As with fashion, food trends come and go, often influenced by what’s in vogue overseas.
But the food we eat in 2023 is likely to be influenced more than ever by factors such as the pandemic, the fallout from Australia’s floods and the cost-of-living crisis.
News Corp Australia’s Food Corp Network Trend Forecast 2023 Special Edition provides an insight into how our eating habits have changed in recent times, and which way they are trending.
The survey’s main aim is to provide the food industry with branding guidance.
But it also provides an interesting window into consumer behaviour, particularly as a result of the pandemic and cost-of-living pressures.
“This is the sixth year of our forecast and the trends identified in the 2023 special report show it is more relevant than ever, presenting opportunities for brands to align their content marketing strategies with what’s driving consumer behaviour around food,” says Fiona Nilsson, News Corp managing director of food and travel.
So how – and what – will we be eating in 2023?
The rising price of groceries was the most notable cost-of-living increase affecting consumers. Fuel, bills, rent and mortgages, entertainment and eating out followed.
The survey indicates the cost of eating out is less of an issue. This could well be because many of us have already made a seismic shift to eating at home more often. Eating at home has increased by 38 per cent as a result of pandemic lockdowns, the report says.
This trend is likely to continue. The report also forecasts a feature of the coming Christmas and New Year period will be the good old-fashioned buffet.
“The prediction is that buffets will be back, with large-scale dining experiences involving the whole family,” it states.
What will drive our eating behaviour?
Looking ahead to next year, the report highlights four key areas that will drive our eating behaviour.
The first of these is ‘a golden age of entertaining’, with a 97 per cent increase in the number of Australians intending to purchase a barbecue over the next 12 months.
The second, ‘health by stealth’, forecasts a reversal of a trend towards fast food since the onset of COVID.
“Australians are taking charge of their health like never before with 91 per cent of consumers ‘opting in’ to health and wellness,” it states.
Next comes ‘elevated convenience’. The report claims that 11.7 million Australians profess to not having enough time in the day for cooking meals.
Consumers are looking for recipes that require minimal effort. This is proven by search terms such as ‘one pans’ and ‘tray bakes’ which have climbed to unprecedented levels across News Corp’s websites.
The final of the report’s four key categories is ‘The post-COVID kitchen’. Unsurprisingly, it features one of the biggest food fads of recent times – air fryers.
News Corp’s Taste website reported that two of its top five new recipes in 2022 involved this ‘must-have’ kitchen item. This is part of a shift towards people looking for appliances that are innovative and energy efficient.
Will this change they way we shop?
Armed with the knowledge of these trends, the big grocery stores and other food retailers are likely to shift their brand focus to items they believe will be big sellers in 2023.
One way or another, they will do what they can to make you buy more of their products.
Have your eating habits changed as a result of the pandemic and inflation? Do you plan to make any further changes over the next 12 months? Why not share your experience and thoughts in the comments section below?