hunger are increasingly playing into public thinking. Revisiting previous Innova surveys, we see a rise in consumer concern around these issues. This does not just manifest in the most expected places; in the economically developed regions of North America and Europe we see year-on-year rises in public fears over how they will provide enough healthy food. As spotlighted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, there is a growing threat of hunger and malnutrition fanned by inflation, the war in Ukraine and the effects of the pandemic. Some governments and organizations are shifting resources into tackling these problems, and a variety of food brands are overtly aligning themselves with hunger-related causes. For the food industry, it is hugely important that innovation and strategies are linked to products and policies aimed at ensuring affordable nutrition stretches globally.
On February 22, Innova presented the timely and insightful webinar Health & Wealth: Opportunities in Affordable Nutrition. Innova’s Global Insights Director Lu Ann Williams was joined by Kamel Chida, Advisor to VC Capital and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They analyzed the latest findings, data and innovations, providing insights into the opportunities for growth. Looking at both consumer demands and global solutions, the webinar proved an invaluable guide to answering current and future challenges for the food and beverage world.