Shaken, but not stirred: what 2022 holds for the food & drink industry

Consumer attitudes and needs constantly shift. As we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and into a rapidly changing world, many industries, including the food and drink sector, will need to innovate and adapt to stay relevant.

Brands should be aware of current and forecasted trends to continue to stay relevant and resonate with their target customers. To help navigate the landscape, we’ve looked at the developments and shifts that are expected to shake up the food & drink industry in 2022:

Being good for the consumer and the planet

Post-pandemic consumers are more focused on their personal wellbeing and that of the environment; in particular, Gen Z, the ‘ethically inclined’ and health-driven generation, is more motivated to make changes to their lifestyles that benefit the health of themselves and the planet. This means consumers are less likely to take an apathetic stance when it comes to what they purchase and the type of food and drink they’re putting into their bodies.

With shoppers ready to supercharge their sustainability efforts, it comes as no surprise that there’ll be an acceleration of food and drink solutions that prioritise health, quality, and nutrition, as well as sustainability.

Multiple brands including the likes of Oddbox, Yallah Coffee and ethical-chocolate newcomer Fellow Creatures are already providing more eco-options which help consumers to fight food waste and better the planet.

Convenience Culture

Time-poor consumers like parents or workers returning to the office will once again opt for brands who make their lives easier, offering convenient ways to help them produce tasty and nutritious meals at home with handy appliances and packaging.

Restaurant closures also shifted the way we enjoyed food from home. For example, in John Lewis’ 2021 How We Shop, Live and Look report, the retailer claimed air fryer sales increased by 400 per cent across the lockdown period as we experimented with new ways to prepare food .

Catering to this opportunity, we could also continue to see food-influencers creating ‘food hack’ recipes on social media, encouraging more Gen Z consumers to experiment in the kitchen, and new formats for food delivery where convenience and premiumisation will align.

Destination Dining redesigned

Now that the hospitality industry has opened its doors and is operating a ‘pre-COVID’ style service, it’s anticipated that destination dining will make a hotly anticipated comeback.

We’ll look forward to more immersive, magical and memorable experiences in 2022, where establishments will be going the extra mile to make dining more sensory, personalised and creative. It’s likely that more immersive dining experiences will pop-up and events such as The Murdér Express and The Candlelit Club will rise in popularity.

Ultra-urban farming techniques

With a spotlight on the sustainability of food production, we can also expect to see indoor farming aka ‘ultra-urban farming’ take off, according to recent research conducted by Whole Foods.

Ultra-urban farming (the practice of growing plants indoors under controlled conditions) has continued to expand, with producers finding new innovative ways to grow hyper-local crops to maximise efficiency and sustainability. For example, Growing Underground is a zero-carbon farm that sustainably grows fresh microgreens and salad leaves 33 metres below the busy streets of Clapham.

Do you have an innovative food or drink business that you’re keen to promote in 2022, or want to find out ways we can support your comms efforts? Get in touch with our award-winning team of experts today to discuss how we could help.

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