In the summer of 2018, Dig launched a self-funded study to discover current trends in food and understand what drives them. Using our proprietary concept testing tool Upsiide, we interviewed 3500 consumers aged 18-64 in Canada, USA and the UK on various topics related to food.
10 modules were tested: ingredients, descriptors, minimizing negatives, cooking techniques, dietary trends, sourcing, packaging, preparation methods, regional cooking and technology. To minimize respondent fatigue, each respondent only saw 4 modules. The sample in each country was balanced by age/gender/region to be nationally representative.
Some results confirmed our expectations; others were more surprising. Here are some of our most interesting findings. Click the links to read the full articles, or download the full report for free.
- Cutting meat out of the diet is becoming more mainstream, especially among Millennials. The “vegetarian” concept is popular with over 35% of respondents in all three countries, while “vegan” is popular with 26% of respondents.
- Locally sourced foods are becoming very popular. About 70% of respondents in Canada and USA like locally farmed foods, and over 60% like locally manufactured foods. Interestingly, both “locally farmed” and “locally manufactured” score higher than “organic”, which shows how perceptions of food sourcing are changing.
- Women eat healthier than men: in all three countries ingredients like fruits, leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and yogurt are more popular with women than with men.
- Millennials are more likely to minimize allergens and “trendy” negatives. Popular ingredients to minimize among millennials include dairy, soy, lactose and gluten, while Gen Xers and Boomers are more likely to minimize “traditional” negatives like cholesterol, sugar, fats and artificial ingredients.
- Stronger flavours are more popular with men. In Canada and USA, more men than women like smoky, spicy and peppery flavours, while more women than men like light, crisp and creamy flavours.
- Canadian Millennials find cooking less appealing compared to Gen Xers and Boomers: all cooking techniques tested score lower with Millennials. Similar results were found for USA Millennials, but to a lesser extent.
- Eco-friendly packaging is more popular with Canadians and women. Packaging attributes like “recyclable”, “resealable”, “reusable”, “biodegradable”, etc. score higher in Canada than in USA; and higher with women than with men.
- Italian is the most popular regional cuisine in Canada, USA and the UK. While all three countries rank their own respective cuisines first, Italian is a close second, being popular with over 70% of the respondents in each country.
- Cooking from scratch is the winning preparation method in both Canada and USA. Nevertheless, even those cooking from scratch are looking for convenience, as evidenced by the popularity of fast-to-prepare foods, easy-to-prepare foods and frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Personalized diets based on health data is a growing trend. 51% of respondents like the concept of personalized food based on health data. Millennials are taking it one step further: 40% of them like the concept of personalized food based on genetic data.
When we first launched Upsiide in 2017, it was primarily used to test products. Through the work on this study and many others, we have proven that it can also be used to test concepts, ideas, trends, advertising and much more. If you would like to test your ideas with Upsiide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.