Guest Blog: Good Sense Research
Good Sense Research, part of leading food consultancy firm Food Innovation Solutions, is a consumer research agency that works predominantly in the food and drink industry.
This September we are teaming up with local enterprise agency, Menta (also based in Bury St Edmunds) to co-sponsor the festival’s start-up marquee, a great working partnership that will benefit the up-and-coming food producers in the area.
Amongst the Aldeburgh Food Festival’s aims are; encouraging people to support the local economy and reduce our carbon foot print by buying local, encouraging people to grow and cook their own food, and promoting the abundance and variety of food and drink produced in Suffolk. Embedded in the very essence of the festival are some of today’s fastest growing consumer and food trends.
Today we live in a consumer driven society, where the desires and impulses that we so love to satisfy, are often in conflict with our morals and values, and our need to feel good about ourselves. Global warming, poverty and human overpopulation are among the biggest challenges facing today’s society and naturally our lifestyles contribute to these. So ideally, there would be a way to continue indulging, but with less of an impact… Cue ‘conscious consumption’. Here are a few examples;
The Ugly Vegetable Movement is gaining momentum as companies seek to promote the purchase and consumption of ugly or less-than-perfect fruit. In 2014 France’s 3rd largest retailer Intermarché took their inglorious fruits campaign viral and served soups and shakes in the supermarkets made from ugly veg, in a bid to demonstrate that they are perfectly fit for consumption. Here in the UK Waitrose has its range of ‘weather-blemished’ fruit and earlier this year Asda trialled its wonky fruit and veg campaign ‘Beautiful on the Inside’.
‘Dumpster dining’ is also a means to raising awareness about food waste. Skipchen in Bristol is a non-for-profit café that has been serving up nutritious meals made out of surplus food picked out of supermarket skips. Naturally, the menu changes daily offering variety and the customers are invited to pay as they feel. Those who are struggling financially are also welcome to eat for free. In true no-waste fashion, anything left over at the end of the Skipchen day is given away rather than put in the bin.
Original Unverpakt in Berlin, Germany is a packaging and wrapping free supermarket, championing sustainability. Of course this means that certain things are unavailable, such as toothpaste in a tube, but the founders believe it makes for a better shopping experience because what’s sold in store has been selected as the best option.
Transparency is another big trend. Consumers want to know exactly where their food has come from and the importance and appreciation of local, homegrown produce is increasing. An extension of this, something that is also driven by the 2014 changes to allergen labelling laws, is clearer labelling on products that tells consumers all they want to know about what the food contains.
Finally we are seeing the development of alternative protein sources to feed the growing world population and in particular, entomophagy or the consumption of insects. Whilst the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that two billion of the world’s population already eat insects as part of their normal diet, we are only beginning to see this movement in the UK. Ento is a London based start-up that creates foods using edible insects.
In conclusion, the Aldeburgh Food Festival is more than just a fun-family day out; it’s a celebration of Suffolk food that champions many of the solutions to broader societal issues. So when you visit the festival, have a think about the broader food and consumer trends that are present in each of the stalls and keep your eye out for the edible insect based products that will no doubt appear in the near future!