Consumer preferences about food have shifted widely during the past two years as people reprioritized what mattered most to them. To see what’s driving today’s food trends, Hormel Foods Corporation’s innovation and insights experts have provided their culinary insights.
“Hormel Foods has seen dramatic changes in people’s eating habits, culinary interests and where they find information about food,” says Heather Vossler, director of innovation and consumer insights at Hormel Foods. “We know that consumers expect more from their purchases than just simple nourishment. They desire food products that taste great, create memorable experiences, make their lives easier and support their values, in addition to creating and convenient solutions that help them adapt to their ever-changing lives and routines.”
Current culinary trends include:
The Edible Experience: Food can be a passport to see the world and enjoy new experiences. With the time for travel and experiences lost over the past two years, consumers are demanding more from their food and have a real desire to discover new things and connect with others. With home still being the cooking hub for many, people look for foods that provide new and entertaining experiences, restaurant-quality taste or cultural touchpoints.
Viral Food: 2021 marked the emergence of TikTok as a go-to spot for happening food culture. Blink-and-you-miss-it trends and cooking techniques show no signs of slowing down as consumers look to experience familiar foods in new ways.
New Routines & Rituals: As people settle into their new normal, they are experimenting with different ways to cook and new products to buy that accommodate these lifestyle changes. While home cooking remains popular, most no longer have time for the weekend-long baking projects that were popular a year ago. Consumers are seeking hacks and shortcuts to save time, but they don't want to sacrifice quality in the process. Eating is still a special moment in the day that gives people a break from life's stresses.
Business with Purpose: Consumers continue to seek out brands that support their personal values and positively impact employees, communities, animals and the environment. Transparency and showing measurable change will become even more critical in gaining trust. Reimagined products with cleaner, more nutritious or more plant-based ingredients will continue to increase in popularity.
Nurturing Wellness: More than ever before, consumers are looking to food to make them feel well – physically, mentally and emotionally. This will become more and more individualized as people seek out the right blend of foods that work for their personal wellness journey. Whether it's wanting more protein or less sugar, wanting to increase their energy levels or enhance their mood, people are moving past the one-size-fits-all eating habits in favor of an individualized approach with products that support their personal goals.
Sustainability: Consumers have high expectations for brands to do the right thing when it comes to good stewardship of environmental resources. Most people now consider sustainability an important factor when making a purchase decision. In fact, consumers go even further in suggesting that they will make repeat purchases from those companies and brands that people deem to be doing good for the planet.