News Corp has released findings from the News Food Corp Network’s Trend Forecast – 2023 Special Edition, a rich insight into the millions of Australians who connect with the company’s food brands.
Looking at the year ahead, the special edition of the Trend Forecast reveals the shifts and trends that will have the largest influence on consumer food behaviours, and the strategic opportunities these present for brands.
Managing director, food and travel Fiona Nilsson said: “This is the sixth year of our Forecast and the trends identified in the 2023 special report show it is more relevant than ever, presenting opportunities for brands to align their content marketing strategies with what’s driving consumer behaviour around food.
“We have focused on the seismic shifts of Covid-19 and the rising cost of living and the impacts these are having, and will continue to have, on Australian food habits, along with the key trends and seasonal insights we’re seeing for the year ahead. These are the things marketers need to know to connect with their consumers that we believe will be driving the biggest actions in 2023.”
Cost of living impacts over the next twelve months are expected to be the major factor shaping consumers’ lives, particularly in what they eat, what they cook and how they entertain.
The report found that 75 per cent of consumers are experiencing greater cost of living pressures compared to last year, and 70 per cent expect that the pressure will continue to become greater in the next year. Groceries are the number one noticeable price increase impacting households currently, ranking ahead of fuel, bills, rent and mortgages, entertainment and eating out.
Covid has impacted Australians and how they engage with food in several meaningful ways and these trends will continue through to 2023 and beyond. Eating at home has increased by 38 per cent, and for convenience, 2.2 million more people are now often choosing frozen or chilled ready prepared meals. Eating for health, such as vegetarian meals and buying organic or minimally processed foods have all increased since Covid, however, 73 per cent like to eat healthily but do not want to compromise on taste.
The pandemic has driven significant change in the food and retail space with consumer brand loyalty also seeing a shakeup. The disruption to how, where and when people purchase has created new brand relationships, and 60 per cent are expected to stick with these new options into the future.
Everyday 80 million data points are generated by the 6.5 million Australians who connect with News Corp Australia’s network of food brands, providing real-time information on what Australian’s are planning, shopping, cooking and sharing in food. This data is combined with primary research and industry reports and turned into key insights that are then overlaid with the expertise and foresight of the company’s editorial food experts.
The virtual presentation featured Nilsson and News Corp Australia thought leadership and food industry experts including Leigh Lavery, head of growth intelligence, client and commercial; Laura Simpson, digital director of mass food; Brodee Myers-Cooke, editorial director of mass food; and Kerrie McCallum, editorial director – premium food & travel.
KEY TRENDS IDENTIFIED FOR 2023
A GOLDEN AGE OF ENTERTAINING
Entertaining has moved beyond the holiday periods. Socialising at home is now a year-round pursuit, with more people socialising at home with friends and family – and favourite big occasions like Christmas and Easter, will be bigger than ever before.
- Dining In – Last quarter alone, entertaining occasions with family and friends were up 30 per cent, with the dinner party making a big comeback up 34 per cent.
- The BBQ is Back – A new era of casual outdoor cooking.
- Luxe Casual – When it comes to entertaining, the need is for fuss-free, and as effortless as possible, as well as being fabulous of course.
- The Flavour Journey – 79 per cent of Australians now say they enjoy food from all over the world and 60 per cent also love trying new foods.
HEALTH BY STEALTH
This trend captures the really significant turn health has taken. Australians are taking charge of their health like never before. They are now actively ‘opting in’ to health and wellness, and they are stealthier than ever, particularly in the way they approach food.
- Optimisers – There is a rise in intention with 91 per cent of people reporting they are opting in on improving their health and wellbeing. Over a range of know-how levels, they are either wanting to move forward, or actively doing so.
- Customisers – Relevance and personalisation is critical when talking about healthy content and products.
- Fast Food Alternatives – Since the onset of Covid, fast food consumption has steadily increased. For both health and budget reasons, people are searching for home-cooked meals that simulate fast food. They want to shop fast and cook fast.
- Snack Nation – The snackification trend keeps growing. Almost 50 per cent of consumers report that they snack throughout the day, with 60 per cent preferring healthy snacks. This is now year round, not just in the traditional periods of spring and summer.
Convenient dining solutions exploded during Covid and have continued to be a popular alternative. Consumers are looking for effortless solutions, but it needs to be impressive, with supercharged flavour and an enhanced experience, every step of the way.
- Time Poor Cooks – Over a quarter of Australians say they don’t have time to cook. The weeknight cook has never been in such need of clever fast-track solutions.
- Click Crazy – Time pressures are changing the wider journey of getting food into the kitchen. Online supermarket shopping has almost tripled since the start of Covid. Click and collect is up 1.1 million since last year; and 3.7 million since pre-Covid.
- Fast & Effortless – Consumers are wanting fast and effortless, with a premium edge, as quick and easy is no longer enough. Popular search terms like ‘one pan’, ‘one pot’, and ‘tray bakes’ are hitting new heights across the company’s food websites.
- In the Mix – Home baking keeps rising, well after Covid lockdowns. In fact, retail growth of cake mixes is up 7 per cent over the year.
THE POST-COVID KITCHEN
There is no doubt the Aussie kitchen is changing. From the rapidly rising intention to buy large and small appliances, to the increase in people having dedicated areas within their home purely to store their small appliances.
- The Small Appliance Boom – This has been building and the air fryer in particular keeps growing. Now the buzz is around using small appliances like air fryers over the traditional oven to save on energy costs
- The Power of Video – It seems there’s a ‘can’t look away effect’ like no other when appliances, recipes and video come together. It has driven several tens of millions of video views for taste.com.au.
- Integrated & Hybrid – Get set for integration of kitchen appliances into ever-more modular kitchens in 2023. Families are looking for built-in kitchen appliances, including hybrid appliances like cooktops that combine gas and induction, and microwaves that can be used as a conventional and a steam oven.
- Excellent Efficiency – Eco-friendly and energy efficient appliances are already driving growth in this sector. Cost of living pressures will push that further, along with cost savings to be found by using small appliances.
Christmas 2022 – Predictions
- Buffets are back – fresh, flavour-packed, crowd-pleasing spreads, and not just mains, desserts too
- Special diets – gluten free, vegetarian and vegan will be menu must-haves
- Desserts with a difference – show stopping desserts with a difference
Spring/Summer 2022-23 – Movers and Shakers
Already underway, Christmas is now far more than a big occasion, it’s a full-on, seasonal event over the spring/summer period. The movers and shakers over this season are at scale and rising.
- Christmas salads – a remarkable uplift of over 3,500 per cent to last year
- Aperol Spritz – up 3,000 per cent, more than just Aperol is the rise of fun drinks
- Guacamole recipes – up 633 per cent year-on-year
Autumn/Winter 2023 – Movers and Shakers
Comfort, entertaining, budget and convenience are the movers and shakers over this season.
- Finger food for parties – An out of the box result that is brand new for this time of year showing entertaining is now year round
- Freezer friendly – Consumers are looking for time and money saving solutions
- Easter baking – A 254 per cent uplift for Easter baking, all about entertaining, and showing that the passion for sweet baking during Covid is clearly not going away anytime soon