The post-pandemic consumers are more focused on health than ever. 70% say health has become more important over the last few years. They are more demanding of their food and beverage as a result. Preventative health measures remain key, and food and beverage products have a huge role to play. As many as 74 % are interested in buying food with specific health claims.
Physical and mental health go hand-in hand. As we found in the last Index, the pandemic heightened awareness of mental health, as consumers struggled with issues such as anxiety and isolation. Today, this awareness is stronger still, as post-pandemic consumers face new stress factors, such as the rising cost of living and geopolitical instability. Three-quarters of consumers now agree that mental health is as important as physical wellbeing – the highest level for any statement in our general health questionnaire, and perhaps the most striking figure in the whole survey.
Not only do the new concerns impact mental health, they also impact the food system. 65% of global respondents believing that these new concerns have brought serious disruption to the food system. Two in five (42%) saying they are concerned that they won’t be able to access the food types they want to buy.
Global economic disruption is driving consumers to be more thoughtful in their behaviours and consumption habits. A culture of “food hacks” has emerged on social media, pushing people into creative ways of reducing waste, such as using parts of fruit and vegetables that would formerly have been discarded.
People, planet and products intertwined
This intertwining of people and planet extends to products, with consumers believing that what is good for one must be good for the other – suggesting that companies should view planetary health as an opportunity to provide the co-benefit of both health and environmental sustainability. 70% of global respondents say that healthy products shouldn’t harm the environment, while half say that if a food or drink is not healthy for the individual, it is not sustainable for the planet.
There is a strong belief among consumers that their food and beverage purchasing and consumption decisions can make a positive difference, with 54% believing that by changing their diet, they can contribute to a better world.
Consumers believe that technology has a major role to play in both health and sustainability going forward. 65% of global consumers agree that technology applied to health will become increasingly important, and 62% believe that it will play a role in ensuring a more sustainable future. Nearly half (48%) think that technology will help guarantee access to healthy food and drink for everyone. But there are concerns to be navigated, with some becoming wary of tech innovation, as many as 65 % desiring products that are as natural as possiblee and 46 % are worried that innovation in food is not good for them.
The foundation for Tetra Pak Index is very strong. It is based on several different sources of data; several consumer research projects on attitudes and behaviours, the annual trend report (Trendipedia) as well as expert interviews (internal and external) to make sure we get a comprehensive view of consumers and the industry.
— Lena Gilchrist
Client Director at Ipsos
This year’s Tetra Pak Index shows that consumers are paying far more attention to what they eat and drink – and are feeling better as a result. They also see technology as key to a healthier, more sustainable and more equitable future. Industry is investing heavily to meet consumers’ evolving needs and capture the opportunities they present, while also addressing the pressing sustainability challenges. It is only through continued efforts and leveraging collaboration to explore every potential opportunity, that we will find the solutions to transforming food systems.
— Adolfo Orive
President and CEO at Tetra Pak
The Tetra Pak Index 2023 is based on Ipsos consumer research in 10 countries: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA. Other studies included are Trendipedia Consumer Trends 2023: Annual trends report, produced by Ipsos for Tetra Pak and published in January 2023. Specific reports on sugar and plant based.
Read the Tetra Pak press release to find out more on the findings, including evaluation of some new food concepts.