Food for Thought - April 2022

Food facts and figures related articles and reports that are essential reading.

April 07, 2022
Kathryn Race
The outline of a head filled with fresh vegetables on a grey background
April 07, 2022
Kathryn Race

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.

UK veg consumption drops: Households on lower incomes are buying fewer fresh vegetables as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, research by VegPower has found. Nearly half (49%) of households earning less than £30,000 say they have cut back on veg because of soaring grocery bills. To manage inflation, households are buying more veg on promotion and switching to frozen. [Source: The Grocer]

Rise of the Nordic diet: After years of focus on the Mediterranean-style diet, the Nordic diet is gaining traction in healthy eating circles. The diet is rich in fruit (particularly berries), veg, nuts, seeds, fish and rapeseed oil, and research by the University of Copenhagen suggests it can have significant health benefits, including for heart health. [Source: Science Focus]

Switching to greener jobs: Three in five working Brits would consider leaving their current job for a ‘greener’ role, according to a survey of 3,200 UK workers. 15% of workers would be prepared to take a wage cut for a new employer with strong environmental credentials. [Source: edie]

Ikea and food: About 30% of Ikea shoppers go to the store just for the food, Ikea’s own research suggests. It’s one of the reasons why the furniture chain keeps investing in its food business and is increasingly experimenting with new sustainable food concepts, including a vegetarian roof top snack bar in Vienna. [Source: Eater]

The global influencer economy: Global spending on influencers by brands could reach $16 billion in 2022, accounting for more than one in 10 ad dollars spent on social media. Some forecasts expect the size of the global influencer economy to reach $85 billion by 2028. [Source: The Economist]

The language of greenwashing: This BBC guide to greenwashing tells consumers to be on high alert for terms such as ‘eco’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’, which sustainability experts quoted in the article say are often a tell-tale sign of greenwashing. They also advise shoppers to be wary of brands making headline-grabbing claims: “Sustainable solutions are often quiet.” [Source: BBC Future]

How the skin barrier went mainstream: Once a dermatological term that few consumers had heard of, the hashtag #skinbarrier now has more than 300 million views on TikTok and huge traction with Gen Z. There are some fascinating lessons in this on how brands (including food brands) can use social media to help educate consumers on more niche health concepts. [Source: Glossy]

Distilling in the metaverse: Tequila brand Jose Cuervo is planning to open a virtual distillery in the metaverse this summer. “Virtual environments provide a ripe opportunity to teach people about the brand's products on a deeper, more memorable level, as seven in 10 Gen Z and millennial consumers have expressed interest in using the metaverse, per Harris Poll data cited in Jose Cuervo's announcement.” [Source: Marketing Dive]

Spending big on audio: To better reach younger audiences, a growing number of brands, including DTC players, are shifting their digital marketing spend to digital audio formats such as podcasts. In the US alone, marketers are set to spend $5.7 billion on digital audio in 2022, up 14% on 2021. In response, podcast CPMs are soaring and now eclipse the cost of streaming TV ads in some cases. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

History of the fish finger: Invented by Clarence Birdseye, ‘fish sticks’ first hit the US market in the early 1950s. They were renamed ‘fish fingers’ for the UK following a poll of female factory workers, and within 10 years of going on sale here they accounted for 10% of UK fish consumption. [Source: Quartz]