By AVINASH LAL
Market Research and Consumer Insights Director, Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
The rules of produce have changed. Consumers today demand wholesome staple foods that are nourishing and offer value for money. COVID-19 coupled with rapidly changing lifestyles, has shifted the focus towards health and wellness, influencing what people choose to eat and drink, how they consume, and reinventing the food and beverage sector, from products to services.
The pandemic has seen the emergence of independent, creative home cooks who want to elevate the in-home dining experience by experimenting and trying out novel foods, and in so doing, rivalling the out-of-home taste experience. Consumers today are paying sharp attention to everything from ingredients on labelling, storage and packaging, to delivery hygiene. Boosting one’s immune system will remain a priority, and the popularity of immunity-enhancing foods shows no signs of abating. People are starting to depend on food as medicine, turning to traditional or common kitchen ingredients for their perceived health properties, whether it’s strengthening gut and liver function, improving skin health or fighting the common cold.
Food has become an indulgence. Beginner cooks or working professionals now want convenient, high quality, and creative meal solutions to ensure meal times are both fuss-free and delicious. This has led to the rising demand for complete, quality, restaurant-style meal kits, wide food delivery options, and the availability of ready-to-eat popular street food consumed on-the-go.
8 rising trends
These are the top ingredients and foods as forecast by Kerry Trendspotter™, an artificial intelligence tool powered by IBM Watson that predicts trending food, ingredients and flavours that will likely go mainstream in the near future.
Immunity boosters: Immunity is regarded as core to good health and the ability to fight infections. Traditional local vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, spices are preferred for their immune-building and anti-infection properties.
What: Cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, spirulina, yuzu lemon
Matcha and elderflower lemonade (Photo: Kerry)
Probiotic complex foods: These target gut health, but are also valued for helping to fight infections and enhance immune health.
What: Kombucha, kimchi and kefir
Adaptogens: Nutrition that strengthens the body’s ability to adapt to extreme stress.
What: Basil, amla, jamu, ginseng
Micronutrient foods: Local plants, seeds and spices for specific vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory benefits.
What: Turmeric, ginger, tamarind, star anise, chia seed
Micro sensory foods: Foods that stimulate visual, olfactory and mouthfeel, such as colour enhancers, garnishings, aroma builders
What: Saffron, lemongrass and edible flowers
Modern additives: Additional ingredients that either enhance taste, status or the visual appeal of food
What: Chocolate/ cacao, matcha, truffle, kale, acai
Hyper local foods: Local ingredients packed with taste and nutrition will remain a big space for innovation, given the wide variety and potential. Think unmodified ancient grains and local spice pastes that can elevate a recipe or enrich flavours.
What: millet, buckwheat, sambal
“Smart” street food: Refined version of local street foods with a focus on health, food safety and hygiene. Beyond just pre-mix options, these now include freshly-sourced ingredients which are prepared to order, and often packaged to strict hygiene standards.
What: Indian chaat and vada pav; Turkish Kumpir (baked potato)
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