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Asda identifies the social and cultural drivers that are influencing the way we eat

From the resurgence of retro desserts to the rise of ‘just add water’ products, the turbulence of the world is influencing the food we consume, according to new insight from Asda.

The retailer has today unveiled its 2023/2024 trend book, outlining key themes that will guide food and drink product development for the next 18 months.

Led by Jonathan Moore, Asda’s Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation that has cooked at a Michelin Star level, the Trend Book looks at key social and cultural drivers to identify the 34 trends that are influencing consumer’s consumption habits.

The top five trends influenced by the external world include:

Pressure on purse-strings sees shoppers looking to elevate everyday heroes.

The report suggests that ‘Sandwiches 2.0’, ‘Not-So-Humble-Veg’ and ‘Things On Toast’ are all key trends that will dominate the coming 18 months as customers use purse-friendly ingredients as the base of their gourmet creations.

Confirming this prediction, Asda has seen a +12% uplift in sales of potatoes in the past year as consumers turn to TikTok, which has over 10 billion views for #Potato, for inspiration on how to get creative with the household staple.

In a less-stable world, people are looking to food for distraction.

As shoppers look to food for moments of joy in their lives, in a way that doesn’t break the bank, Asda expects to see a number of trends rise in popularity over the coming months.

The ‘Flavour Bomb’ trend will see experimental condiments and sauces – think coffee siracha or fruity chipotle – elevate simple dishes, giving them a powerhouse of flavour time and time again.

‘Stick It’ predicts the rise of making food handheld. Seemingly un-holdable dishes like pasta will become a more interactive snack and croissants, waffles and even slices of cheesecake will be drenched in syrups and sauces and served on a stick.

The rise of 70s and 80s inspired TV shows like Daisy Jones and the Six and Stranger Things sees the appreciation of retro translate into food with the resurgence of retro desserts.

Asda explains that old-school favourites such baked Alaska, crème brulee, rice pudding and tiramisu are all set to grace dinner parties across the UK. The retailer has already started to see this trend in action with shoppers going mad for its recently launched retro ‘school cake’. Tens of thousands of people shared their love for the cakes across social media and the excitement led to over 5,000 people searching for ‘School Cakes’ on Asda.com.

As extreme weather events put food production at risk, consumers are demanding that producers look to more sustainable solutions.

‘New Staples’ is a trend that Asda has pinpointed as an increasingly prevalent movement thanks to consumers growing understanding of the true impact grocery staples have on the planet.

The ‘New Staples’ trend predicts the rise in sales of regenerative crops such as ancient grains an alfalfa that nourish the soil instead of stripping it of nutrients. Another iteration of this trend that Asda expects to see is the surge in seaweed as a food solution since it’s one of the most sustainable crops on the planet as it doesn’t require fresh water, pesticides, or fertiliser.

Retail innovation turning to freeze-dried, dehydrated and powdered food in response to rising shipping costs and carbon emissions.

Asda expects to see a rise in “Just Add Water” products like on-the-go cereal and dehydrated oat milk enter the market. The smaller nature these formats means that shipping costs and carbon emissions can be reduced, helping both the environment and consumers pockets.

All of the 34 trends can be explored in Asda’s 2023/2024 trend book, here.

Commenting on the launch of the second book, Jonathan Moore, Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation at Asda, commented: “Following the success of our inaugural Trend Book last year, we’re proud to share its latest iteration and excited to see how it informs our product development over the coming months. We have spent months researching and identifying seven mega trends emerging in the UK food scene, alongside delving deeper into the relevant social and cultural drivers behind them. Over the next 18 months, we’ll be working hard to bring these trends to life on Asda shelves in a way that’s both exciting and accessible for our customers”.