Are you seeing and hearing more ads for healthy and sustainable foods these days? The food industry is going through rapid transformations these days and “big food” and fast food companies are desperately trying to shed their reputations for being just quick, cheap and easy. While traditional fast food restaurants are struggling to keep their market share, fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle and wholesome food retailers like Trader’s Joe are appealing to a customer base that demand more health, sustainability and transparent supply chains than before. This very detailed report from Nielsens shows that this is not only a Western phenomenon, in fact emerging economies are way ahead when it comes to interest for healthy eating and lifestyle. There is both a geographic and generational component to these changing eating trends.
The interest in healthy eating is by no means new. Over 10 years ago stores like WalMart started carrying organic and vegan foods and food manufacturers entered the domain of “foodaceuticals”. There has been a gradual growth in interest with Generation X parents dialing back on quick fix TV dinners in favor of home cooking, which is now being continued by millennial parents. The change from the 2000s and the 2010s is most likely due to Millennials and Generation Z being relatively larger and the instant and ubiquitous access to information you can find about the food you’re about to buy or consume. Nutritional value can be accessed by the tap of the finger and unethical or unsustainable agricultural practices are under closer scrutiny than ever before. Food manufacturers are even experimenting with QR-codes which provides full transparency on how the product was made.
The effects can not be mistaken. 77 % of generation Z believes ‘doing good’ beyond charity should be a central part about of business. And the childhood obesity rate has dropped with 43% over the past ten years in the USA and continues to drop in many parts of the world.
Let’s hope healthy eating and sustainable food is a long term trend that is just now catching momentum.