Based on research from ADM’s Outside VoiceSM consumer trends insights platform, highlights Wellness, Sustainability. The company provides a breakdown of each growth space it said is poised for takeoff in the new year.

CHICAGO — ADM, a human and animal nutrition company that works with food, beverage, and health and wellness brands, has its second annual list of global consumer trends. Based on research from ADM’s Outside VoiceSM consumer insights platform, ADM provides a breakdown of each growth space it said is poised for takeoff in the new year.

“Consumers today continue to navigate a tumultuous environment that has uprooted every aspect of their lives,” said Brad Schwan, vice president of category marketing for ADM. “This has led forward-thinking brands to develop new solutions purpose-built to help consumers establish a sense of normality for themselves, their families, and their pets. We see everything from foods, feeds, and beverages that promote gut health, to plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to biodegradable packaging.”

Below are the eight key consumer trends fueling current and future global growth, ADM said.

Nourishment for the Whole Self

Consumers want to be more proactive about supporting their minds and bodies through a balanced diet and lifestyle approach. While this is a long-term trend, the recent global pandemic has renewed interest in mental well-being, with many looking for more effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Wholesome nutrition is one important way consumers are looking to support their holistic well-being. In fact, ADM Outside VoiceSM finds that 37% of global consumers expect the snacks they eat to improve their mental well-being.

Plant-based Lifestyles

A flexitarian approach to eating has become mainstream as consumers look to functional, wholesome, plant-based nutrition to support healthy, environmentally friendlier lifestyles. It is expected that alternative proteins will very likely account for 11% of the total protein market in 2035. It is being fueled, in part, by COVID-19, which has accelerated interest in plant-based, as a health-forward alternative for consumers who are paying close attention to their body’s nutritional needs. Food and beverage brands, in response, are broadening the landscape of nutrient-dense plant-based options for consumers, aiming to meet their growing demand for products that are sustainable, health and wellness-oriented, and safe.

Microbiome as the Root of Wellness

Awareness of the microbiome as central to wellness has grown over time. Data from ADM Outside VoiceSM indicates that 58% of global consumers are aware of the potential benefits of bacteria in the digestive system on their overall health. Today’s consumers are looking for foods, beverages, and supplements that support gut health and general well-being. Linked by consumers to immune function, aspects of metabolic health and even mood, mental acuity, and feeling energized, consumers’ approach to supporting a healthy gut is evolving from reactive (seeking foods to alleviate discomfort) to proactive (tailored and customized pre-, pro- and postbiotic solutions), as they strive to achieve greater empowerment over their personal health and well-being.

Clean & Transparent Sourcing

Consumer demand for clean label products, which they consider to consist of natural, kitchen-level ingredients, has become table stakes. Today’s shopper consistently searches for foods and beverages containing real, simple ingredients that can help promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. It has led to a desire for transparency across the entire product lifecycle, from how it’s made to how it’s packaged and beyond. It is especially true during COVID-19, with consumers emphasizing learning where their food comes from and trying to ensure the health and safety of themselves, their families, their pets, and their communities. As consumers become more sophisticated in their understanding of the products they consume, 58% of global consumers say they will be more attentive to locality claims as a result of COVID-195.

Humanization of Pets

Pets are more commonly seen as part of the family — a trend that has been present over time but accelerated in strength during the pandemic. This extends to what their pets eat, with many pet parents transposing their purchasing values and preferences onto their furry companions. There’s been a 41% increase in all natural pet foods launched globally3. Likewise, ADM Outside VoiceSM also found that 30% of global pet owners spent a significant amount of time researching the best food options in the last year1. As consumers are challenged with changing lifestyles and a return to work, they will continue to monitor their pets’ overall well-being to ensure they’re providing foods and supplements aimed at helping them care for their minds and bodies.

Precise and Responsible Animal Feeding

The interconnectedness of the animal product supply chain is top of mind for today’s consumer. There is an increased demand for optimized feed solutions that support human and animal nutrition in an efficient, environmentally friendly manner for various animal species. This is driving brands to begin providing digital documentation explaining how the animal was raised, particularly related to its consumption of antibiotics and/or growth hormones. Nearly half (49%) of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products with high-quality assurances and verifiable safety standards.

Sustainable Goodness

Consumers see sustainability as a moral imperative as they connect it to what is right and ethical, their community, and the environment. In fact, 47% of global consumers say they are now more attentive to sustainability claims5. This has sparked demand for ethical production and sustainable sourcing practices — such as regenerative agriculture and carbon negative production to protect the food supply of the future. Brands are responding by taking positions on environmental matters, aiming to reflect their commitments to increasing the sustainability of their production and distribution systems.

Advanced Renewables and BioSolutions

Today’s consumers are more conscious of the environmental impact of their consumption and the food system at large, with a specific focus on the use of finite materials and physical waste. With 38% of global consumers being willing to pay more for products made with sustainable materials5, conscientious consumers are paying close attention to seeking out food, personal care, and home care products that support the needs of their families, the environment, and their local communities. And, consumers increasingly believe that companies should take greater responsibility for reducing waste and energy use from development to disposal.

Each of these growth trend spaces represents an opportunity for forward-thinking brands eager to maintain relevance with today’s consumer. ADM, a global powerhouse in human and animal nutrition, is positioned to provide these brands with the insights and novel solutions needed to meet consumer needs as they evolve in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

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1 ADM Outside VoiceSM
2 Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corporation, Food for Thought, The Protein Transformation Report, 2021
3 Mintel, The Future of Pet Food 2021 report
4 Nielsen, Quality and efficacy may beat out price sensitivities amid Corona virus concerns, 2020
5 FMCG Gurus: How Has COVID-19 Changed Consumer Behavior, Q21