2018 Food Trend #1 - Mindfulness

The Lempert Report
January 02, 2018

Mindfulness is one of the most over used terms these days, and has quickly becoming the mantra for many brands’ marketing objectives. But do they really understand what it means?

Jon Kabat-Zinn is credited to be the father of “mindfulness” when back in 1979 he created an eight-week course at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to treat patients with cancers and chronic pain. 

His premise was simple. Based on Buddhist meditation it was designed to soothe neural networks. It worked and has been shown over the decades to reduce chronic pain by well over 50 percent. 

Meditation is all about a concentrated focus in order to increase awareness.

Now, we come to the new 2018 food world definition of mindfulness, which I will describe as simply “the quality or state of being conscious or aware” – not quite as lofty as Kabat-Zinn’s program – but a huge step forward for the food industry – and for consumers.

It reflects a new consumer attitude mostly led by the Millennial generation to truly understand everything they can about a particular food or beverage, and then supporting the company – brand or retailer - by aligning with their values, and supporting them with their purchases.

Morgan Spurlock, of SuperSize me fame – said it best – TRANSPARELOCALICOUS – which says it all. Transparent, local and delicious.

Consumers ARE reading more labels and understanding them.

Ken Dychtwald, in his 1986 book– Bodymind – was one of the first thought leaders of the Baby Boom generation to present just how the mind and body work to influence each other. His objective was to offer tools to achieve higher self-awareness, but Bodymind also gave us a blueprint to understand how we make decisions about which foods we choose and why. 

Innova Market Insights named “mindfulness” the #1 trend for 2018 and illustrates how the body & mind are influencing new food and beverage product introductions in the supermarket; how that shopper is seeking out ethical claims on products. 7 out of 10 US and UK consumers want to know and UNDERSTAND an ingredient list. Food and beverage brands introductions that feature ethical claims on their packages have increased seven-fold since 2010.

On pack human, environmental and animal ethical claims continue to rise. 

Retailers like CVS are executing on point with in-store executions like “snacks that give back” and the hospitality business is promoting “vegetarian vacations” built on the foods they serve and detailing how their buildings and business practices align with the holistic values of a vegetarian consumer.

Major brands like Honda run ad campaigns designed to help others and new startups like FoodMaven, that attracted Walter Robb ex-CEO of Whole Foods as an active investor, and is working to recapture the food that is lost in the system to prevent waste and then selling it to foodservice at a huge discount. 

One of the most critical areas where we are witnessing the mindfulness movement is how we approach food. We have shifted from movies and books that SCARE us to those that INSPIRE us. Movies likeOKJA, orLeo DiCaprio’s “before the flood” are great examples that motivate us to understand climate change and GMOs in ways never before taken and reaches both our intellect and our hearts; while WASTED finally brings real people and emotion to that unemotional statistic that 40% of all food being wasted 

The new leaders of food are driven by a new set of corporate values: social conscience, health & wellness, enhanced nutrition and life hacking…and yes, they do want to make money too!

For all 10 Trends, watch the Full Video HERE