Datassential Forecasts 2023 Macro Trends for the Food Industry
The burgeoning influence of Generation Alpha, whose oldest members will start hitting their teens this year, will have a growing effect on food trends in the coming years, Datassential's Samantha Des Jardins writes. Other factors expected to drive food trends in 2023 include artificial intelligence, greater risk-taking with menus, and a broadening of the definition of "third place" as more people shift to working from home.
Datassential, the leading food and beverage insights platform connecting the dots between consumers and the food industry, has unveiled the tentpole themes and macro trends that will impact the food industry in the coming year.
A new generation coming of age
Born between 2010 and 2024, the oldest members of Generation Alpha are just entering their teens but already have a large influence on what their family buys and consumes. The younger members of this generation, meanwhile, are having wider impacts. This generation was largely raised by millennial parents, is more diverse than generations that precede them, and has used technology since they were babies. The habits, desires, and demands of this generation have the power to shift the food industry as they get older, in every way from putting more pressure on operators to invest in technology, to a rising appetite for new foods and flavors.
AI is everywhere
Artificial intelligence is progressing quickly and will have huge impacts on the food industry. Platforms like DALL·E 2 mean that any dish or product can be immediately brought to life, and these systems will develop new dishes or products themselves in the future. There are ways that operators can take advantage of this technology in marketing, too, using tools like ChatGPT to write ad copy, customer notices, or menu descriptions. The possibilities are virtually endless for those willing to try.
A place beyond work or home
For decades, Starbucks was called Americans’ “third place” — a place where many spend time between work and home. But of course, a third place can be many things for consumers, whether it’s a bar, a sports activity center, a mall, or just about anything that feels comfortable enough to spend some significant time in. Post-pandemic, some workers who have chosen to remain remote have only had their home to well, call home, so a new generation of restaurant, retail, and eatertainment concepts are popping up that fill many consumers’ desire to engage with their community, socialize and have a little fun.
Menus and brands embrace the ‘weird’
After a few sobering, serious years, it’s time to get a little weird and playful again. That could mean anything from infusing more personality in customer-facing materials to taking a risk on the menu that feels almost out of bounds. Consumers are looking for brands that are authentic, which often means cutting through the noise by taking risks.
Creating a better back-of-house
As the hospitality sector has struggled to bring workers back after pandemic cuts, operators across every segment are rethinking what a job in the food industry can and should look like. That means reconsidering every aspect of the job, from pay to the design of the back-of-house to mental health and well-being.
Video killed the Instagram star
Just when the industry got a handle on photography, consumers have now shifted over to short-form video platforms like TikTok. Video will be increasingly important to the food industry in the future, from creating videos of dishes or products being prepared to creating items and spaces that are video-friendly.
Authenticity has been a fraught topic in recent years, but that initial furor is giving way to a more nuanced conversation about what authenticity means. Today it often means taking a chef’s full background and experience into account while still centering marginalized voices.
Regenerative agriculture grows
The term “regenerative agriculture,” which is a holistic look at farming practices in relation to soil health and overall sustainability, will show up in the media, on products, and even on menus more in 2023.
Access the report highlighting these macro trends and more here, including the flavors to watch for 2023 and beyond.
Source: Samantha Des Jardins, Datassential; SmartBrief