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Food + Drink: Trends and futures

20-page executive summary of the Innovation Group's latest trend report on food and drink.

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Food + Drink: Trends and futures

  2. 2. The world of food and drink in 2015 is exciting yet contentious. Consumers have never known such an abundance of choice, and food has probably never been so central to popular culture—yet its future has rarely seemed so controversial. The international Expo Milano 2015, with the theme “feeding the planet, energy for life,” is one of many events where innovators have gathered to ask: with the global population projected to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050, how can the food production system adapt and thrive? Food Drink FOOD + DRINK 2INTRODUCTION Photography by David Sykes
  3. 3. FOOD + DRINK 3INTRODUCTION In the short term, social and technological changes are transforming our relationship with food. Technological innovations such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are creating novel products while fueling new anxieties and ethical quandaries. Consumers are gaining an understanding of the links between childhood obesity and food policy, bringing conversations about food into the political mainstream. As food imagery proliferates on social media, more consumers are “eating with their eyes” than ever before, and raising their expectations to match. Food events such as MAD in Copenhagen, Bitten in New York, and SouthBites at South by Southwest in Austin have emerged not just as industry forums, but also as venues for a broader cultural conversation. “Food is becoming more important to people’s lives and their sense of identity,” says Sam Bompas of experiential food design duo Bompas & Parr. “The use of social media means that people use food to find a sense of personal identity, and perform their identity on an ongoing basis through photographing what they are eating.” Food trends also race across the world faster than ever before. Brands that might have remained local and undiscovered are rapidly brought to attention by the Instagramming masses, forever in search of the next novel image. A July 2015 study conducted for this report by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research and insights arm, found that 75% of millennials say they are among the first in their families to research and try new food trends, and 80% are more likely to share photos of food if it is interesting and unique. Photography by David Sykes
  4. 4. FOOD + DRINK 4INTRODUCTION But as the sharing of food imagery accelerates, we’re also seeing calls for the food system as a whole to slow down, and take stock of its role in supporting the health of our bodies and the planet. Issues such as localism and responsible sourcing have become key differentiators for brands seeking to connect with ethically minded consumers, who increasingly view food as part of a holistic system. As beauty standards shift to emphasize strength and fitness, these are becoming aspirational qualities, and consumers are turning away in droves from “diet” messaging. Only 28% of US millennials and 13% of UK millennials said products labeled “diet” were “very appealing,” placing the term among the least compelling food marketing claims covered in our study. In June 2015, Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine became the latest brand to disavow weight-loss marketing. Going forward, brands will have to carefully balance consumers’ desire for novelty with a commitment to ethics, transparency and health. With all this in mind, we take a qualitative look at the broad shifts currently shaping our perceptions of food and drink—and emerging trends to watch across these categories. Photography by David Sykes
  5. 5. FOOD + DRINK 5INTRODUCTION Food Politics Public awareness of the politics of food and nutrition has slowly built in recent years, fueled by the success of films such as 2008’s Food, Inc. and public initiatives including Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Today, a grassroots movement against unhealthy eating has acquired the sort of urgency that in previous decades characterized the seeking of cancer cures or reducing smoking. In the UK, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is spearheading Food Revolution Day, “a global campaign to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum” that held its first worldwide event in May 2015. Two months later, Tesco made a public declaration of its stance on the health risks of added sugars for children, banning lunchbox-size packs of Capri-Sun and Ribena drinks. The 2014 documentary Fed Up, narrated by news anchor Katie Couric, reflects growing public skepticism about the effects of conventional branded foods on children’s health. Our SONAR™ survey found that 81% of US millennials believe large food brands pursue policies that make Americans less healthy. Food innovators are challenging the assumption that healthy food must be expensive and time-consuming to prepare. Noted chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson have announced plans for a chain of fast-food restaurants called Loco’l, delivering healthy burgers with a delicious umami flavor for only $4. The first location will open in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts, and the second in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. As many as 28 additional locations are planned by 2017. Photography by David Sykes
  6. 6. FOOD + DRINK 6INTRODUCTION No More Waste Amid rising awareness of the relationship between food and the environment, both brands and consumers are doing more to combat food waste. According to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), if food waste were a country, its carbon footprint would be third only to those of the US and China. The 400 retailer and manufacturer members of the CGF have pledged to halve food waste by 2025. In 2014, French supermarket Intermarché promoted its commitment to reducing waste, while boosting its bottom line, with its Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign. The initiative sold imperfect-looking fruits and vegetables to consumers at 30% below the standard retail price, resulting in a 24% increase in store traffic. Swedish-Filipino startup FoPo takes overripe fruit and turns it into a dry powder with a shelf life of up to two years. The movement is even making inroads into upmarket dining. In March 2015, chef Dan Barber’s pop-up restaurant wastED enlisted high-profile chefs to serve scrap-based meals to diners in Manhattan’s West Village. Health-food chain Sweetgreen followed up by creating the limited- edition wastED “scrap” salad, featuring standard ingredients plus kale stems, cabbage cores and broccoli stalks—roasted in anchovy oil to soften and flavor the dish. Our SONAR™ survey found support for brands that engage in such practices—74% of US and UK millennials would adopt new dietary habits in order to reduce their impact on the planet, and 70% are willing to pay more money for products that reuse and recycle materials. Photography by David Sykes
  7. 7. FOOD + DRINK 7INTRODUCTION Healthy Indulgence In the previous decade, diners revolted against low-fat orthodoxy, especially when dining out, as “diet” foods were discarded in favor of rich meats and calorie-laden preparations. But in the 2010s, healthy foods are back, without the subtext of self-denial. Health and indulgence increasingly coexist in the minds of consumers. El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette in Manhattan serves vegan chicharrones locos, a fried Mexican street snack that has been reinvented as a healthy and delicious salad. At Los Angeles restaurant Sqirl, lines form around the block for chef Jessica Koslow’s unique take on breakfast food, which uses Mediterranean and Asian spices to make irresistibly light versions of classics. “This is food whose time has come,” declared New York Times food critic Mark Bittman. London food-blogging duo Hemsley + Hemsley extol the virtues of coconut oil for rich-yet-healthy desserts like their Paradise Bars, made with creamed coconut, raw honey, and dark chocolate. And the small brand Unreal Candy is reinventing bite-sized chocolate from the ground up, with less sugar, no corn or soy, and natural dyes. Photography by David Sykes
  8. 8. FOOD + DRINK 8INTRODUCTION Cross-Sector Collaborations As food and drink continue to accumulate cultural cachet, more cross-sector collaborations are happening between food innovators and the worlds of fashion, art, design, film and media. Brutal Magazine, launched in August 2014, showcases talent from a range of creative industries through the lens of food. Food titles such as The Gourmand and Cherry Bombe that have launched in recent years continue to push the envelope with creative cross-sector collaborations involving food. For its latest cocktail range, the Artesian bar in London drew inspiration from the 20th-century surrealist art movement, especially Salvador Dalí, for example serving its Anti Hero drink in a vessel based on the artist’s depiction of elephants. Bompas & Parr’s new bar Alcoholic Architecture conceives of drinks at the scale of buildings, creating breathable cocktail clouds using powerful humidifiers. At Milan Design Week 2015, Wallpaper* magazine’s annual Handmade exhibition was called Eat Me! Drink Me! Tell Me That You Love Me! It featured design-led explorations of gastronomy such as a luxury outdoor grill made of copper and steel by industrial designer Konstantin Grcic and kitchen brand Valcucine, and a fantastical set of surrealist dinnerware by designer Nigel Coates and porcelain crafters Ginori. Also in Milan, London design practice Studio Appétit created Things of Edible Beauty, a set of hybrid “culinary art” objects that combine flavors, fragrances and jewelry. Photography by David Sykes
  9. 9. FOOD + DRINK 9BY NUMBERS X By Numbers Millennials consider food to be an important part of personal identity. They follow food trends closely, especially in the United States, and consider going out to eat to be a cultural experience—signs that “foodie” behaviors have gone mainstream. “FOOD IS A MAJOR PASTIME FOR ME” (US/UK) 100 % 75% 50% 25% 0% MILLENNIALS (18–34) 74% 64% GENERATION X (35–49) 45% BOOMERS (50+) “I CONSIDER GOING OUT TO EAT TO BE A CULTURAL EXPERIENCE” (US) 100 % 75% 50% 25% 0% MILLENNIALS (18–34) 81% 68% GENERATION X (35–49) 53% BOOMERS (50+)
  11. 11. FOOD + DRINK 11BY NUMBERS “I WOULD LIKE TECHNOLOGY TO OFFER ME MORE ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING AND COOKING HEALTHY MEALS” “I USE TECHNOLOGY (E.G., APPS, WEARABLES) TO HELP ME MAINTAIN A PROPER DIET” 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% MILLENNIALS (18–34) 57% 38% GENERATION X (35–49) MILLENNIALS (18–34) 77% 58% GENERATION X (35–49) 37% BOOMERS (50+) 19% BOOMERS (50+) Millennials believe technology should play an important role in helping them make healthy food choices, and they frequently share images of food and drink on their social media profiles.
  13. 13. FOOD + DRINK 13BY NUMBERS US consumers believe that high- protein products are healthiest, while low-fat claims are more compelling for UK consumers. Consumers think that sugar is less healthy than carbohydrates in general, and small yet significant minorities of consumers believe that products high in “good fats” are healthier than any of the above. 32% 33% 25% 4% 7% 9% 22% UKHIGH IN PROTEIN LOW IN FAT LOW IN SUGAR LOW IN CARBS HIGH IN 'GOOD FATS' OTHER 25% 5% 9% 10% 18% US “THE HEALTHIEST SOUNDING NUTRITION CLAIM FOR ME IS...”
  14. 14. SAMPLE TREND 14FOOD + DRINK Cube by Lernert & Sander. Commissioned by de Volkskrant, 2014 Awash with food imagery on social media, consumers are gravitating towards unexpected images that are aimed at the mind rather than the stomach. Food imagery on Instagram has lost some of its novelty: at press time, 196 million photos on the platform are tagged as #food and nearly 64 million as #foodporn. Along with the ubiquity of food imagery, an inevitable backlash is emerging—simple shots don’t cut it any more. “There’s a bit of #foodporn fatigue. People aren’t maybe as interested in seeing what their friends have eaten for lunch or dinner that day, but are really interested in seeing food in unconventional images,” says Linyee Yuan, co-editor of Mold, a food design editorial platform. “It’s kind of set up in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily see on a plate.” Feasts For The Eyes
  15. 15. SAMPLE TREND 15FOOD + DRINK Foodography by Carmel Wineries, Israel, 2015 The Instagram account of designer Marta Grossi (@bananagraffiti) features photos of bananas intricately painted with patterned imagery. In May 2015, Instagrammers were captivated by a single photo of identically sized cubes of 98 different foods—the work of design studio Lernet & Sander. Mold’s own account (@thisismold) recently featured watermelons precisely cut into pyramids, toy soldiers posed for battle in a donut maze, and a replica of Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral made of soft-serve cones. The Instagram account @symmetrybreakfast, which has 366,000 followers, is the work of boyfriends Michael Zee and Mark van Beek. It features photos of two virtually identical breakfasts, arranged as mirror images. This slightly offbeat visual makes Symmetry Breakfast feel less like a source for cooking inspiration and more like a meditation on relationships. In July 2015, the founders even teamed up with Guardian Soulmates to hold a breakfast speed-dating event in east London.
  16. 16. FOOD + DRINK 16SAMPLE TREND Symmetry Breakfast by Michael Zee and Mark van Beek, London Another aspect of #foodporn 2.0 is a renewed focus on tableware, by both restaurants and consumers in general. In April 2015, the Israeli company Carmel Wineries produced Foodography, a series of dinners and workshops with dishware specifically designed to provide a flattering backdrop for smartphone food photography. At Stockholm Design Week, designer Sofia Almqvist presented her Umami Table, a scalloped surface for bespoke tableware that offers a particularly artful backdrop for otherwise conventional foods. “Fine dining has always been very focused on tableware,” says Yuan, “but what we’re seeing now is that consideration being taken at more casual restaurants as well. For young restaurateurs and chefs, it’s not negotiable any more. Anyone watching Food Network is going to know what you mean by plating and have high expectations for how dishes are presented.” Implications: With the proliferation of online food photography, consumers now expect food to get the high-end visual treatment. Consider fashion retailer Farfetch’s recent collaboration with Assouline, Farfetch Curates Food, a book exploring the intersection between art, graphics and food.
  17. 17. FOOD + DRINK 17SAMPLE TREND There’s a new awareness and importance around tableware as a visual aspect of eating. LINYEE YUAN COFOUNDER, MOLD Umami Table by Sofia Almqvist, Stockholm, 2014. Photography by Petter Brandt
  18. 18. FOOD + DRINK 18SAMPLE CASE STUDY Launched in Amsterdam in April 2015, The Roast Room is a forward- looking restaurant for the 21st-century meat-lover. While the barbecue joints of the 2000s indulged diners’ carnivorous appetites with large quantities of rich meat, The Roast Room instead emphasizes quality and transparency. “People are likely to eat less meat in the future, but with higher quality,” says Michiel Deenik, the owner of the restaurant. “Quality over quantity, this is exactly where we can meet the needs and wants of the guests.” The design of the restaurant, by the Dutch interior design practice Studio Modijefsky, brings the role of the butcher to the fore. Previously hidden away from squeamish diners, the butcher is now celebrated as a skilled artisan, and works in full view, in a glass-fronted butchery with a modern-industrial aesthetic. The Roast Room The Roast Room, Amsterdam. Photography by Maarten Willemstein
  19. 19. FOOD + DRINK 19SAMPLE CASE STUDY “The butchery is an open area with a lot of glass where guests can dine as well,” explains Deenik. “There is nothing that we hide. When we explain the menu to the guest, we really go into detail about where the beef comes from and how the life of the cow influences the structure, color, taste, and amount of fat in the meat.” Implications: The future of meat is increasingly contested. Reassure worried consumers by emphasizing quality and transparency, and think beyond conventional, low-cost meat and poultry. The Roast Room, Amsterdam. Photography by Maarten Willemstein
  20. 20. FOOD + DRINK 20CASE STUDIES The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns—translating these into insight for brands. It offers a suite of consultancy services, including bespoke research, presentations, co-branded reports and workshops. It is also active in innovation, partnering with brands to activate future trends within their framework and execute new products and concepts. It is led by Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group. The Innovation Group is part of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, a platform for global research, innovation and data analytics at J. Walter Thompson Company, housing three key in-house practices: SONAR™, Analytics and the Innovation Group. SONAR™ is J. Walter Thompson’s research unit that develops and exploits new quantitative and qualitative research techniques to understand cultures, brands and consumer motivation around the world. It is led by Mark Truss, Worldwide Director of Brand Intelligence. Analytics focuses on the innovative application of data and technology to inform and inspire new marketing solutions. It offers a suite of bespoke analytics tools and is led by Amy Avery, Head of Analytics, North America. Contact: Lucie Greene Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Report editor: Shepherd Laughlin Visual editor: Emma Chiu Cover photography: David Sykes Contributors: Graeme Allister Hallie Steiner Hannah Stodell