Food trends are permanently evolving and boosting the change of our global food culture. Analysing upcoming food trends is therefore a challenging task. Consumer surveys, experts reviews and upcoming start-up’s give us a glance at what is going on in the food supply market in a specific moment in time, allowing us to understand what influences impact-driven German consumer choices. As the term food culture already highlights, and also a variety of experts emphasize this when discussing ‘fusion food’, ‘lifestyle drinks’, and a product supply which is more diverse than ever – food is cult. It reflects current issues of globalisation, growing health and body awareness, and of course: Sustainability and climate change. In this article, I reflect upon the food trends that emerge in regard to these topics:
- Transparency: Who are we consuming from?
- Spiritual food: Eat less, waste less
- Vegetarianism & Veganism
- Healthy Hedonism: Eat healthy but enjoy yourself
- Eating against time: Snackification and Super Foods
1. Transparency: Who are we consuming from?
The ‘Fridays for Future’ movement in Germany has reported 1.4 million protesters across 575 cities on September 20th and walking Hamburg you shouldn’t be surprised coming across an advertising board that showcases the words: “1kg meat wastes 15.000 litres of water” or “what you eat should not cost the world”.
Germans are more aware than ever of environmental problems, and shouting out that our choices matter. Who produces the food we consume and under which conditions does it happen – all these questions have become increasingly relevant, and the more information a supplier facilitates, the higher the chances of winning an individual’s trust. This food trend is called Transparency. According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) report from 2019, 60% of Germans inform themselves online about food products and their origin – on social media, apps, blogs or online-videos – and 70% rely for the source of information on the producer of the same product. The way to individualise your product is to highlight the story behind it, and what motivated you to start this world changing project. Are you pursuing fair trade and better conditions for workers in developing countries, or are you investing in local and organic products to reduce the carbon footprint of your start up?
2. Spiritual food: Eat less, waste less
Transparency is the response to a more environmentally aware German consumer type, a food trend called spiritual food: Eating less, but making conscious choices about food, and what impact it has. Respondents were asked what they think the solution is for the problem of overpopulation and food scarcity: The highest response rate stated “to reduce food waste”. At the moment, a German individual wastes about 55kg of food a year. Restaurants and food supply chains have answered with the misfits trend by making sure that crooked and imperfect food is sold as well. This resonates with expert research that foresees industries in the coming year increasingly thinking beyond plastic. Once more, food is not only about the product itself, but about the how.
3. Vegetarianism & Veganism
The second most chosen response to anticipate future global nurturing issues was to reduce the consumption of meat. Meat consumption is decreasing by the year in Germany, and the food industry will sell almost twice as much vegetarian or vegan food as it did three years ago. Start-ups and restaurants are responding to this with alternative meat products and more vegetarian and vegan options on their menus.
4. Healthy Hedonism: Eat healthy but enjoy yourself
It is highly suggested to have a more inclusive strategy in mind, which does not only account for “omnivores”, but bears is mind the individual necessities of people. Inclusivity does not merely entail vegetarianism and veganism, but also refers to detox, low-carb, gluten- and lactose free alternatives. Forsa Surveys from 2017 show that 90% of Germans care about healthy nurture, and apparently 76% of women and 62% of men also manage to do so. This undermines the food trend called Healthy Hedonism: The food should be healthy, but we should not cut short in enjoying ourselves. This is how non-alcoholic Beer, alternative urban drinks and natural energy drinks, low-Carb food as veggie-fries, gluten free flour from coconut rasps, and endless alternative lactose-free milk products are taking over the shelves in the supermarkets and vegetables are rather becoming a main dish in the menus.
5. Eating against time: Snackification and Super Foods
Nonetheless, one obstacle stands in the way of eating healthy: time – or rather: the lack of time. Cities have changed our culture and our lives in cities are lived at a faster pace, and mostly outside of the house, where we work and socialize. Logically, “fast-food” was a first response to this, offering quick and cheap nurture possibilities on the go, but McDonalds and Burger King have a bad reputation amongst healthy and sustainable consumers by now. However, it does not change the fact that food needs to be fast. The responding trend is called Snackification, and examples can be a low-carb drink snack, seaweed snacks which are highly nutritive, or the so called superfoods. This term describes fruits, vegetables, seeds, grasses, algae or leaves that are particularly rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and healthy fats – nutrients that all play an essential role in your well-being. The ultimate product might look like a highly nutritious and protein rich vegetarian burger, with gluten-free bread that is covered in chia seeds, and which ingredients come from the local urban garden of the place where it is sold. Essentially, just as globalisation is making our direct environments increasingly diverse and multicultural – so is our food culture. Information flows are booming and people find it hard to make the “right” choice. Nonetheless, you can be sure that it helps to inform your audience extensively about your product, showing awareness for the environment and for body health, and last but not least: knowing that people are mostly in a hurry. These aspects are essential if you are targeting the German food and beverage market.