Columbia Star

Health and wellness remain top priorities for the new decade

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What are some trends for the New Year?

With a holiday season almost behind us, many of us are already looking to the new decade, wondering what’s ahead.

Health and wellness will continue to be a focus next year. The food industry is always influenced by larger movements, so its leaders are ahead of the curve.

The WILLIAM REED Group has been providing leading market business information for 150 years, including research in manufacturing, retail, wholesale and hospitality, and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Its “Food Navigator” writer Oliver Morrison reported on consumer trends to watch for in 2020 in a recent newsletter on the website foodnavigator.com. He notes consumers are influenced by a number of ‘macro forces’ that food businesses cannot ignore, citing research from MMR Research Consultants.

According to Morrison, attention spans are shortening, favoring the fantastic over the familiar. He cites work from Professor David Levy of the University of Washington who says the daily use of social media is ‘literally changing’ the way our brains work, stimulating us to seek new experiences.

“We’re being conditioned to find the weird and wonderful, so brands must step up and prioritize more complex, more challenging and more immersive products— with greater emphasis on creating flavor,” MMR’s Chief Ideas Officer Andrew Wardlaw told “FoodNavigator.” Meat and dairy alternatives are a high-growth segment receiving a wide following. Cutting salt and sugar content presents exciting opportunities, motivating product developers to innovate with new flavors.

In a welcome direction, the era of conspicuous consumption is giving way to more environmentally conscious behaviors and altruistic attitudes. In an age where young people particularly face constant scrutiny by peers on social media, purchases increasingly need to signal altruistic intent,” Morrison says. Sustainable living brands have grown nearly 50 percent faster. “Consumers will make less distinction between what is good for them and what is good for the planet,” he added. Interesting to note, however, in an era of rising social conscience, people want to be credited for being able to make their own wise decisions without being lectured.

In another sign of the times, single-person households are growing faster in numbers than every other household type globally, so we’ll see more single serving products and smaller loaves of bread. These provide opportunities to people who are concerned about food waste. Bowl servings will continue to grow in popularity. In a stressful era, people also will be seeking comfort foods with an emphasis on simplicity even as they also enjoy new adventures.

The Columbia Star wants to add to the community’s storehouse of knowledge, whether it is a neighborhood matter, a larger issue or a simple curiosity. We’ll do the footwork for you. Submit your questions to: wmchughes27@gmail.com.

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