Trend Watch: Why EMEA Consumers Are Eating Better

August 2021

Eating well is a trend that continues to grow in popularity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, whether consumers are planning a meal or a snack on the go.

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only reason most people want to eat better, because there was strong interest in personal wellness before 2020. But it has sparked more interest in better-for-you consumption, which is likely to remain important for years to come.

Here are three reasons why the trend toward healthier eating has influenced the consumption and development of food and beverage products in EMEA:

Personal health

Fruits and vegetables are the backbone of any healthy diet, and more EMEA consumers have sought them out in the last year because of the pandemic. According to EIT Food and Aarhus University’s consumer behavior study, European consumers had a 32% increase in fruit consumption, and 27% increase in vegetable & legumes. Also, 49% of people surveyed said that being in good health is more important to them because of COVID-19.

This extends to other aspects of eating. For example, the EIT study showed that 29% of Europeans say that they’re avoiding food additives and preservatives. Also, there has been a 53% increase in the number of organic farms in the UAE, according to Friday Magazine


The pandemic has influenced consumer behavior in this area as well. Globally, about 60% of people surveyed by Accenture were making more sustainable and ethical purchases since the start of COVID-19, with 90% likely to continue doing do after the pandemic.

“Consumers are striving to live a more ethical life that is better for themselves, for other people and for the planet,” said Onur Ci, Business Development for Chaucer Foods in the UK and Ireland.

Sustainability has become a priority for many in the Middle East, too. About 46% of consumers reported that they would switch brands based on the company’s social, environmental, cultural and political attitudes—up from 37% in the previous year, according to Food Business Gulf.

Less time

People are constantly looking to make the most of their time and that means not spending extra minutes or hours finding just the right food combinations. If they can get food and beverages that have all the nutrients they need along with an exceptional taste experience, they will choose them every time.

“As consumers have become more pressed for time, food provides a way of treating themselves after a busy day at work, so it needs to be high quality and tap into their individual needs,” Ci said.

And, if people are working from home more often, it makes healthy snacking a more important part of their day.
“The anytime, anywhere convenience snacking has moved from on-the-go to always-at-home snacking, which is reducing or even removing impulse immediate consumption and experiential elements,” Ci said. “Portability becomes a defining factor in the snacking category.”

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