Study from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian

To connect with consumers in 2022, food brands need to emphasize immunity, affordability and comfort, according to a new study from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian.

The “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey polled 1,173 registered dietitian nutritionists to see how the pandemic, as well as current developments that include the rise of online shopping, have affected what shoppers are looking for when they head to the grocery aisle.

The main attribute consumers are seeking out when making a food purchase is “convenience,” followed by “healthy” and “taste.” Other big draws include “lower cost” and “natural.”

Perhaps related to that desire for convenience, as well as for pandemic-era safety, is the increasing popularity of online food shopping. Nine out of 10 of those surveyed said that online food shopping is the biggest trend from the pandemic that they expect to continue after the pandemic.

Because of that, the study says marketers should rethink how they engage consumers on virtual shopping platforms. Such strategies as online promotions, digital coupons and immersive virtual branding experiences are suggested as ways to capture the attention of potential customers more effectively.

But an increasingly digital food-shopping environment is not without its drawbacks. Survey respondents noted the growth in false nutrition news. They also encourage consumers to be careful when it comes to the nutrition information handed out by influencers.

Another major trend the study uncovered: We’re snacking more. Almost all (95 percent) of those surveyed said that snacking had gone up during the pandemic, and that consumers are more likely to be seeking out comfort foods.

With the interest in immunity and health also running high, the study also looks at what respondents named the top 10 superfoods. At the top of the list were such fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi. Blueberries, seeds, exotic fruit, avocados and green tea were also cited as popular choices for health-conscious consumers.

However, despite all the changes that the study notes, one of the biggest and longest-lasting trends is one that you were likely taught by your grandmother—eat your vegetables and avoid fast foods.