Food for Thought - March 2023

Spotting interesting trends and finding noteworthy food facts and figures is a big part of what we do at Ceres. Here are 10 recent articles, reports and long reads that made us stop and think.

March 16, 2023
Tia Drinkwater
A plate with a question mark on it, with a spoon, fork and knife
March 16, 2023
Tia Drinkwater

Colours within food impact the ways we experience it

It is widely recognised that we tend to eat with our eyes; consumers usually settle on a decision after just 90 seconds, and up to 90% of that single decision is typically made based on the colours of a product alone. Colours such as reds, oranges and yellows are shades that are often utilised by food brands, as they are proven to stimulate the senses and make us feel hungry. The rise of social media means consumers are also often looking for aesthetically pleasing products to share to their feeds.

Gourmet food in the sky?

There are many barriers when it comes to creating cuisine for flights, including the fact that when we fly, we lose around 30% of our taste. Now though, there are hopes that passengers will soon be elevated not only in flight, but also in food options on board as airline food could be getting the upgrade everyone has been waiting for. Gategroup presented six dishes that could be making an appearance in air, including duck rillettes with ratatouille pickles and a whipped blue cheese dip. High-flyers are also getting more plant-based options and incorporating fermented foods.

And up in space…

Whilst preserved food will remain part of astronaut’s diets for the foreseeable future, there are increasing debates on how to get fresh fruit and vegetables within their diet due to some mental health concerns. Hence, the birth of the ‘astronaut salad’ which can be made from nutritious foods such as kale, sweet potato, and sunflower seeds that can all be grown in space.

Overconsumption of the Earth’s resources by the rich must be halted.

The new executive secretary for the UN convention on biological diversity, said that rich nations need to act immediately on this decade’s deal to halt overconsumption. The deal includes targets to protect 30% of the Earth and discloses the impact businesses can have on biodiversity. The results must be achieved by 2030 so action needs to be taken now as scientists believe humans are causing Earth’s sixth mass extinction event due to overconsumption and pollution, causing the largest loss of life since the dinosaurs.

The supermarket veg shortage

In February, many retailers rationed the quantity of certain fresh products, such as tomatoes, with restrictions being lifted in early March. Whilst difficult weather conditions contributed to this, it is also reported that British farmers had reduced production due to increasing costs of heating greenhouses, and effects of Brexit.


And there may be more to come…

Some everyday essentials, such as coffee, bananas and dark chocolate, are also at risk of becoming endangered due to climate change in the next 3 decades. A new report shows that around 90% of Fairtrade Kenyan coffee farmers are feeling the effects of climate change. These commodities often originate from countries that are vulnerable to threats caused by climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss.

Cost of living crisis or personal health?

Whilst shopping is still forecast to remain cost-centric, according to some reports, health and wellness is still shaping food shopping for others. Consumers are specifically willing to prioritise- and even pay a higher price for- ingredients that benefit their health, even during the cost-of-living-crisis, which indicates a consistent concern for health, post-pandemic. Consumers have a willingness to pay a higher price in return for health benefits.

The ‘Lipstick Effect’

However, it’s not all about health, as consumers are also cheering themselves up with treats in times of hardship. Consumers are still making time for sweet treats to experience ‘edible escapism’. Dessert trends are changing with consumers tending to eat these as a single indulgent snack at other times in the day, particularly later in the evening.

Is being eco-friendly the new rich lifestyle?

Many Brits are struggling to be sustainable as four in ten cannot afford to live the green lifestyle, with a study of 2,000 adults finding that they need at least £389 in spare cash. However, studies over the past three years have shown a willingness for British people to be more sustainable but are being pushed away from that lifestyle, due to reductions in disposable income and a perceived lack of sustainable options available to them.

Virtual Flavours

A Canadian-based flavour company is elevating taste creation, with the latest flavour concepts using virtual worlds and opportunities from the metaverse. The new flavours, such as ‘Flavour Punch’ and ‘Cyber Treat’, have been designed to allow consumers to take ownership of their tasting experience and create a journey that will elevate senses and push boundaries of taste innovation to deliver the best product experience.