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Changes in society are a challenge for the food industry, not to mention a challenge for Symrise as its supplier. The corporation works closely with trend researchers so it can recognize new trends as they evolve. Dag Piper, Director of Sensory & Consumer Science at Symrise, talked to us about fast food, organic butter, indulgence and our attitudes about food.
They will experience a growing sense of conflict between their ideals and reality – between the things they would like to do and the things they actually do. In the process, they will go back and forth between prioritizing health, convenience and indulgence.
They will have very little time for themselves and will look for more “me moments,” as they are sometimes called. When consumers find these quiet moments, they will treat themselves to something luxurious: they sit down and savor indulgence products such as a sumptuous ice cream or a chocolate bar with a 90% cocoa content.
At the same time, the main meal of the day is continuing to lose in importance. The consumers of tomorrow will eat on the go; they will eat while they do other things, like working at their computers. There will be much more multitasking, many more things happening at the same time, which is where the convenience aspect comes into play. People will want food that they can eat easily. Liquid or pureed meals will become more popular.
Life is growing more hectic all the time. People will tend to eat rather unhealthily during the week at work, much as they do now. And to compensate for that, they will deliberately buy healthy groceries on the weekend. Natural foods will be emphasized more and more – fresh, no pesticides, honest, organic, unadulterated, authentic.
Something like that. The market for organic foods in Europe and US will keep getting stronger – it’s a trend worldwide. Many people want to try to compensate for their daily “sins” by eating well in between.
Of course not. Washing down fast food with a functional drink only does you good from a purely psychological perspective, if that. Another problem is that people don’t really have the will it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle, but then at some point their guilty consciences kick in. And then they do something quick to make themselves feel better.
It’s already taking place and will become even more widespread. But it will also become more polarized – on the one hand, there will be DINKs (double income, no kids), and on the other hand, well-off Europeans and Americans will be able to afford large families. This will mean an upsurge of the “back to the roots” mentality: the role of the family will become more important as people find it harder to cope with the mad pace of modern life.
The first issue here is to figure out how you define what a child is. Girls today go through puberty between the ages of 8 and 18. Children develop so quickly nowadays that that for the purposes of target groups, we really ought to divide them into different age groups at two-year intervals.
It is a mistake to think that kids seek out or want new flavors: in terms of their preferences, children are incredibly conservative. The favorites in Europe are still vanilla, strawberry and orange. If kids are interested in new products at all, it would be in the non-food sector, such as Winnie the Pooh or Bob the Builder. Testimonial foods will be more popular as well – foods that are endorsed by a cartoon figure or a person, usually a celebrity.
No, nowadays you can only really categorize consumers in terms of their behaviors and purchasing patterns. A key-word profile like “Joe Consumer is 28 and married” does not tell us anything anymore. One individual person can represent up to four very different target groups alone. For example, they can match the profiles of a sports fan, a trendsetter, an investor and a traveler.
One and the same man may be a manager who eats convenience food or fast food during the work week, but on the weekend he is the head of a household, eats healthy meals, gets plenty of exercise and goes to specialty shops to buy artisan pasta or original products from Provence.
I don’t think it will continue along current lines, with exclusive premium products versus discount grocery stores. There will be a new happy medium where good quality will be available at an acceptable price – much like H&M and The Gap in the clothing industry. Brands with a weaker profile will not survive.
What will we eat?
Anti-fat food: one approach to losing weight
Call food: dinner that is only a mouse click away
Cheap basics: buying your staples as economically as possible so you have more money for luxury products
Convenience cooking: the easy way to cook
Clean food: non-allergenic products
DOC food: food with labels that state its country of origin
Ethic food: products which were created in compliance with moral guidelines
Fast casual: quick but sophisticated snacks
Functional food: food that has additional features which are good for your health
Hand-held food: one-hand dishes for people who eat on the run or like to multitask
Mood food: high-carbohydrate dishes which help you get through bad patches
Nature food: eating things that are natural, healthy and politically correct
Sensual food: food lust in the truest sense of the word, and the desire to revive a sense of taste that has grown dull and indiscriminate
Slow food: meals which you take your time and savor; meals featuring ingredients with traditionally-produced authentic character