Asda's new insights have shown that the turbulence and change experienced globally are changing how people consume, from the resurgence of retro desserts to the rise of 'just add water' products.
The UK retailer has unveiled its 2023 and 2024 trend book, outlining key themes that will guide food and drink product development for the next 18 months.
Led by Jonathan Moore, Asda's Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation, which has cooked at a Michelin Star level, the Trend Book looks at critical social and cultural drivers to identify the 34 trends influencing consumers' consumption habits.
The top five trends influenced by the external world include the higher cost of living, and the pinch felt by consumers has seen them looking to elevate everyday items, with the report suggesting that 'Sandwiches 2.0', 'Not-So-Humble-Veg' and 'Things On Toast' are all key trends that will dominate the coming 18 months as customers use purse-friendly ingredients as the base of their gourmet creations.
Confirming this prediction, Asda has seen a 12 percent uplift in sales of potatoes in the past year as consumers turn to TikTok, which has over 10 billion views for '#Potato', for inspiration on how to get creative with the household staple.
In a less-stable world, people look to food for distraction, with shoppers looking to food for moments of joy. In a way that doesn't break the bank, Asda has anticipated seeing several trends rise in popularity over the coming months.
The 'Flavour Bomb' trend will see experimental condiments and sauces, such as coffee siracha or fruity chipotle, elevate simple dishes, giving them a powerhouse of flavour time and time again.
Putting meals on handheld sticks has also been predicted to rise, with seemingly un-holdable dishes like pasta becoming a more interactive snack, and croissants, waffles, and even slices of cheesecake will be drenched in syrups and sauces and served on a stick.
The rise of 70s and 80s-inspired TV shows like Daisy Jones and the Six and Stranger Things has seen the appreciation of retro translate into food with the resurgence of retro desserts.
Asda explained that old-school favourites such as baked Alaska, crème brulee, rice pudding and tiramisu are all set to grace dinner parties across the UK.
The retailer has already started to see this trend in action, with shoppers enjoying and going for its recently launched retro 'school cake'. Thousands of people shared their love for the cakes across social media, and the excitement led to over 5,000 people searching for 'School Cakes' on Asda.com.
As extreme weather events put food production at risk, consumers demand that producers look for more sustainable solutions.
'New Staples' is a trend that Asda has pinpointed as an increasingly prevalent movement thanks to consumers growing understanding of grocery staples' impact on the planet.
The 'New Staples' trend predicts the rise in sales of regenerative crops such as ancient grains and alfalfa that nourish the soil instead of stripping it of nutrients. Another iteration of this trend that Asda expects to see is the surge in seaweed as a food solution since it's one of the most sustainable crops on the planet as it doesn't require fresh water, pesticides, or fertiliser.
Due to rising shipping costs and carbon emissions, retail innovation is turning to freeze-dried, dehydrated, powdered food.
Asda expected to see a rise in "Just Add Water" products like on-the-go cereal and dehydrated oat milk enter the market. The minor nature of these formats means that shipping costs and carbon emissions can be reduced, helping the environment and consumers' pockets.
The 34 trends can be explored in Asda's 2023/2024 trend book.
Commenting on the launch of the second book, Jonathan Moore, Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation at Asda, said that following the success of our inaugural Trend Book last year, ASDA was proud to share its latest iteration and excited to see how it informs our product development over the coming months.
"We have spent months researching and identifying seven mega trends emerging in the UK food scene, alongside delving deeper into the relevant social and cultural drivers behind them. Over the next 18 months, we'll be working hard to bring these trends to life on Asda shelves in a way that's both exciting and accessible for our customers," said Moore.