Asda Senior Director of Food Trends and Innovation Jonathan Moore shares his forecast on the food and drink trends that customers should look out for this year.
His top five predictions include mega trends such as ‘Around the World’, ‘Everyday Heroes’, Sensory Evolution’ and ‘Accessible Health’ and ‘Food Odyssey’ as identified in Asda’s Trend Book 23/24.
Tapping into these trends, include Asda’s latest product launches such as Cook by Asda and The Health Menu.
- Mega trend – Around the World
Customers are curious to try new flavours, dishes and techniques whilst also being mindful of their wallets. This means they’re leaning into ‘forever favourites’ like Italian and American, as well as comforting British classics and carbs. Alongside comfort, they also want newness and adventure, which means regional varieties and inventive twists.
Focus on Italian 2.0
Familiar favourites like lasagne, pizza and pasta remain popular but expect gourmet twists and fusions to take these dishes and ingredients to the next level e.g. gochujang spaghetti, miso Bolognese and malai rigatoni.
‘Cheffy’ techniques bring new life to favourites like ‘hundred layer’ lasagnes or pepperoni ‘crisps’ while Italian deli-inspired sandwiches get modern makeovers e.g. loaded ‘muffuletta’ and focaccia sandwiches with fusion fillings. In pizza, regional takes like Roman pizza all apala gain momentum and desserts go beyond tiramisu and gelato to the likes of maritozzi and bombolini.
Ingredients we expect to see more of include mortadella, ‘nduja, anchovy, stracciatella, parmesan and truffle.
2. Mega trend – Everyday Heroes
As customer purse strings are tightened, they’re still looking for excitement and enjoyment around mealtimes but without breaking the bank. So, we see a renewed love of humble favourites.
Focus on Not So Humble Veg
Driven by the surge in plant-based eating, customers are increasingly seeing vegetables as the main event in a meal. They’re particularly turning to veg with its affordability versus meat, as well as to improve health and eat less processed products. Just this month, Asda introduced its new Fab 5 offer, meaning customers can purchase five fruit or veg products for under £1 each month.
Such ‘basket fillers’ like onions, leeks, carrots, mushrooms, sweetcorn and courgettes, shine bright when they are prepared with time, skill and care, with the biggest not-so-humble star being the potato. Classic French dishes like dauphinoise are making a comeback, whereas baked and roasted potatoes are made over and loaded with interesting toppings or a focus on technique e.g. ’15 hour’ potatoes.
Ingredients we expect to see more of include harissa, chimichurri, mojo verde, garlic, butter and horseradish.
3. Mega trend – Sensory Evolution
Sensory exploration in food continues to grow and evolve. It’s a huge part of food’s ability to create a distraction by engaging all of our senses. The world is waking up the reality that there are more than five senses, as conventionally perceived, opening up the possibility of heightening experiences in new and revolutionary ways. Powerful ‘flavour bomb’ ingredients are designed to transform a dish entirely and this includes next generation umami exploration and further blurring the lines between sweet, savoury and salty.
Focus on Flavour Bombs
Condiments, sauces and pastes are a wallet-friendly way to easily add flavour and instantly elevate everyday meals, especially when it comes to elevating ‘not so humble veg’. Expect to see a lot of Japanese and Korean twists on cuisines and different takes on noodles and dumplings with lots of hybrids. Bold fusions and embracing a ‘no rules’ attitude to creation is key.
Heat will be especially important here with lots of experimentation around global hot sauces, think coffee sriracha or fruity chipotle. And bold, herby green sauces like chimichurri, salsa verde, mojo verde and zhoug are paired alongside everything from meat, cheese, pizza and pasta – anything goes.
These flavour bomb ingredients can also be an accessible entry point for exploring global cuisines, leading customers to try more authentic dishes.
Ingredients we expect to see more of include torum, horseradish, Korean chilli paste, chilli crisp, harissa, chimichurri, zhoug, Filipino banana ketchup, suya, sriracha and tajin.
4. Mega trend – Accessible Health
Health in the time of the cost-of-living crisis sees consumers re-order their priorities and so time-consuming prep or expensive supplements are discarded in favour of simpler, more affordable routes to making health centric changes.
Functional foods are made easy with new retail releases targeting gut health, immunity and mental health. Healthy eating and diets will also move to embracing a more flexible way of life, with permission for comfort food and treats, while fat consumption is more considered and whole fruit and vegetables are prioritised.
Focus on Flex Matters
People are tired of rigid and restrictive diets, so they’re looking towards a more holistic approach, with freedom to shift the rules depending on how the day feels. Asda’s latest Health Menu launch aligns with the desire for better ‘ready-to-eat’ solutions with health credentials, that provide better and more inclusive options for busy days, with all lifestyles embraced.
The Health Menu by Asda is a new healthy-eating range of over 40 nutritionist-approved products starting at just 65p. Each product is labelled with a specific health benefit, helping customers know exactly why it’s good for them. Whether it’s skin health, gut health, or bone health, the benefit is signposted clearly on the product packaging in a way that’s simple for customers to understand. The range includes one-pan scratch-cooking kits at less than £2.50 per serving, as well as lunch on-the-go such as the Spicy Chicken Arrabbiata Pot which is a great source of vitamin C and zinc, ideal for supporting immune function through the colder months.
5. Mega trend – Food Odyssey
Innovation to tackle pressing climate issues and provide sustainable food solutions for a growing population continues to move at pace.
Precision fermentation is making quick progress in the dairy industry. The fermentation uses microbial hosts (such as yeast) as ‘cell factories’ to produce specific, functional ingredients like the proteins that appear in dairy. But it’s not just milk and cheese that innovative companies are trying to replicate – precision fermentation-based egg whites, animal fats, cocoa butter, heme and more are underway.
NEWS: Asda, Jonathan Moore, food and drink trends