Research agency Mintel says there are six trends that will fashion Chinese and North Asian consumer markets this year and beyond, several of which have big implications for food and beverage brands.

Mintel names these trends as, Total Wellbeing, Challenge Accepted, Redefining Adulthood. On Display, Social Isolation, and Rethink Plastic.

From these, identifies three of these trends that should resonate with F&B players in particular.

The report says a healthy lifestyle is a goal widely shared by consumers, but busy lifestyles often intervene, forcing people to opt for “what is most convenient, but not always healthy”.

Stressful work and living conditions in Asia encourage consumers to strive to embrace lifestyles and products that support more balanced and healthy options, according to Joyce Lam, Mintel Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific.

“Consumers in Asia are constantly on the lookout for new products and services that can support them in better managing their health with optimal convenience,” she said.

The report highlights the fact that there is “space for brands to explore food and drink products that can boost productivity throughout the day, while balancing energy and rest”.

It also suggests hi-tech may have a role in the food industry of the near-future, giving the example of micro-sensors being used as “a digestible sensor that breaks down your body’s pH levels, macro-nutrients consumed and vitamin intake required”, in order to provide all the information required to reach “total body balance”.

“Rethink Plastic” is all about consumers’ desire to do their bit to help tackle the impact of plastics on the environment – a desire that is currently made difficult by a lack of alternatives, says the report.

“This is driving brands to … come up with innovative and disruptive changes that can potentially replace plastic usage,” it says.

Brands that fail to move away from plastic use could find they are increasingly shunned by plastic-aware consumers, Lam said.

“Challenge Accepted” is Mintel’s take on the trend among many consumers to hunt for experiences rather than material things. And this applies also to food and dining choices.

It means food brands will be challenged in 2019 and beyond to “become more experiential, more engaging and fun”, said Lam.

They will need to understand the needs of their customers better and “provide products and services that helps consumers achieve these goals, and adapt with them as the bar is constantly raised”.

Sourced from Food Navigator Asia; additional content by WARC staff