Focusing on the UK, what trends do we observe about UK consumer preferences? From Google search data, we have identified food-related search terms that grew most in popularity from 2019 throughout to the beginning of 2023, revealing three trends that are aligned to global trends:
Flavours without borders – Consumers continue to explore global flavours and cuisines
Google search data shows a continued interest in different cuisines among UK consumers. Average monthly searches for cuisines in general have grown +18% in the past 5 years. UK consumers continue to show great interest in international cuisines, with search data indicating growing influences from Asia. However, in the past 5 years, we have also seen a decline in search interest for the previously popular Spanish cuisine.
Search interest also points to an increased consumer focus on using food as part of overall wellbeing. Searches for Norwegian and Danish cuisines have significantly lower volumes but have high growth rates in UK. The Scandinavian diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world due to its abundance of fresh berries, oily fish and wholegrains and, given the ever-increasing importance of health and wellbeing among UK consumers, we believe the Scandinavian diet will continue to gain prominence among UK consumers.
Food Tech Revolution – Cutting edge innovations transforming home cooking
The kitchen is often referred to as the “soul of the home” and over the years it has evolved into one of the most important spaces in our homes. A big part of the evolution of modern kitchens has been the introduction of innovative and tech-enabled cooking appliances that can turn meal preparation into a pleasurable activity amidst the busy hustle and bustle of life.
In the past 5 years, there’s been an increase in search interest for cooking appliances in the UK (driven by searches for air fryers and instant pots), signalling a desire for convenience as well as healthier cooking options.
Mindful eating: Consumers are making conscious food choices that benefit their health and the environment
UK consumers are showing a keen interest in promoting the long-term wellbeing of the environment and society through their food choices. Consumers are prioritising sustainable practices by reducing food waste, incorporating more plant-based and low impact food in their diets, opting for products with eco-friendly packaging etc.
The desire to reduce waste has led to consumers searching for ways to preserve food as well as an increase in search interest in practices such as meal preparation that help to reduce wastage.
Food preservation techniques such as pickling have gained popularity among consumers with search interest for pickled vegetables, pickled carrot, and pickled onion particularly high in the past 5 years. In addition to reducing food waste, pickled food can have health benefits. They are famed for their gut health benefits as well as their effects on reducing blood sugar spikes.
Consumers are incorporating more plant-based food in their diets to reduce their carbon footprint. Searches for nutrient-dense plant-based options is increasing in the UK with search interest for algae (+11%), maca (+52%), tempeh (+3%) alongside other popular ingredients such as oat and whole grains. This presents an opportunity for brands to expand or diversify their product lines to include plant-based alternatives allowing them to capture a greater consumer base.
This emerging trend presents numerous opportunities for brands to better communicate and appeal to consumers. Conscious consumers will gravitate towards brands that clearly communicate their values. Consequently, storytelling will play a crucial role in helping brands showcase the positive impact their products have on people’s health, the environment and society at large.
Connecting to consumer needs relies on understanding what your audience are concerned about as well as how you can help them. Unprompted, immediate, scalable sources of this information (like search data) enable your brand to connect with your audience at the right time with the right answer.
Integrating search insights holistically into the understanding of what’s changing in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards your brand and competitors can include an always-on view of what’s rising and falling in the search landscape that might affect your brand or category across geographies; integrating search data alongside brand and sales to highlight risks and opportunities with more confidence; or understanding which consumer niches have demand but are currently being under-served by vendors.
Food marketers should take note of global food trends to better understand the evolving consumer preferences and influences on their food choices. As marketers navigate the complicated landscape of consumer food preferences, the task for brand managers remains to stay ahead of what’s changing in the lives and minds of people to plan well and respond quickly.
If you want to know more about how search can supercharge decisions around your brand, get in touch with email@example.com.
To read the global Future of Foods report click here.