Eurostar Commodities director Jason Bull said that while inflation, price increases and spiralling transport costs are typically grabbing the prediction headlines for 2022, Eurostar Commodities looks beyond the negative to the get to the heart of the industry.
“If you look beneath the headlines there is a world of food sophistication taking place with a special focus on healthy eating and clean label,” said Bull.
“While the world around us is complex and dark, people want to go back to basics with their food, dropping over-processing in favour of simple, clean foods that people understand are much better for their health.”
The top 10 positive trends the company sees being big news in 2022 include:
1. Clean label
Consumers are increasingly focusing on the ingredients within products and more importantly, the functionality they offer.
“We are as a nation becoming more determined in our efforts to eat cleaner and to eat more sustainably and ridding products of E-numbers, while retaining functionality and quality is a constant goal and will be an ongoing trend for 2022.”
2. Innovative pizza flours
New varieties of pizza flours will come to the fore, with the continued growth and demand for pizza in the UK. Innovations like prebiotic and probiotic pizzas will make an appearance.
3. Sustainable production
With all consumers – and especially the younger set – more focused on climate change, manufacturers need to look for ways to produce more sustainably that is carbon efficient. Full recyclable packaging is necessary for any NPD/new listing opportunities.
4. Climate change
Climate change is having a significant impact on crops and this will continue as the planet heats up. Drought and heatwaves in Canada (the world’s largest exporter) decimated this year’s crop of durum wheat – 45% less wheat was available. This has caused prices to rise by a whopping 90%.
The opposite scenario has happened in Europe, where France had a terrible wheat crop due to poor weather and too much rain. Crop impacts will be seen across the world and should be taken very seriously as a food security risk.
5. Increased costs
Increased costs are being seen in the supply chain across the board, from shipping/freight prices (up to 10x) to energy and production costs to lack of raw material. Also playing a role is a demand that outstrips supply and increased labour costs, as well as shortage of labour driving wage prices up.
Inflation is at a 10-year high and is due to increase further as there is no end in sight to some of the supply chain inflation.
6. Japanese flavours
Food inspired by faraway places has flourished during the pandemic, and experts have tracked a particular interest in Japanese flavours in the build-up to and following the Tokyo Olympics. Sales of umami paste are up 17% and sushi sales are up 54%.
Sushi rice continues to increase in popularity and range extensions are increasing demand in low season periods – such as Sainsbury’s Christmas release of new pigs in blankets sushi.
However, producers need to be aware that the price of paddy rice is increasing and will no longer be available on the open market from March 2022. By spring, the forecast is that there will be no paddy rice left in the entire global market. There will be 13% less rice available in total volume than the previous year.
This will also affect various cereal processing industries that are dependent on rice as a key ingredient.
“We are likely to be looking at a 30% increase in price to consumers,” said Bull.
Recent research by Quorn showed 41% British families were now flexitarian: eating less meat and embracing vegetarian and vegan meals.
Separately, peer reviewed data published in the Lancet shows an absolute decline in red meat consumption per person in the UK. Daily consumption overall is down 13.7g, with a further 7g down on processed meats.
8. Bigger, better breakfast
Cutting the commute during the pandemic meant more people had time for a more leisurely breakfast. Data compiled during the first lockdown found that Brits ate eggs for breakfast 68% more than the previous year. Also up were bacon sales (21%) and pastries (25%), according to Waitrose data.
Netflix’s Fantastic Fungi cast light on the adaptable and humble mushroom last year and this is expected to grow tendrils into this one. They certainly deserve their status as a superfood and will increasingly pop up as the leading ingredient, a flavouring or even to add depth and functionality.
Mushroom powder is being used increasingly with benefits including immune busting, aiding sleep and digestion and improving digestion.
The CBD market exploded in 2021 with a pandemic-weary audience going crazy for its medicinal benefits, claimed to range from pain relief to general wellness. In 2022, we will see more innovation in F&B products hitting health food shops and pharmacies. The big question is whether we see them reach retail and convenience.