It’s another crazy Monday, my fellow nerds! And with everything that’s going on, the last thing you probably want in your inbox is more news. 📰 Never fear; The Modern Health Nerd is always ready to deliver something unique, mind-blowing and generally different from what’s wafting across the mainstream airwaves.
Today’s focus is — surprise, surprise — food! 😋 Things are changing fast in the food system around the world, and the competition for space on store shelves (and consumers’ plates) is heating up. 🥩
Eating at Home: More Than a Passing Trend
According to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, more people will be eating or preparing food “at home for the foreseeable future.” 🍴 This declaration is based on the grocery chain’s sales trends during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as conversations with consumers.
What are retailers and brands doing in response?
- In Manhattan West, it’s beginning to look a lot like year-round fresh basil with Whole Foods’ indoor vertical farm installation from Farm.One.
- Beyond Meat is making animal-free meatballs even easier with its new product, which hits shelves in select stores this week.
- Some of the biggest brands are hoping people will eat less healthily and are pouring a ton of energy into milking the pandemic for all it’s worth.
How consumers respond to the combination of new products, innovative technologies and good(?) old-fashioned marketing 📺 will determine exactly what kind of at-home meals wind up on tables — and what products will see the most demand in the near future.
Clean Meat: Totally Necessary, or Just Plain Weird?
A new survey out of Australia suggests lab-grown meat 🥩 🧪 has a long way to go if it wants to establish a positive reputation among Gen Z. Only 28% of those surveyed considered cultured meat to be “acceptable” or “possibly acceptable.”
Their main concerns:
- Is it healthy? 💪🏻
- Is it safe?
- Is it actually better for the environment?
- Is it going to taste gross? 🤢
The lead researcher concluded that, for lab-grown meat to woo the younger generation, producers will have to focus on making it “emotionally and intellectually appeal[ing] 👨🎓 to the Gen Z consumers.”
Those who include meat in their diets 🍔 are demanding a different kind of “clean.“ The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a mass re-evaluation of artificial and chemical ingredients, leading omnivores to seek meat produced without common preservatives.
Meanwhile, investors are banking on omnivores ditching meat completely, or at least being open to flexitarianism. 🥬 Fundraising among startups specializing in “innovative food and ingredients” skyrocketed 🚀 in the first half of 2020, completely surpassing the entirety of 2019.
What (About) the Health?
All this begs the question: How concerned should brands be about creating products that appeal to consumers’ desires for healthier lifestyles? 🏃🏻♀️ 🏃🏼
Despite all the recent hoopla between LightLife and the likes of Beyond Meat, consumer data still shows that people want something tasty, 🌭🥓🍗 even if it doesn’t necessarily jive with their health goals. That means it’s up to companies to decide what values they want to communicate through their brands—and stick to them as the market continues to evolve.
Asia Eyes Food Security Measures as Alt Meat Companies Fight for Market Share
Look out, China, here comes Beyond Meat. And perhaps Impossible Foods. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about native companies like Starfield. With the way things are going, plant-based 🌱 meat producers are going to be elbowing each other out of the way as they try to grab shares of the Asian market.
Who succeeds may depend on the ability to meet the major challenges Asian countries face with regards to food security. Consumers in this area of the world need products they can find at local stores and afford to buy. The second remains a big hurdle for alt protein brands seeking to compete with animal meats, particularly in countries where price sensitivity is high. 🍖
So, how is that? Better than your standard daily headlines? I hope so! This is the stuff that’s really been fascinating me, and I love sharing it with you. 😃
And I’m always interested in hearing what you think! What’s your take on how the food system is changing? 👇🏻👇🏻