The expression used to be: There is no “I” in team. Today, the true expression is: There is a “ME” in mental. Mental health is the number one topic in conversations today with friends, family, colleagues, and even bosses. Society is finally rounding the corner to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is for this reason that there is such an emphasis to invest in “wellbeing.” Gym memberships, functional foods, at home workout equipment…whatever it is, it relates to our desire to prioritize our health and wellbeing. However, we all know this already. We see it in the news and on social media. What makes MEntal different? It is not just the focus on mental health, but the true meaning of “ME.” There is a major trend towards personalization today, more so than ever before. The world has reached peak hyper-personalization levels, with consumers looking to choose products that will empower them to feel comfortable in the food and health worlds. People don’t just want to know what foods have functional benefits, but what foods will have functional benefits for them. They want to be able to discuss genetic predispositions and diet in the same sentence. Welcome to the field of personalized nutrition. This is the true future of food and health. It used to be you are what you eat, but maybe it is also a little bit of you eat what you are. Something to consider…
The societal mindset has shifted away from the common “save our souls” – we know there is work to be done and we are doing it. Sitting idly by is no longer the answer. The viewpoint is now “sustain our sphere” so we no longer fall back to needing saving. Brands today are striving for these sustainable goals, as consumers are placing more expectations on them to do so. According to a 2021 Hartman report, 32% of consumers say their purchase decisions have the greatest impact on society. This is only secondary to voting decisions, at 44%, demonstrating how vital purchasing power and decision-making can be. Consumers want sustainable, and they will guarantee that their purchasing choices show it. Although brands are tooting their horns that they are sustainable, a significant amount of the time it is hard to discern which elements are in fact sustainable or using sustainable practices. Companies today tend to focus more on the big overall picture, rather than the small steps needed to get to the big picture. We see consumers actively looking for answers. We see consumers wanting to know the specifics of what makes a brand sustainable. They want to be able to see it for themselves. We expect stronger, more assertive consumer demands. The forces at play are generating an urgency never seen before. Let us work towards making big, small steps.
We wouldn’t have the beauty without the beast, we wouldn’t have the good without the bad, and we also wouldn’t have the benefits of flexibility without the downfalls. Flexibility is both a blessing and a curse. The changes brought forth in 2020 completely transformed how the world previously functioned. Hybrid became the new buzz word…and it is still buzzing as we head to 2022. Flexibility gave us working from home. Flexibility gave us food at the tip of our fingers (groceries and restaurants). Flexibility gave us new virtual playgrounds for events, gatherings, and conferences, providing a new type of entertainment, flexitainment. Flexibility gave the consumer so much to work with. But what flexibility didn’t give the industries on the other hand was in fact flexibility. As the typical individual benefitted from the lack of structure, management teams were slowly crumbling from the pressure. With increasing expectations from consumers now, companies are dealing with much more on their plates, attempting to react to all the changes in a way that will deliver results and not fail. We see the emergence of a new challenging operational plan that industries, especially in the food and health worlds, are looking to implement to deal with these increased complexities brought forth by flexibility.
THE RADICAL FOOD CULTURE BATTLEGROUND
A radical approach has infiltrated food culture, on both sides of the equation: consumer and industry. On the consumer front, it seems like even cancelling foods and food brands has become the norm, due to the power of social media. On the industry front, it seems like some food brands are even lying to their consumers and getting away with it. These are completely opposite ends of the spectrum, yet they are both happening today. The emergence of this radical food culture creates doubts for consumers, struggles for brands, and has major implications for food culture in general. Without a strong base of support from consumers, we are concerned about the negative impact on brands, and how the management teams will be left picking up the pieces, possibly with no way out. The concept of truth should make its grand return, especially for brands. We expect to see management focusing on ensuring a dialogue and stance that is strong and real, to appease the consumer. This will help brands navigate the important discussion of transparency vs. honesty, which Enzyme discussed in a recent blog post. Food culture is important, and we are concerned about how consumers will entertain their relationship to it if this radicalization continues…
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 SECONDS
Technology now allows us to be around the world in 80 seconds…a slight speed up from Jules Verne’s 80 days. With a quick tap, we are diving into new fusions and flavours, embracing the ethnic and cultural differences that make our world so special. Consumers are moving away from the status quo. New ingredients and food flairs are seen as the antidote to the boring, repetitive, and insecure nature of today and are helping people escape and travel to their food fantasy reality. With delivery food apps, you can have meals or groceries delivered to you before you can even think of your ideal food experience. Simmering for a few years now, and as we try to move beyond the pandemic, we now expect a more disruptive and intense “mélange des genres” for the year to come bringing fusion to the next level. People have a need for speed and a quick fix, easily solved by the digital sphere. It is safe to assume that technology is already working to get us there faster than 80 seconds. The future is looking quick, tasty, and virtually global. Welcome to the world of fast discoveries.