Phew, we are still more than half preferring sex to food.
In February 2016, we fielded a study to survey 11,976 men and women aged 18+ in 37 markets.
Who Are Prosumers ?
Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers—and they’ve been a focus of Havas Worldwide and BETC studies for more than a decade. Beyond their own economic impact, Prosumers are important because they influence the brand choices and consumption behaviors of others. What Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers will likely be doing 6 to 18 months from now.
In the past, food was strictly about nourishment, a human need that was synonymous to survival and life. Food today is larger than ever and takes up more space in our lives; it’s about lifestyle, the economy and employment, citizenship, health and it’s about the proper use of the earth’s resources. Food is about making choices and these choices ultimately define us, define our values and beliefs. It comes as no surprise then that 73% of Prosumers globally agree that what they eat says a lot about who they are. Because what we eat today, will have an impact in the world tomorrow. Junk food is not just a personal health issue but also a threat for the whole planet: 77% of Prosumers worldwide agree that junk food/unhealthful diets are one of the greatest threats facing our species.
And while we see this growing importance of food in our lives, we are also witnessing a growing disconnection from the food industry. In the past, the food industry created beloved brands that accompanied us throughout our lives. Today, it seems as though big food brands have missed today’s infinite opportunities to build connections with people. When Google is trying to provide Internet all over the world, or helping with the migrant crisis, food brands are still talking about snacking. When we asked people to rank six criteria (nutritional value, ingredients, price, origin, visual appeal, brand) in terms of importance on their food-purchasing choices, brand name came in dead last. It seems like today the food category is rife with distrust: only 40% of the total global population has any trust toward the food industry to provide them with healthful food. As a result, smaller brands and start-ups are entering the market disrupting the big food industry. Is small becoming the new big? And what lies ahead for the future of big food brands?
Key Learnings of the Study
1. MY BODY, MY LIFESTYLE, MY PLANET
In 2010, when 81% of Prosumers agreed that food is as effective as medicine in maintaining one’s health, we thought we’ve reached the highest point of agreement. Since then, the number increased to 86% in 2012 and 88% (even higher for emerging markets) when we re-asked the question this year. All over the world we see an immense increase in responsibility of choices: 90% of Prosumers globally believe it’s their responsibility to carefully choose what they eat to avoid disease/illness. As people better understand the consequences of the modern diet, they are taking a more holistic and proactive approach to food. We have therefore identified three consequences: 1) Check: People become ‘checkers’ by actively looking for information about their food intake and the companies behind the brands they buy, 2) Change: People make efforts to change their lifestyle by eliminating bad food and embracing good food, and finally 3) Vote: They cast their votes by choosing to buy the food brands that best respond to their need for a more mindful and healthful consumption.
2. LOCAL IS THE NEW ORGANIC
If organic was the ‘cool’ choice to make yesterday, today it’s local. Over the past years, local has won the hearts of mindful consumers over organic because organic still falls short in responding to three key expectations people have: trust, accessibility and emotional/human bonding. Local is about respecting nature’s rhythm: 55% of Prosumers globally make an effort to avoid out of season foods. Local also connects quality with local economies: 72% of Prosumers globally are willing to pay more for locally grown/produced food products. And last but not least, local brings familiarity and emotional bonding back: 60% of Prosumers prefer to buy from a local producer rather than a supermarket.
3. NATURALNESS BY TRUE PEOPLE
In a world that aspires to be increasingly healthier, people are torn between maintaining their health and taking pleasure everyday. In recent years we noticed that people want to connect more and more to natural rhythms, because nature is an ideal state: 78% of Prosumers think that their ideal body is the one nature gave them and they try to keep it at its best through natural means. But behind naturalness are real people – whether it’s a local producer or a celebrity chef – knowing the person who prepared your food is the ultimate sign of naturalness.
4. FOOD’S SOCIAL GAME IS ON
The world has never seen such a fascination with food before. People are just obsessed with food, Millennials especially: 63% of Prosumers consider themselves to be a “foodie” (52% of Millennials versus 34% of Baby Boomers). Posting a photo on Instagram accompanied by hashtags like #foodporn or #foodgasm is demonstrating this explosion in foodism. What is more, 58% of Prosumers state that eating can be as pleasurable as sex and to take it a step further, 46% of women versus 26% of men would actually choose an excellent dinner at a restaurant over sex. We therefore identified three themes when it comes to pleasure and food: 1) Share: food has long been about sharing, but today we see the comeback of the communal table – sharing a meal in the company of others – be it family, friends or even strangers, 2) Experience: Part of this appeal for food is that is offers endless opportunities for experimentation and new experiences. 69% of Prosumers claim to be more adventurous eaters than they used to be and 79% enjoys trying ‘exotic’ foods, 3) Take time: Taking the time to enjoy meals bears no cultural barriers. All over the world, people want to take time to enjoy their meals not only for the sake of entertainment but for the sake of health as well: 89% believe that taking the time to enjoy one’s food is essential to good health. And if they are not able to do so, they admire those that do – 85% of Prosumers admire cultures where people take longer lunch breaks to eat a good meal in the company of others.
List of the surveyed market: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.