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The 2015 Trends and Futures in Food + Drink

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Until recently, it would have been difficult to imagine butter gracing the front cover of British Vogue. But in June, the new superfood to watch made its fashion debut as part of a new breed of cultured products being championed by both chefs and the fashionable elite.

A new report on food and drink trends from the JWT Intelligence Group highlights this as one of many examples of how attitudes to food and drink are shifting. The report explores how trends and innovations, such as this new wave of cultured commodities, look set to inform our dining futures. “Today’s food and drink consumers are more sophisticated than ever before,” said Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group. “Our research shows that both US and UK consumers are placing increasing importance on food and drink as a reflection of their personal identity.”

Fat is back on menus, ‘Flexitarism’ and ‘Healthism’ have been dubbed the mantras of the moment

Key to their identity is liberation from strict food doctrines. Health-conscious millennials are having their cake and eating it. As a result, fat is back on menus and ‘Flexitarism’ and ‘Healthism’ have been dubbed the mantras of the moment.

Butter, oils, milk and yoghurts used to be dirty words for healthy minds, but recently The Wall Street Journal reported US consumers are after: “real ingredients, real food and real fat”. This isn’t in the artery clogging forms of yesteryear though. Here in the UK, Hemsley + Hemsley, famed for their nutrient-rich recipes, are coconut oil evangelists. “There’s a myth that saturated fats are bad for you,” Jasmine Hemsley, told The Independent. “Natural fats, like pure, cold-pressed coconut oils, are great for you and are really easy to digest.”

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Balance is key to the lifestyle millennials are striving to maintain. A desire to let loose but stay in shape means exercise and partying now go hand in hand. Cold-pressed juices, late night yoga sessions and low-calorie cocktails have fallen in step. Gone are the days of nursing a soft drink after a work-out. This mix of health and hedonism has been dubbed ‘Healthism’ and brands are sensing this shift in attitudes and doing more to be more transparent. In June, Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine disavowed diet marketing in a move to be more relevant.

Another buzz word highlighted in the report is ‘Flexitarianism'. Vegetarian attitudes are relaxing; a reflection of the availability of high-quality, ethical meat products. California’s Belcampo Meat Co. is a prime example of a brand aimed at consumers with this mentality. Founder Anya Fernald told The New Yorker. “The early-life, twenty-something vegetarians are our target market, they’re the people willing to spend money on meat later in life.”

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Social media plays a key role in how these trends play out across our lives. “Food is becoming more important to people’s sense of identity,” says Sam Bompas of experiential food design duo Bompas & Parr. People aren’t interested in standard food images anymore. Instead, Instagram users are following accounts such as @symmetrybreakfast and @thisismold who use novel images to explore visual relationships to food in futuristic ways.  

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Studio Apetit

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Lernert & Sander

As our sense of personal identity is increasingly shaped by food, there's some exciting times ahead for our tastebuds. Enjoy!

The full report is available for purchase here after the jump

The 93-page report includes:

  • A survey of 1,000 US and UK consumers from SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s research unit 10 pages of infographics revealing surprising shifts in consumer attitudes toward food and drink
  • Analysis of the key factors driving shifting conceptions of food and drink
  • 18 key trends in the food and drink sectors reflecting changing consumer mindsets
  • Five in-depth case studies of innovators already responding to these shifts in dining and hospitality

Check out more from Lucie Green in her interview with Creativepool founder, Michael Tomes, in the exclusive New York: Green Cab Interview

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