4 Trends from the SIAL

by Aurore de Monclin

SIAL was as buoyant as usual in so many aspects with the post-pandemic seeing positive transformational changes for consumers.

I brought to you 4 trends that I see very impactful for the Food & Drinks industry as they are tackling some real consumer frustrations:

  • #1: Physical shopping has become stressful as I am overwhelmed by choices
  • #2: How to regain control of what’s good for me and the planet
  • #3: Why should I compromise between Health & Pleasure
  • #4: I now worry about the Ocean too

Trend 1:
Breathing a new life into physical shopping: when Online merges Offline 

Consumers keep expressing how the weekly food shopping in supermarkets has become stressful. They feel overwhelmed by choices. Although shopping online is a highly convenient alternative, it makes buying food lacking enjoyment and people feel they are missing out on new discoveries.

We now see that the future can provide a fully merged online-offline experience.

Three things caught my attention on the future of retailing as displayed in SIAL Future Lab:

  • •   The future shelf becomes educational with a simple display of products which can be scanned for information, ratings or suggestions for alternatives. Using your smartphone, you flash, pay and then pick up. The actual products are in a storage room at the back end of the supermarket which we never see. You have therefore to imagine a shop with no tills, no queues!
  • •   70% of physical space is free up for experiences dedicated to new discoveries to entice consumers. Shopping becomes a lovely walk among islands with cooking theatres, coffee shops to meet up with friends, lounging areas to read information about products etc
  • •   The use of pre-order to limit waste and achieve better prices. For example, the more mums pre-order their back to school shopping list, the cheaper each item becomes.
Store of future shown at SIAL

Trend 2:
We can choose the world in which we live in

Post-pandemic research conducted by SIAL Insights has shown that 63% of consumers still strongly believe what they choose to eat will have an immediate effect on the world in which they live.

Consumers favour on top of health driven options, the purchases prioritizing local food, an ingredients list they understand without additives and products being produced whilst respecting the environment. As we have seen from our clients’ work consumers are also now attentive to the whole supply chain and agricultural practices come under scrutiny leading to emerging movements such as regeneration.

Finally, as waste reduction and recyclable packaging is fast becoming the new norm, zero waste is now a top environmental action for the activist consumers who believe that the best waste is the waste that has never even be produced.

Abunda Mycoprotein from Enough-food

Trend 3:
Healthy Pleasure as the new norm

Enjoyment is back but combined with health & simplicity. Consumers also seek satisfaction both physically and mentally, something we had already identified in our mental well-being report (add link) showcasing that consumers want feel-good indulgence.

Boosting Enjoyment and Nutrition values are driving Plant-based consumption towards mass-market, we see Plant-based brands such as Heura talking to the Meat Lovers or Onami Foods being all about the taste first whilst also showcasing a Nutriscore A.

Trend 4:
Fish and Seafood are moving plant-based

Seafood is still one of the world’s biggest commodity food.
As 35% of consumers worldwide stopped eating meat or are actively eating less, seafood is the latest category embracing the plant-based wave.

At present the drop in consumption is still among the activist consumers who have ethical concerns in terms of ocean pollution, conservation of bio-diversity and animal welfare.

SIAL Innovation revealed products that are working on making seafood alternative appealing especially with the use of seaweed /algae.

One challenge though is that the vegan consumers is not looking for a mimick of fish, tuna and seafood but would rather embrace a new food experience.

Any natural vegan ingredient from the sea would be attractive in this product for example Nori, Wakame or Kelp. Although algae may make consumers think of overgrown ponds, Wakami and Nori which are a type of algae feel like authentic Asian ingredients. In general, consumers like the idea of getting the fishy flavour from natural sea ingredients.



The 4 key trends in SIAL mark major product and market trends in response to consumer narrative shifts:

  • 1. We see a future with fully-merged online-offline shopping experience, bringing consumers the best of both worlds while avoiding pitfalls.
  • 2. Consumers realise that they can and want to make choices that have a positive impact.
  • 3. Healthy pleasure is the new norm, neither is comprisable. Moreover, consumers now are seeking satisfaction both physically and mentally.
  • 4. Plant- based innovation is now also coming to fish and sea- food as the next frontier.

SIAL once again was really inspiring and gave us a lot to think about. But what do these trends mean for you? To be successful you need to know which trend is right for your brand and your market and your target consumer. With 80% of new product launches failing within 12 months, especially in times of recession, it is more important than ever to know what do these shifts mean for your brand and how to improve your hit rate. Our methodology, the FourFactors® of Success gives you a practical ‘back of an envelope’ checklist that takes the guesswork out of food and health marketing. If you want to know more don’t hesitate to contact me at aurore@thehmt.com