A website targeted at small food and drink suppliers and start ups, www.foodanddrinktowers.com, has predicted 10 top trends for 2012. They are:
1. Regional producers get a boost
The food&drink towers Ten Top Trends for 2012 Survey identified authenticity, provenance and ‘localness’ will be very important (19%) or important (51%) next year. Closely aligned to the sustainability benefits of ‘going local’, reducing the environmental footprint and increasing sustainability will be important to more than half of respondents. Despite this, ethical consumption including organics is expected to decline in importance in 2012, according to the survey.
2. Uplifting food and drink to improve our moods
Depression, which affects many people within society, stands out as a major area for development in the mood foods category. A quarter say there is strong growth potential and 51% average growth potential for NPD in 2012. There are increasing links between nutrition and depression. Serotonin is a brain chemical believed to promote calmness and ease depression. Foods themselves don’t contain serotonin but what you eat may be able to tip the balance in favour of increased serotonin production in the brain.
3. Packaging innovations to provide the answer
As costs are being cut across the food and drink industry supply chain, packaging will become a focus for brand owners keen to improve margins from production to market. Reducing packaging weight/size, also known as lightweighting, is not only an environmentally-friendly move, but it can result in cost savings over the long term.
4. Learning to…grow your own, bake your own, make your own
How much influence do cookery programmes such as Masterchef and Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers have on consumer shopping habits in general? According to food&drink towers’ survey, 23% say they’re hugely influential, 66% believe them to be influential and just 11% say they are not influential.
5. Foraging for truffles, mushrooms, wild berries and edible mini-beasts
Courses are available nationwide teaching people how to forage, what to look for, and then turning their discoveries into three-course meals. This is the ultimate in foodie heaven for those who enjoy getting stuck in. Innocent Smoothies sent five of its team to a 12-hour foraging course in Kent recently, and foodie magazines regularly feature celebrity chef recipes including wild mushrooms, truffles and wild berries.
6. Going beyond the dinner party – at-home dining occasions become more regular
People will invest a little more time and effort (but not necessarily money) into meal times on a more regular basis to cheer themselves up, entertain and add some fun to ‘just another working week’. Original recipes and unusual ingredients will be the focus for home-cooks who will be influenced by television programmes, foodie magazines, websites, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and Smartphone apps.
7. Dusting off the recipe books and cooking from scratch
The website forecasts 2012 will be known as ‘the year of austerity’. As a nation we’ve spent a ridiculous fortune on recipe books over the years, many of which have been left on the shelves to gather dust. In 2012, people are expected to return to their cookery books (and other resources) to get a return on their investment, get more out of their kitchen gadgets and get more creative with their cooking.
8. Food-on-the-go gets a facelift
As impulse sales are forecast to continue to rise in 2012 (albeit not into double figures), brands must work harder for their share of the grab and go market. Convenience will remain a priority, but health is also becoming an influential factor. People are looking for quick fixes for specific lifestyle issues such as fatigue and concentration. People are also looking to top up their vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and omega-3 intake in a convenient format.
9. Megatrends…on a budget
The survey showed health on a budget will be hugely important (47%), followed by indulgence on a budget, convenience on a budget and premium indulgence.
10. Original food and drink pairing: inspiration for the nation
Companies such as French Bubbles operate Champagne pairing events, matching bubbly with sushi, chocolate and cheese. Restaurants are showing greater interest in providing wine, beer, cocktail and spirit matches to certain items on their menus.