Twitter Birdseye Report: Food industry trends Talkwalker

Show Me Food Industry Trends! 

Back in 2020, consumers stayed at home and online due to a pandemic that resulted in lockdowns and travel restrictions. Across the food and beverage industry, brands had to manage the effects and rapid-fire changes in consumer behavior that seemed to strike every single day. 

Twitter conversations about food industry trends increased, with topics including food fads, gut health, home-baking, low-carb diets, etc., and sustainability.

46.5% of conversations on Twitter around sustainable foods are led by Gen Z. This demonstrates a commitment to improving the way consumers and brands source, use, and recycle food.

It’s clear that consumers are talking more and more about environmental impact, and the part that food plays as we collectively search for healthier options, both for individuals and the planet itself.

Emoji cloud surrounding food delivery - a growing food industry trend, boosted by the pandemic. Emoji include red heart, pizza slice, cookies, red wine, fries, praying hands, burger...

Top emojis around food delivery, including red heart, pizza slice, cookies, red wine, fries, praying hands, burger...

Food industry trends

As brands leave 2021 behind, food and beverage manufacturers need to be aware of trends that will continue to grow into 2022. In addition to crucial consumer insights on upcoming food industry trends, we also dig into key takeaways and strategies to help you come out on top.

  • Don’t forget the details
    Keep demographics and audience insights at the center of your marketing strategy.
  • Know your consumer
    For brands to stay competitive, they need to keep in mind that across almost all industries, including the food industry, consumers are leading, and what they say matters. 
  • Keep up at all costs
    Having access to real-time consumer intelligence ensures a brand is always in the know.

Sounds useful? Good thing we put together a detailed food industry report to save you a boatload of time! Let’s take a sneak peek at what’s inside…

The power of plant-based protein…

One of the major food industry trends we highlight in the report is the increase in bio-based and plant-based alternatives. We’re talking yeast, algae, and… insects.

A whopping 87.8% of Twitter conversations around different protein alternatives are about plant-based proteins.

Sentiment over time for plant-based proteins shows this food industry trend with high positive sentiment.

Sentiment over time for plant-based proteins shows this food industry trend with high positive sentiment.

With veganism one of the most popular diets today, plant-based proteins have become the most discussed type of protein on Twitter, over insect proteins or even animal protein. Overall, meat alternatives are seen to be healthier when compared to regular meat-based products.

We also witnessed superfood conversations on Twitter around seeds, with a 27.1% increase over 2020. Not to be left behind, mushroom mentions are growing and they’re now considered the 9th most popular superfood. With 84.4% positive sentiment in 2021.

Don’t be fooled into assuming that these tasty fungi are limited to food. Mushroom fiber has also been adopted by non-food industries. CES 2021 put the spotlight on mushrooms with Mercedes Benz introducing a concept EV with seats manufactured from mushroom fibers.

Word cloud around mushrooms as a protein alternative, food industry trends. Includes black beans. Chinese medicine, green beans, healthy skin, black pepper, brown rice...

Top discussions around mushrooms, as health-conscious consumers follow the latest food industry trends.

Edible packaging anyone?

“35% of consumers are choosing brands based on their sustainability credentials, more now than they did before the pandemic.”

There are a whole bunch of different ways for brands to be more sustainable, and with consumers demanding more, the food industry has been forced to get creative. This has resulted in the development of biodegradable and sustainable packaging options such as compostable or edible straws, reusable bags and containers, and food film derived from konjac flour and starch. 

Edible straws are not only good for your health. They’re better for the environment. And, with 54.4% of Twitter conversations around environmental practices related to food including the word "plastic", brands can’t afford to ignore this food industry trend. Adapting to the future of food is inevitable. We want eco-friendly options.

Hungry for healthy habits

With many diets gaining popularity, people are debating the pros and cons, discussing the likes of keto, the Mediterranean diet, paleo, veganism, and intermittent fasting. 

Weight loss has always been a hot topic, but with people stuck inside for such a long time and/or turning to food for comfort, it’s no surprise that diets have continued trending. The diet that’s being  mentioned the most is intermittent fasting - highest mention rate of all diet-related conversations on Twitter, at 13.9% - especially due to its relation to losing weight.

Talkwalker Conversation Clusters around diets as part of food industry trends. Includes intermittent fasting, gluten-free baking recipes, vegans, keto, gut health, water, paleo, green team, detox, nutrition...

Conversation Clusters around diets - intermittent fasting, gluten-free baking recipes, vegans, keto, gut health, water, paleo, green team, detox, nutrition...

How we created this report

Insights for this report were taken from Talkwalker’s Social Intelligence product, by focusing on Twitter data between January 2020 and November 2021. The focus of the analysis was done using information from 2021, but given the nature of the report, we also refer to the period of January 2020 to October 2020, mainly for comparative statistics to those in the same period of 2021.

Queries were used to identify the topics discussed. For instance, the relationship between food and sustainability, popular diets, superfood, and alternative proteins. To fine-tune, we employed Boolean operators, to remove false positives. Filters were used to narrow down results for specific places or categories within the general queries. 

To get a deeper level of analysis, we used features like sentiment analysis, video analytics, and image recognition, powered by the Talkwalker AI Engine. Sentiment analysis is performed with an average of 90% accuracy. Able to detect sarcasm and ironic comments. Images are compared to our extensive database of 30,000+ brand logos.

To wrap things up…

Many of the food industry trends in Twitter conversations are growing, some quicker than others. What we can see is that across various demographics, consumers are demanding more action from brands with regard to sustainability. Food industry companies can’t afford to ignore consumer needs, if they want to stay relevant.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the upshot of it all is certain food industry trends are becoming more popular due to pressure from consumers to become more sustainable. Brands within the food industry need relevant consumer insights to fully connect with their audience. 

Download the Birdseye Report and learn about what you can do starting now to take full advantage of consumer insights and stay one step ahead.

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