Top Trends in Food – How to Stay Relevant in the Cost of Living Crisis

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Top Trends in Food Industry Overview

The top trends in food industry are evidenced by the growth of each sector, and those showing the largest growth rates are reflective of innovation, consumer interest and manufacturing demand. With economic instability, geopolitical uncertainty, and supply chain shortages, it is evident that consumers are gravitating towards products in sectors with longer shelf lives, such as dried foods, soups, and frozen foods. All these categories show strong growth through to 2022, indicating a COVID-19 push that has translated into consumer preferences during the cost-of-living crisis.

GlobalData provides a look into the trends currently shaping purchasing behavior as consumers navigate through economic instability and financial insecurity.

Top Trends in Food, by Category

The key categories analysed in the report are meat substitutes, oils and fats, pasta and noodles, savory snacks, syrups & spread, prepared meals, and ice cream, among others. The meat substitutes sector shows the highest growth between 2017 and 2022 in terms of both value and volume, indicating the growth in the plant-based market and vegan lifestyles.

Top Trends in Food, Segmentation by Category (%)

Top Trends in Food, Segmentation by Category (%)

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Top Trends in Food, Pack Size Matters

Considering the cost-of-living crisis, consumers are looking for the most affordable purchasing decision, which often equates to smaller pack sizes at lower price points. Consumers are planning their meals carefully to only purchase exactly what they need in store, which also reduces waste and unnecessary surplus of stock. This behavior is more common in middle-aged consumers, with younger consumers being the most likely to do this more frequently, highlighting a potential demographic difference in financial awareness.

Consumers often opt for larger pack sizes to generate value for money in the long term, especially for products with longer shelf lives or where consumption is frequent.

Top Trends in Food, Ingredient Priorities

As consumers look to justify their purchases, they often gravitate towards high quality ingredients to achieve perceived value for money. Consumers are looking for specific ingredients to be satisfied with their purchases. Despite having tighter budgets, consumers are still willing to align purchases with their needs and values, especially regarding dietary preferences. Consumers are actively looking for products that contain ingredients that are good for their physical and mental health, natural, authentic, and simple, implying that consumers will be more willing to pay a higher price point for these goods.

The highest proportions of consumers deem immunity-boosting ingredients to be essential, followed by free-from artificial ingredients and free-from GMOs, making it important for brands to incorporate these ingredients and claims into new product development in the future.

Top Trends in Food, Proactive Health

The desire among consumers to be more proactive about their health is often at the forefront of their minds when making purchasing decisions. Often, the prices of healthier products are more expensive due to higher quality ingredients and less availability; however, consumers must ensure that the healthier products align with their budgets.

Proactive health comes alongside looking for specific health requirements, and consumers are increasingly looking for products that can directly impact these areas. For consumers looking to improve their general wellbeing, the most popular food categories for these benefits are bread, packaged meat and fresh meat, highlighting the benefits that energy and protein can have on consumer health.

Top Trends in Food, New Normal Shopping

Due to stricter budgets and rising grocery prices, consumers’ new way of shopping is very price centric. Consumers are actively trying to find the cheapest, or most cost-effective, option, which often involves consumers purchasing cheaper alternatives to their usual products and foregoing brand loyalties.

Through digitalization, consumers can get ample access to the information they need to decide and establish a product’s position within their budget, as well as having convenient and immediate solutions to instantly gratify their needs.

Top Trends in Food, Sustainably Savvy Shoppers

In a bid to be more sustainably savvy, consumers are actively looking for ways that their purchases can be more environment friendly and more financially worthwhile in the long run. However, despite wanting to make environmentally sustainable purchases, consumers are conflicted between ethics and financial constraints, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. In fact, consumers agree that price is the biggest deterrent as to why they might not purchase environment friendly products, which stresses to brands that emphasizing value is key when marketing more sustainable goods.

Top Trends in Food, Key Takeout

Consumer behavior is dependent on brands staying relatively affordable for the products they are offering. Brands can promote a higher price point if the benefits are justified, which can be done through multi-functionality, packaging innovation and high-quality ingredients. Brands that operate in essential categories must understand the benefit of competing through price during the cost-of-living crisis, especially in unstable economies.

For more insights on key takeout, download a free report sample

Top Trends in Food Report Overview

Key Categories Meat Substitutes, Oils and Fats, Pasta and Noodles, Savory Snacks, Syrups & Spread, Prepared Meals, and Ice Cream, among Others

Top Trends in Food, Segmentation by Categories

  • Meat
  • Confectionery
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Savory & Deli Foods
  • Bakery & Cereals
  • Ice Cream
  • Other Canned food
  • Dairy & Soy Food
  • Beans & Pulses
  • Seasonings, Dressings & Sauces
  • Prepared Meals
  • Syrups & Spreads
  • Savory Snacks
  • Pasta & Noodles
  • Oils and Fats
  • Soups
  • Meat Substitutes


• The cost-of-living crisis has propelled pandemic-derived consumer behavior further into consumer preferences.

• This has significantly impacted channel choice and created a new, preferred way of grocery shopping, as well as demand for long lasting and functional goods.

• Consumers are proactively choosing how to best spend their budgets on groceries, by opting for products that are more sustainable and beneficial in the long term.

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand consumer behavior and company responses in order to tap into what is really impacting the industry.
  • Gain a broader appreciation of the fast-moving consumer goods industry by gaining insights from both within and outside of your sector.
  • Access valuable strategic take-outs to help direct future decision-making and inform new product development.

Yeo Valley
Huera Foods
Singha Masita
Uncle Tobys
Kerry Group
Three Bridges
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Table of Contents


Market Overview

Pack Size Matters

Ingredient Priorities

Proactive Health

New Normal Shopping

Sustainably Savvy Shoppers



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