Will Hargreaves from Savills discusses the opportunity presented by changing consumer behaviours.

By staying aware of food megatrends, the agriculture industry can adapt to evolving consumer preferences, ensuring rural businesses remain competitive and viable. But what is a food megatrend and how can Suffolk’s farmers make the most of the opportunities?

What are examples of food megatrends?

A food megatrend refers to a significant and long-lasting shift in consumer behaviour, preferences or attitude towards food consumption.

The most general megatrend in food is arguably increased per-capita calorie consumption – or, put another way, the fact that the average person across the world is eating more food. 

Animal protein is also playing a greater role in global diets. Both are driven by increasing global incomes.

East Anglian Daily Times: William Hargreaves from Savills in SuffolkWilliam Hargreaves from Savills in Suffolk (Image: RMG Photography)

What is the health megatrend?

This encompasses a widespread shift towards consumers prioritising health and wellbeing in their diets – driving demand for food products that support physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through their nutritional value.

These include lean proteins (such as fish and eggs), foods with high polyunsaturated fat content (such as olive oil, almonds and avocados) and foods with high antioxidant 
levels (such as blueberries and raspberries).

What opportunities are there for Suffolk farmers?

Many investors are looking at food megatrends. Clearly not all opportunities will be appropriate – it will depend on everything from soil type and climate through to water supplies and infrastructure. But by keeping up to date with latest trends there may be some opportunities for farmers to generate additional revenue streams.

What types of megatrends are investors looking at?

Buying tree crop orchards is currently popular – particularly for those ‘superfood’ crops for which demand is growing in the long term. 

Appetite for investing in companies operating in the supply chain for those products – processors, plant breeders, and owners of genetics – is also growing. 

What other megatrends might be worth studying?

The convenience megatrend reflects consumers’ increasing demand for convenient food options that require minimal preparation or effort, such as ready-to-eat meals, pre-cut vegetables and on-the-go snacks. 

Convenience is a significant factor driving product innovation and shaping purchasing decisions in the food market.

Farmers in the East of England have long been at the forefront of innovation. Keeping a watching brief on consumer trends will ensure they continue to make the most of the opportunities ahead. 

For advice, contact William Hargreaves on 01473 234802 or WHargreaves@savills.com