Younger eating sushi photo


Innovation in food & drink is essential to meet consumers rapidly changing unmet and underdeveloped Need States as consumer preference changes at a rapidly increasing rate

What is driving this changing taste consumer preference?

Fundamentally the taste plate is changing rapidly and dynamically on a global basis in both developed and developing markets as values and behavior change

From our work as a leading food & drink market research agency who specialize in helping our clients develop products that consumers prefer to the competition- we have identified 5 key forces driving this change

1)Generational Age & Behavior Change

The current younger generation have been exposed to more and more different food and drink tastes and their accompanying emotions compared to their parents generation

Therefore many ‘old’ foods are seen as old fashioned and not of today and consequently not for “me’. The teenager in Paris has more in common with their counterpart in Tokyo than their Parisian parents

Such behavior can be seen in growth of snacking and grazing vs. declining formal meals with the subsequent growth of eating on the go finger food as the youth of the US, Europe and Australasia move closer together in lifestyle and diet

2) Culture Change

The growth of air travel and holidaying in exotic locations has allowed consumers to enjoy new taste experiences

In addition, the global migration has meant more ethnic food is available, usually of a stronger spicier nature, curry in the UK, Mexican in the US, Chinese everywhere

Meanwhile the growth of fast food and meant an increase in cheap, convenient, high fat, high taste meals accompanied by stronger more intense soft drink The result is that blander tastes are increasingly being seen as old fashioned and “boring”

3) Globalization

As discussed we are seeing a drawing together of different lifestyles in food and drink. In developing markets as the quality of life is improved, so consumers seek out new experiences in taste as in the rest of life

This has and is providing a massive longer term opportunity for global brands, usually derived from Western multi – nationals

The key for such brands is to adjust and fine tune their product offerings to the local palate to meet local psychological and physiological needs

However, it is noticeable from our work in former closed societies of Russia and China that consumer preference changes and becomes richer and creamier in intensity as consumers experience more western derived global brands

4) Health & Wellness

Values and behavior is changing on the idea of ‘you are what you eat’. Concerns over fat, sugar and salt in food & drink – both calorific and general health concerns have led to many changing their diets

However, many of such consumers are looking for a balance of health and satisfaction in their total diet by allowing themselves some limited indulgence if it has been ‘earned’ through healthy eating

Such consumers are therefore reacting intellectually and emotionally to such food and drink consumed and its quantity and make a conscious decision on how they feel consuming it – i.e. guilty or not

Increasingly food and drink is not being just judged on the taste and texture but other psychological and emotional rewards – hence the growth of BFY and GFY products

5) Overall Taste Intensity – Younger and More of it!

From our work for over nearly 30 years it is noticeable that the taste palate is growing more intense and at, significantly, a younger age. When we now encounter a 14 year old they have the same taste palate characteristics of a 16 / 17 year old of only a few years ago and this trend is accelerating – driven by forces previously listed

For example, older traditional coffee consumers in the US find Starbucks coffee too challenging in its bitter aftertaste while younger consumers find traditional coffee too bland and old fashioned

Generally overall intensity of taste must be balanced vs. satiation, particularly in the aftertaste to retain its moreishness but this level is becoming higher in intensity and impact



Consumer preference in food and drink is changing driven by the forces outlined above. It can manifest itself in many ways as we shall see in future blogs

To avoid being seen as yesterdays brand food and drink producers must constantly innovate – either through continuous improvement and modification or major NPD innovation – depending on their consumers’ preference

To find out more how you can improve your products consumer preference contact us at  for a complimentary no obligation consultation [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Area of interest’ type=’url’/][/contact-form]