2021 Trend Predictions Part 2: Staying Healthy and Well

The Lempert Report
October 12, 2020

We have to be cautious and smart to be able to separate the long term trends to the anomalies that were and are being created by the pandemic

Over the next few video reports, we will be sharing some of our insights and trend projections for 2021

Today, we continue our report on Staying Healthy & Well

The International Food Information Council’s 2020 Food & Health Survey findings echo the supermarket COVID-era objective: build trust and help stressed households achieve their wellness goals.

  • 54% of all consumers, and 63% of those 50+, care more about the healthfulness of their food and beverage choices in 2020 than did in 2010; healthfulness is the biggest mover, more so than taste and price.
  • Active dieting has grown this year as they look at their scales and find their jeans a little too snug as they work from home, snack more often and indulge to feel emotionally more stable – to 43% of Americans, up from 38% in 2019 and 36% in 2018.
  • 26% of U.S. consumers snack multiple times a day, and another third snack at least once daily; 38% say they replace meals with snacks (usually lunch) at least occasionally.
  • 74% of Americans try to limit sugar intake in 2020, down from 80% in 2019.

Immune function ties with muscle health/strength as the #5 benefit health-motivated eaters seek from food, IFIC data shows from a survey of 1,011 U.S. adults fielded April 8-16, 2020. These health seekers cite immune function 40% of the time, a rate that trails only weight management (62%), energy (57%), and digestive (46%) and heart health (44%) as a food-centered objective.

Life under the cloud of COVID-19 has intensified the search for immunity-strengthening foods and supplements.  A GlobalData survey in June 2020 found that 80% of global consumers are understandably concerned about COVID-19, and 23% admit they’ve stockpiled more vitamins and supplements recently.

Four out of 10 Millennial global consumers already say health claims on brands confuse them, according to the GlobalData research.

When we look at the foods and beverages that showed the largest percentage increases – by volume and dollars, it is misleading due to the shortages that shoppers experienced. We need to look holistically – not just at a snapshot in time that is predictive of the future. If we look at the fastest growing categories during the pandemic according to Nielsen for the 20 week period ending July 20, 2020, the number one product with an increase of 246% was Oat Milk with over $100 million in sales. Don’t get me wrong – I actually like Oat Milk, even though my grandfather was a dairy farmer and milkman in New Jersey, but the reality is that is a mere fraction of the volume and sales of cow’s milk.   

We have to be cautious and smart to be able to separate the long term trends to the anomalies that were and are being created by the pandemic – whether it be a result of consumers seeking out foods they feel will help them fight Covid-19 or from the inefficiencies of the supply chain that forced shoppers to select other alternatives than they normally would feed their families.

One thing for sure is that the pandemic has brought families together to eat together, to communicate and spend more time together.

The FMI Family Meals effort has long promoted the benefits to health and to society and the pandemic has given the effort more substance and reason to embrace. Here’s what we know:

  1. Eating together as a family helps kids have better self-esteem, more success in school, and lower risk of depression and substance-use disorders.
  2. Kids that learn to cook eat healthier as adults.  If they learn by ages 18-23, they eat more vegetables, less fast food, and more family meals a decade later.
  3. Home preparation of more plant-based proteins such as dry beans and lentils, tofu, and homemade veggie burgers are helping shoppers discover that good nutrition can be delicious.
  4. People are eating more local foods in response to supply chain issues early in the pandemic.
  5. Changing mindsets about wellness now include self-compassion. Eating is one of the basic ways we care for ourselves. And disruptions in food and activity routines have people thinking about how they redefine wellness.

Conducted by OnePoll this survey found 74 percent of respondents said cooking has been a successful coping mechanism for them as they deal with the stress of being home. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they have even learned a new recipe during quarantine and 32 percent have taken an online cooking class.