Alternative and “Eco” Diets Trending Around the World
Trying to understand food trends on a global level is not only a challenging task, but it is also big business. There are many stakeholders who want to stay ahead of the curve to be able to supply the food that people will be demanding a year or more from now. Mintel, a private research company with a “team of global food and drink expert analysts,” regularly undertakes research to stay on top of such trends, and occasionally releases reports that aggregate their findings into easy-to-understand global overviews.
This report for 2016 focuses on a number of key areas that Mintel’s team of experts believe are “mainstreaming” around the world. They note that “natural disasters, the media, tightly held misconceptions, mass-connectivity and a draw to simplicity are influencing food and drink habits worldwide like never before.” Among the key areas identified is a special focus on what the authors refer to as “eco” diets and “alternatives” (by which they mean alternatives to meat). The experts state that “drought, worries about food waste and other natural phenomena not only affect the worldwide food and drink supply, but influence preparation and production,” and consumers have taken this to heart. Their map shows that the “eco” trend is still considered to be emerging in North and South America, while it is mainstreaming across Europe and Russia. In regard to “alternatives,” the researchers note encouragingly that “veggie burgers and non-dairy milks have escaped the realm of substitutes […] foreshadowing a profoundly changed marketplace in which what was formerly ‘alternative’ could take over the mainstream.” Their map shows that alternatives are mainstreaming in North America, Europe, Russia, and Australia, while they are still emerging in places such as South America, Africa, and parts of South Asia.
Though the study is available online, the downside is that the source data and specific numbers used to draw these conclusions are unfortunately not accessible. So, while the reader may be able to draw some hopeful conclusions about the direction that things are heading, citing specific statistics isn’t possible.