From as simple as wanting to improve our general well-being and health, to concerns about the much more complex and dangerous rise of diabetes and obesity related illnesses, as well as recognition of the array of ailments that stem from malnutrition, we more than ever want what we eat to positively impact our quality of life. Research findings generally encourage the consumption of some foods, discourage excessive intake of others, and constantly tell us how much better our lives would be if we become more mindful of what we eat and drink.
We’ve also come to recognize and genuinely care about the impact that our collective farming actions have on the environment. Whether it’s consuming less meats or ordering in fewer packages that often make their way to our oceans, we don’t want to add to the planet’s burdens at every snack and meal.
New trends are emerging in the types of foods we’re seeking, and the ways we want it to be produced and delivered to us. Trends driven by research from global entities and private food companies and fueled by findings that have taught us what’s better to eat, and how best to grow and acquire it.
Of those, MAGGI is outlining fifteen that are leading the way into the future of what and how we eat…
Food, Health, and Obesity in the Middle East and North Africa
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report has put nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) among those with the planet’s highest obesity levels, ranging from 30% to 37%. The region also suffers from undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
This reality has brought with it rising diabetes rates, with MENA countries now projected to have 96.2% more diabetics by 2035 . Three major micronutrient deficiencies are high in the Eastern Mediterranean, where 45% of the population suffers from iron deficiency anemia , 54% receives insufficient iodine , and 22% of preschool children have vitamin A deficiency .
Within that context arises a clear need for better eating habits and a growing trend favoring healthy and delicious home-cooked meals.
While eating fresh remains optimal, an ever-growing population on a planet already hosting around 8 billion people means food needs to be more sustainably sourced and packaged, while healthy eating options are delivered more practically.
1Bisher Abuyassin & Ismail Laher. Diabetes epidemic sweeping the Arab world. World J Diabetes. 2016 Apr 25; 7(8): 165–174
2Regional Strategy on Nutrition 2010-2019/World Health Organization.(WHO-EM/NUT/256/E)2011Link: http://www.emro.who.int/fr/health-topics/micronutrients/Page-1.htm
3Regional Strategy on Nutrition 2010-2019/World Health Organization.(WHO-EM/NUT/256/E)2011Link: http://www.emro.who.int/fr/health-topics/micronutrients/Page-1.html
4Regional Strategy on Nutrition 2010-2019/World Health Organization.(WHO-EM/NUT/256/E)2011Link: http://www.emro.who.int/fr/health-topics/micronutrients/Page-1.html
Enter MAGGI’s Simply Good initiative, making a palpable impact on enhancing people’s lives through four values:
Eating healthier also means consuming less salt sugar and fat. MAGGI is gradually reducing salt to slowly change acquired tastes for it, and help people stick to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of no more than 5 grams of salt per day. It’s being replaced in products with spices, herbs, and evolving culinary techniques to boost flavor. In addition, trans fats have been completely eliminated from products, and saturated fats are continuously being reduced. MAGGI also prioritizes commonly used oils, rich in unsaturated fatty acids such sunflower oil and olive oil.
Fortifications in foods are also being addressed to tackle specific deficiencies in various communities, with the example of MAGGI in 2019 delivering more than 5.2 billion food servings fortified with iodine in the region, to address one of its essential nutrient deficiencies.
In addition, MAGGI is further introducing more vegetables, grains, and pulses into products.
The world today is witnessing major changes in how people approach and deal with food, as science continues to evolve general knowledge of what balanced meals need to contain, and environmental considerations drive a reevaluation of how food is sourced and packaged. Some of the key food related trends are outlined on the following pages, gearing towards Authenticity, Nutrition for Health, and Flavor Experiences.
“Just take me back to the basics”
People today want to eat authentic food and are actively seeking transparency about where their food comes from and what it contains.
Growing demand for transparent packaging and purity of ingredients is leading to short, simple and recognizable ingredients lists that only contain understandable, recognizable, and trustworthy ingredients. Packaging claims are showcasing simplicity and naturalness of ingredients. Mobile apps further engage with product histories. Meanwhile, people are increasingly expecting brands to communicate their intentions more honestly, and for them to fully commit to change the world for the better.
This is being translated into the simplification of 100% of ingredients lists, freeing food from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives as well as select ingredients of concern, going organic, and improving packaging to naturally preserve contents.
Cooking brings good food moments to individuals and families, while providing control over what goes into meals. Younger generations are seeking healthy cooking aids that allow them to infuse flavor and zest into their dishes with less hassle and more time to spare.
Tracing the Food Journey
Rising expectations for ethical, sustainable sourcing and knowledge of ingredients are encouraging people to become more informed and active around the origin of their foods. Witnessing where food originates shows care and ultimately defines one as a ‘smarter’ shopper. Technology is further empowering people to trace the origin and history of food.
People are increasingly interested in understanding the journey of their food from farm to fork. They want to know how ingredients are grown, picked, produced, packaged, and transported.
Greater care for resources and beyond
Increased interest in healthy food has also come with demand for alternative sources of farming and production to protect the environment and promote sustainability. A greater requirement for general public welfare has also become a key consideration, so has increased engagement in causes impacting the community.
This includes the pursuit of “smart” solutions to proactively save and enhance resources, including optimizing products to promote recyclable, biodegradable, and reusable packaging, and the further use of recycled material.
An estimated 30% of food produced is wasted every year, making tackling food waste a mission for brands, retailers, chefs, and governments. “Imperfect” items, unusual cuts, non-traditionally shaped fruits and vegetables will come into higher demand as smart eating is acknowledged as consuming quality natural food of any shape. Making use of nature’s leftovers that are just as nutritious has thus created new product innovations, helping people explore more from available trusted staples.
People are also aiming to solely buy the amount of food they estimate they can consume and planning their meals to consciously avoid food wastage at home. Pre-portioned meal preparation kits, smart recipes, and smaller servings of various products are helping them do just that.
Re-awakening of Ancient Wisdom
People are reconnecting with ancient diets and are seeking ingredients that enhance gentle digestion. Various sources of protein are now popular replacements for grains and carbs, with a greater shift towards more plant-based and reduced meat diets. Both retailers and restaurants are increasingly offering alternative plant-based options.
This includes incorporating cultural traditions from around the world, ancient ingredients that are tried and tested in different societies, as well as “super grains” and “superfoods.”
“Consumers are increasingly thinking of the functional benefits of food”
Indulging consciously with higher awareness of nutritional value is occurring hand in hand with rising expectations from food, and growing understanding of ingredients. This means more informed people are striving to improve their physical health, general stamina, and emotional wellness through what they choose to eat and drink.
With increasing overweight and obesity rates come changing eating habits towards more healthy foods, with less fat, salt, and sugar sought, while taste, nutritional value, and satiety are still desired.
Brands need to help people understand the best route to good health, achieve a healthier diet, and reassure younger generations that “healthy” doesn’t have to mean bland and dull.
Consuming the wide range of nutrients our body needs doesn’t entail eating outsized portions of various food. People more and more want to effectively understand and control how much they eat, with satisfying meals and snacks that provide the nutrients they need in small portions. To help them determine their ideal food quantities, brands are better defining and advising the right portion size and devising easy solutions to monitor food intake. Accordingly, smaller plates, single portions, re-sealable packaging, and consumption monitoring tools are growing in popularity.
Eating less, more often is increasingly being recognized as a way to safely manage weight, aid digestion and maintain and improve energy levels. This has led to consumers and brands splitting meals into smaller sizes and across multiple occasions throughout the day. As a result, “Smeals,” or small meals, are rising in popularity. In the future, people will be looking to advance their snacking behavior to fit their biological rhythms, through snacking formats that offer a specific nutritional value depending on the moment they are consumed.
Free from Foods
The ongoing pursuit of a healthy lifestyle has encouraged many people to cut out food elements that they believe have a negative impact on their health. In the past, eliminating gluten or dairy from a diet would have stemmed from a medical recommendation. Now many “normal” consumers are carrying out these same eliminations because they believe they make them feel and look healthier. This has led to a rise in foods that are consciously “free from” specific ingredients – allowing the removal of certain elements from diets, such as gluten, allergens, or lactose, without needing to dramatically change shopping and eating habits.
Plant-based diets in the form of vegetarianism and a growing trend towards veganism have been popular for some time, generally driven by a concern for animal welfare. Increasingly though, plant-based food choices are being driven by a quest for improved health – the perception being that meat free diets are healthier, even if only followed occasionally. A pursuit of sustainability is also a factor in this trend, with many recognizing that meat production is environmentally harmful and believing that they benefit the planet and themselves by eating plant-based proteins at least some of the time.
Enhanced Nutritional Benefits
As people develop stronger understanding of the importance of nutrients to their bodies’ strength and health, they are looking for means to quickly and easily boost their nutritional intake. In order to make this as efficient and focused as possible, they want to be informed as to what benefits specific nutrients deliver for their personal health. Brands are accordingly looking to explore new ways of making vital nutrients more accessible through their products.
Rising awareness of the relationship between internal organs and our physical health and performance is increasing realization that a strong and healthy lifestyle should be proactive, not reactive. Thus, more and more people are aiming to deliberately care for key elements of their body – by consciously eating foods that nurture the gut microbiome and the brain and regulate hormonal level – positively impacting general health and state of mind. These include probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented ingredients.
People are increasingly becoming wise to the fact that what they choose to eat and drink will have a significant impact on their outward appearance. This has led to growing interest in foods that are believed to actively improve beauty, providing a natural proactive alternative to the reactive use of medicines and many beauty products. These include ingredients recognized to enhance skin, hair, and nail health.
Food is a joyous ride!
Discovery of Other Cuisines and Cultures
The world is witnessing greater appetite and potential for discovering and sharing global food experiences. Greater ease of connection with the global community has meant that people are better able to access and appreciate cuisines from other cultures. This has the dual benefit of allowing them to extend their taste and flavor enjoyment and repertoire, whilst also demonstrating their global sophistication to friends and family. Chefs and food opinion leaders will continue to shape the public’s openness to exploring new cultures of food, ranging from single cuisines to specific local foods.
Feeling of Exclusivity
Everyday food can be made to feel exclusive by the associations that consumers can connect it to. Traditionally this would have been delivered by high-end, niche manufacturers/brands, but now even mainstream brands can harness “exclusivity” in a number of ways – via packaging, limited edition products, or partnerships with high-end brands.
As part of MAGGI’s “Simply Good” initiative to inspire and offer tastier and healthier choices, in line with Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, we have been working to ensure the 100% simplification of our ingredients, increasing vegetables, pulses, and grains, fortifying with micronutrients, eliminating trans fats and reducing salt and saturated fat, while maintaining the same great tastes people love.
MAGGI is also deriving inspiration from today’s food trends and research into healthier eating, infusing new ingredients and recipes into all our offerings to both elevate well-being and delight taste buds!
MAGGI –Creating Good Food moments through innovations since 1884.