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Food for thought: Asda unveils future food trends with the launch of its 2023/24 Trend Book

  • The supermarket retailer unveils the trends that will inspire its food and drink development over the next year
  • Emerging trends for 2023/24 include, Edible Joy, Everyday Heroes and Food Odyssey
  • Led by Asda’s Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation, Jonathan Moore, the Asda Trend book includes over 120 flavours and ingredients to watch out for this year
June 14, 2023 07:00am
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14th June 2023: Asda unveils its Trend Book for 2023/24, revealing key themes that will guideits food and drink product development over the next 18 months.

Led by Jonathan Moore, Asda’s Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation who has cooked at a Michelin Star level, the Trend Bookmaps out the core drivers, mega trends and key techniques and flavours that customers can expect to see developing in UK food retail.

Starting with the core drivers, each trend is categorised into four mega trends based on the social and cultural drivers that will inform product development. These mega trends are:

  • Under Pressure - in a less stable world, where people are struggling to maintain control of their health and finances, how can retailers help make food more healthy, affordable and accessible.
  • Distract and Displace - food is a primal way to seek comfort, safety and escape. It can be a way to explore different flavours and more than five senses, as it becomes increasingly ‘normal’ for technology to impact how we interact with our food.
  • Brave New World - as we all see the physical effects of global warming, the food industry is looking for innovative and practical solutions to tackle the problems the world is facing; from finding new food sources to diversifying from staple crops.
  • Health Wise - the pressure to be perfect seems increasingly burdensome but the fact remains that we all want to live longer, and better. More than ever, customers are seeking new, clever, easier and less expensive ways to change habits and improve longevity.

Within each mega trend there are seven sub-trends, which delve into the flavours, ingredients and cooking techniques that will gain prominenceor continue to evolve and grow in popularity, over the coming months.

  • Around the World
  • Everyday Heroes
  • Edible Joy
  • Sensory Evolution
  • Unlock Time and Money
  • Accessible Health
  • Food Odyssey

“Around the World” sees consumers looking to try out new dishes, flavours and techniques from across the globe, but doing it in a way that is kind to their wallets. That means shoppers are leaning into ‘forever favourites’ like purse-friendly Italian, American and British dishes but giving them a gourmet twist or trying more regional varieties.

One of the ways that Asda expects this trend to materialise is shoppers looking for global twists on food – for example bringing Japanese flavours to Italian food with the rise in popularity of dishes such as miso Bolognese or serving an American classic burger inside a croissant.

“Everyday Heroes” sees budget-friendly vegetables given a new lease of life as the centrepiece of main dishes, plus toast and sandwiches get a major revamp. The biggest not-so-humble star is the potato. 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.

Sandwiches and ‘things on toast’ are also stepping into the spotlight, providing a cheap and cheerful canvas to get creative. From getting rid of the humble bread bun in favour of interesting carriers like croissants and roti to bringing back chocolate spread and baked beans toppers, but doing so with a twist.

The “Edible Joy” trend references consumers looking for a distraction from the doom and gloom of the world and looking to food for moments of joy in their lives. The trend sees the revitalisation of nostalgic childhood dinners and the rise of retro puddings like baked Alaska, crème brulee, rice pudding and tiramisu. Asda 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.

The “Sensory evolution” trend continues to grow as wallet-friendly ingredients are given new life by condiments, sauces, pastes and seasonings; also known as ‘flavour bombs’. Expect heat to play a part in unexpected ways through experimentation with hot sauce, and bold, herby green sauces paired with everything. Boundaries between sweet and savoury continue to blur with the rise of ‘swalty’ snacks and herbs/vegetables making their way into dessert. Food on a stick also emerges as a trend in its own right, as the most elemental way for diners to get involved with their food; seemingly un-holdable dishes like pasta become more interactive and ease consumption without the need for cutlery.

Social media is vital when it comes to time-saving prep solutions in a modern world. Within the “Unlock Time and Money” trend, we expect to see these quick cooking practices take a step further with perfectly pre-prepared, nutritious meals that only require a tap to finish off. TikTok shows off ‘lunchbox’ or ‘mason jar’ ramens whilst retail innovation turns to freeze-dried, dehydrated and powered foods. Additional benefits of these new formats will include lower shipping costs and carbon emissions, alongside longer shelf-life.

“Accessible Health” in the time of a cost-of-living crisis, sees customers re-order their priorities. There is a move to embrace flexibility and permission for comfort and treats. Fat consumption is more considered, as customers become more aware ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ fats with a desire to know more about where fat has come from, like butter from grass-fed cows or virgin oils from a single estate.

Cooking methods such as air-frying, puffing and roasting put to good use to avoid the overconsumption of fat, a trend that continues to grow in popularity with the rapid growth of air fryers. Asda plans to add air-frying cooking instructions to over 100 Asda-own label products in the next year.

As our understanding of the impact grocery staples have on the planet grows, new innovations outlined in the “Food Odyssey” trend look to ways to replicate and replace. Expect to see more realistic plant-based fish and sea plants replacing leafy greens (like seaweed pesto) as producers branch out into new protein-rich ingredients. Precision fermentation is also making waves in the dairy industry, to replicate ingredients like egg whites, animal fats and more.

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”.

View the full version of the trends book here.

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