Jennifer Zegler
Jenny Zegler is an Associate Director of Food and Drink at Mintel. Jenny blends her trends expertise with food and drink topics such as health, formulation, sustainability and premiumization.

An extraordinary string of events in 2020 has amended and accelerated Mintel’s 2030 Global Food & Drink Trends. The ‘Smart Diets’ Trend showed that COVID-19 cases can be complicated by certain diet-related health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, creating new urgency for health commitments. As the threat of the virus subsides, people will seek to protect themselves with hyper-individualized approaches to physical and mental health, as was predicted by this 2030 Global Food & Drink Trend. Personalization will advance quickly because the pandemic led to the acceptance of the role technology can play in our lives and health regimens.

Check out Part 1, where we take a look at how COVID-19 accelerated the ‘Change, Incorporated’ and the ‘High-Tech Harvests’ 2030 Global Food and Drink Trends.

Here, we take a look at how COVID-19 accelerated the ‘Smart Diets’ 2030 Global Food and Drink Trend:


The pandemic shows health is both a personal and a public concern

“We are in this together” was the unofficial rallying cry of COVID-19. The phrase is meant to spark camaraderie, but it also reflects the pandemic’s evidence of the interdependence between humans to keep one another healthy.

The rapid spread of the virus around the world showed how one person’s health can impact society as a whole. Furthermore, the reliance on social distancing to lower infections and to protect vulnerable populations is further evidence that health is simultaneously a personal and a public commitment.

The need to stay healthy during the pandemic gives ‘Smart Diets’ new urgency. More people will be looking for ways to stay healthy or to improve their wellbeing. This is especially true for people who have or are at risk of the diet and lifestyle-related health issues that can exacerbate COVID-19 cases, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.

The pandemic made us more comfortable with technology

Seemingly overnight, people of all ages had to rely on the internet and smart devices for work, education, shopping and socialization. Mintel Trends predicts that many of the technology behaviors that people have adopted during the pandemic will persist long after the restrictions are lifted.

More people are now comfortable using technology, including as a conduit to improve their physical and mental well-being. Data collection, biological tests and DNA tests now have the potential to appeal to a wider audience than just early-adopters of technology.

Moreover, the pandemic has placed a new urgency on maintaining or improving one’s health. Services that can offer convenient and effective ways to improve diets, exercise regimens and mental wellbeing will find large and ready audiences.

Health must be accessible and actionable for everyone

Mintel’s 2030 Trends predicted that DNA tests would become more affordable and accessible through 2030. But the pandemic is motivating people to improve their health immediately. More companies, governments and health systems can foster accessible personalized solutions.

Affordability also is even more essential in a recession. Using food as medicine is a goal of US grocer Kroger’s pilot program to help patients with diabetes. A physician writes a “nutrition prescription” for a patient. The patient then consults and shops with Kroger’s in-store dietitian who aims to help change their diets in line with current habits.

On a more premium end, Nestlé is targeting young Chinese adults with its new NesQino customizable drink system and app. The superfood and base sachets can be combined to make 21 different drinks. The machine retails for US$97 and five-packs of sachets are US$5-9.

A new generation of personalization emerges

Personalized protein blends

Personalised Protein Co claims to be the first personalized protein company. A lifestyle quiz is used to produce a personalized plant or dairy-based protein powder. The brand also offers personalized vitamins and prenatal supplements (UK).

Smoothie subscription
Greenspoon offers a monthly subscription of personalized smoothies made according to the buyer’s body and lifestyle. It provides combinations from more than 60 vegetables, fruits and superfoods. (Japan)

Metabolism tracking device
Lumen is a handheld device that uses a carbon dioxide sensor to identify the real-time fuel the body needs. The sensor connects to a smartphone app that offers a daily dietary plan based on nutrition needs indicated by the breath (US).

What we think

Government restrictions, lifestyle modifications and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have amended and accelerated Mintel’s three 2030 Global Food & Drink Trends. People will be looking to companies to communicate how they are invested in the welfare of people and the health of the planet, as noted by ‘Change, Incorporated.’ The illumination of the intricacies of the global food supply chain will hasten consumer acceptance of food science and technology, as forecasted by ‘High-Tech Harvests.’ The hyper-individualized approaches to physical and mental health predicted by Smart Diets will benefit from the reliance on technology during the pandemic. More people will be willing to turn to technology to get personalized insights on how to follow nutritious diets.