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Gazing into the crystal ball for food and nutrition predictions

Annual trend predictions are a journalist’s delight. The best ones are bold and imaginative, and inspire us to look for examples throughout the year that reflect the clarity of someone’s crystal ball.

Kitchener-based business owner and dietitian Jane Dummer (www.janedummer.com) has stepped forward with what she believes are the food-related business and consumption trends we’ll encounter in 2022. With the New Year getting off to such a tenuous start, forecasts have been at a premium. So thanks to Dummer for having the confidence to share her views, many of which point to pandemic-driven actions and adjustments.

First, she says, look for companies to try creating more authentic connections and communications with customers. The pandemic accelerated the trend of wanting to know more about foods’ origins. And now, with prices escalating, consumers have even more questions about their food. Companies need to reach their customers and explain.

Next, Dummer expects e-commerce to further take hold with grocery shoppers. Many of us are quite happy avoiding crowds now, and you can reduce your exposure with online shopping: browse a store’s website,get someone to shop to your satisfaction, and then conveniently deliver your groceries to your door. Plus, she says research shows many consumers think they save money shopping for groceries online…less impulse buying, for sure.

A third trend Dummer cites is the pent-up demand for travel and celebration, and the connection with food and drink. “Eating occasions continue to be a source of entertainment with people spending so much time at home due to travel restrictions and lockdown guidelines,” she says.  While we’re entrenched in our homes, she expects we’ll be looking for travel-related global flavours, including hibiscus, wasabi and lychee.

Fourth, Dummer predicts the global awareness sparked by the pandemic will make us think and care more about sustainable food production everywhere. With prices having increased, will we value cheap over sustainable and responsible? What about workers’ rights, at home and abroad? Such concerns haven’t impacted the deplorable, uncaring fast fashion industry, but maybe they will for food.

And finally, the dietitian in Dummer can’t help but to be hopeful that proactive health and wellness will be a growing trend in 2020. Through the pandemic we have developed some poor health habits. Gyms closed. Collective activities that would get us together outdoors have been curtailed. We ate for comfort and to de-stress, while health took a backseat.

Going forward, Dummer predicts change. For example, she says we’ll seek out foods with citrusy, tangy flavours associated with better immunity and wellness. We’ll look for nutrient-dense foods that contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, with no added sugar or fat to raise calories, such as seeds (one of her favourite foods, about which she has written an entire book) and eggs. And she looks to agricultural researchers to develop even more nutrient-rich versions of standards like meat and milk, which might make them attractive to new audiences.

Overall, she’s hopeful that increased food and nutrition awareness dominates 2022.

“The health of people, animals, plants, and the environment are interconnected,” she says. “We need to care not only about the health and wellness of farming and the land, but also about the people who are vital in shifting agriculture practices with a shared planet in mind.”

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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