There have been multiple articles in recent weeks about how consumers are now ‘cooking from scratch’ more (even if that does just mean opening a jar of sauce and pouring it over chicken breasts for some!), have a greater interest in a healthy diet, and how they are much more engaged with their food. But what does that mean for both the short term and further ahead?
A recent IGD report* explores how health and wellness could evolve, via six hypotheses, which could all have a significant impact for brands and retailers.
The first hypothesis suggests that there will be an increase in holistic health, not just over the next six months but also for the longer term.
Further hypotheses refer to how affordability will challenge health priorities, how we should expect a greater connection with food, how obesity will remain a focus, and how healthy and sustainable diets will become more relevant.
Certainly in the short term we can expect to see an increase in awareness of and demand for, locally and sustainably produced food. I hope that this trend is here for the much longer term, and it’s encouraging to see from the IGD research that 66% of shoppers are open to changing their diets to be healthier and more sustainable. However, I do think there is a significant education piece to be done here on both what constitutes a ‘healthy diet’ and to be clear about what is meant by ‘sustainable’.
With the government’s (pre-Covid 19) obesity goal to halve obesity by 2030 rightly set to remain, and people placing a greater value on their overall health, there is an opportunity, and indeed a need, for brands and retailers to help support and educate consumers - especially when for many, affordability may override eating healthily.
Education will therefore be key and, looking to the long term, it's vital that children have the opportunity to learn all about food – from how it's grown, to its nutritional content - but above all to explore and enjoy food!
Now perhaps, more than ever we may be missing many of the principles around the teaching of what was known as home economics – which included topics from nutrition to meal planning and food preparation. It’s certainly what sparked my love and interest in food and many of the skills I learned then are still with me today.