WHAT WILL PEOPLE EAT IN 2020
The Nielsen Company is the grandaddy of measuring Americans’ actions and preferences. It started by tabulating TV watching and has expanded from there...
Well – calling all food bloggers! – Nielsen recently released a report titled “How Americans Will Eat,” and it’s packed with great insights.
First off, the report interviewed nearly 20,000 people. That’s a pretty big sample size!
Nielsen reports that 49% of people in their survey made efforts to eat healthier in 2019. However, many say they’re still not eating as well as they’d like.
Interestingly, there seems to be some disagreement about what “healthy” means.
From Nielsen: “Millennials feel healthy eating isn’t just about nutrition and diet; they believe it extends to mental wellness, stress management and saving both money and time. Millennials are two to three more likely than the oldest generations to change their eating habits in order to manage mental health, finances and time.”
Health includes Mental
Foods that are supposed to boost mental health all saw significant increases in the last year. These include tuna, blueberries, and shrimp.
(We couldn’t find any recipes that used all three of these ingredients. Not to be ridiculous, but if you could create such a recipe, maybe it would be a mental health supercharger? We did find a good number of recipes that used tuna and blueberries, such as Blueberry Carrot Tuna Wraps and Grilled Shrimp with Blueberry Salsa and – whoa! – Shrimp Corn Dogs with Blueberry Mustard .)
Nielsen says that when it comes to products and ingredients, companies "need to prioritize mental health just as much as they do physical health.”
What this means for food bloggers: Any food blogger who’s been awake this past year knows that people are interested in healthy options.
We’d like to see bloggers emphasize healthy options without becoming full-on diet blogs. That is, you certainly don’t need your every recipe to be slimming, but it’d be great to include healthy ideas almost every time, as options.
It’s just worth remembering, too, that Millennials (people aged approximately 20-40) are looking to food for mental health.
Even if you don’t feature a lot of recipes with soothing ingredients (like this cucumber mint iced tea or chamomile and honey macarons ), you could at least try to regularly post comfort foods.
(One way of putting it is to try to look at comfort food as “self care on a plate.")
And luckily, the comfort foods category is pretty broad, encompassing everything from mac and cheese to lasagna to chocolate chip cookies.
Another idea: give yourself a goal schedule when it comes to comfort food dishes. That is, how regularly can you commit to posting comfort foods? Once a month, once a week?
People are more focused on saving time than ever. Nielsen reports that “Americans are drinking, not just eating, their snacks, and beverages can help bridge the gap to time savings.”
What this means for food bloggers: You don’t have to offer tons of smoothie recipes, of course, but a category on your site for “low time” recipes seems smart. People want convenience, so you should at least give them an idea of how easy and speedy a given recipe is.
On the other hand, we know there is still interest in slower, more involved recipes, like this Cinnamon Rolls recipe, or this Duck Confit , or this Salted Caramel Cake. Just be upfront about cooking times, of course!
Further, it’s worth remembering that most home cooks move a good deal slower than experienced food bloggers and recipe creators. Home cooks prefer realistic cooking times over ‘best case scenario’ times.
This is a no brainer, but Nielsen’s study confirmed that foods and ingredients need to be reasonably priced.
As Nielsen says, “consumers won’t try what they don’t believe they can afford.”
And “one-third of Americans (33%) say they will prioritize price when it comes to what they consume over the next five years.”
What this means for food bloggers: Again, knowing people are price conscious is just good to bear in mind. If all your 2020 recipes feature caviar and truffles, your may have trouble growing your audience!
You may be familiar with the food blog Budget Bytes , where proprietor Beth Moncel includes an estimated cost with every recipe. Maybe that level of specificity isn’t your cup of tea, but it’d still be good to give an indication of pricey vs. economical.
You could also help home cooks achieve fancy results for less.
Some everyday foods are pretty costly. As Nielsen points out in their report, many people want a lot of protein, which can be costly. You could create inexpensive ways to make jerky, power bars, trail mix, and so forth.
Americans are forecast to consume less sugar the coming year. Big surprise, right?
The lower sugar trend shows now signs of abating. Indeed, the words "no carbs and no sugar" ranked No. 8 on Google's most-searched diets of 2019 .
This year, a whopping 80 percent of U.S. households said they bought sugar-free items in the last year, according to Nielsen data. Again, not surprising.
You could gain some traction by experimenting with non-sugar sweeteners. Monkfruit, stevia, and the roll-right-off-the-tongue erythritol are all options.
As an example idea, we googled – and couldn’t really find – "monkfruit macarons." As that sweetener becomes more popular, so will recipes that use it.