Food for Thought - July 2022

10 recent articles, reports and long reads that made us stop and think

July 14, 2022
Jennifer John
The outline of a head filled with fresh vegetables on a grey background
July 14, 2022
Jennifer John

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.

Unhealthy compromise: Research by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising suggests the number of UK adults who say they prefer organic products has dropped by almost a third, from 15.1% in pre-lockdown 2020 to 10.9% in early 2022. Meanwhile, the number of adults who say they check food packaging before buying has fallen by almost a quarter. [Source: IPA]

Frozen food on the rise: Sales of frozen poultry in the UK are up 12% on this time last year, according to data from NielsenIQ. Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts has said shoppers are increasingly shopping the frozen aisle to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. [Source: The Guardian]

Confused about healthy eating: A survey by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has revealed widespread confusion about healthy eating and key nutrients. For example, only 38% of UK adults know that carrots contain fibre. The survey also suggests many people have yet to try common plant-based foods: one third of adults and 55% of schoolchildren say they have never tried lentils. [Source: Food Navigator]

Mushroom crisps and collagen bars: These are just some of the food trends to emerge from this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York. Sustainability credentials continue to be important to up-and-coming food brands, with use of upcycled ingredients especially popular this year. Examples include Reveal, “a range of Avocado Seed Brew soft drinks that use the discarded parts of avocados as a core ingredient”. [Source: The Grocer]

Climate crisis and food shortages: Increasingly extreme weather patterns are playing havoc with crops and putting global food production at risk. Right now, supplies of sriracha are running low because of issues with red jalapeño chilli peppers, caused by severe weather conditions in Mexico. Mustard producers in France and Canada are also facing weather-related disruption. [Source: The Guardian]

Battling food waste with spray-on threads: Researchers at Harvard University have developed a spray-on technique that coats fresh fruit and veg in antimicrobial threads to prevent spoilage. The material is 100% biodegradable and could ultimately replace conventional produce packaging. [Source: Anthropocene Magazine]

Pearl meat: Once decried as “pungent diver’s fare”, the adductor muscle of the South Sea oyster is gaining traction as a delicacy in Australia. A growing number of chefs at high-end restaurants are now putting pearl meat on the menu. It’s already popular in Japan and Hong Kong, where it can fetch up to $200 a kilo. [Source: Atlas Obscura]

Greggs goes eco: The Newcastle baker is opening a trial store dedicated to testing out new sustainability initiatives. Reducing waste and saving energy are the focus, with features to be trialled including recyclable flooring, eco-ovens and solar control glass. [Source: British Baker]

The invention of orange juice: Fascinating account of how commercial orange juice was “invented” in the early 20th century to help growers better manage production gluts – and how early marketers were able to take advantage of growing interest in vitamins and consumer fears about acidosis. [Source: BBC Future]

Futuristic food fantasies: An anthropologist dives into the psychology behind food trends and why many of us are obsessed with predicting the next big thing in food. Key takeaway: the ‘future delicious’ is largely about indulging in fantasies about human progress. [Source: Psyche]