What are the new food retail trends?

If you had mentioned to me six months ago that caper sales would have increased by 34% and pepper sales by 65% in Australia I would have given you a puzzled look. Not anymore! What is going to change next?

As a farm retailer and consultant, I have to keep a close eye on international and local trends to make sure I catch the proverbial 'wave'.

In Australia, the PLAY report In-Home meals and Cooking Trends from COVID-19 and Beyond has just been released and it makes for interesting reading.

Yes, the research is Australian, but I believe the trends are global.

Home cooking is thriving

The rise in searches for 'Home Cooking' on the web has increased in Australia by 60% and recipe searches by 50%; consumers are looking for new ideas when it comes to preparing meals at home.

In Australia the top breakfast recipe search in June was for IKEA meatballs as a breakfast option, followed by scones. Who would have thought Swedish meatballs would become a top breakfast option.

The Aussie lifestyle habits have changed

  • 48% are looking for inspirational lunch recipes;
  • 46% say cooking at home helps ease the mind;
  • 43% are doing more bulk cooking;
  • 43% say cooking is the highlight of their day;
  • 42% are using alternative ingredients;
  • 23% are exploring new recipes.

I suspect similar results would be found in Ireland or the UK


Not only have the habits of our consumer changed, but also the language...

ISO-Baking is now the new 'in-vogue' search term.

'ISO' (in search of) is one of the latest slang words used with 11% of Aussies now baking at home and searching for ideas.

All these trends are presenting new opportunities, especially to farm shops and markets as consumers are trying new retail outlets, new brands and new products.

New Trends In Home Baking Fresh Ingredients

What are the trends moving forward?

The biggest change is that consumers want to buy local. In Australia, 59% of those surveyed said locally produced was their key driver.

A refreshing change

Interestingly, when I now go shopping it is now much more common for retail staff to tell me where a product was made and they are promoting products made locally.

The other consumer drivers were:

  • 41% Want to purchase food that keeps you strong and healthy;
  • 40% Want natural ingredients;
  • 33% Search our produce that help immune system.

Local and Well-being are going to be the major drivers moving forward and that means farm shops will see the benefits as we are seeing an environmental and well-being shift in consumer habits.

This is a marketing opportunity for farm retailers and the sector needs to have clear messaging that food produced on the farm and sold at a farm shop is some of the healthiest you can purchase and is local.

Combine this with local recipes and the strategy is in place for the future.

All about the taste

In the past, the main food retail drivers have often been price, convenience, and speed to prepare.

These are still important, but at the top of the list now is Taste. 53% of those surveyed placed 'taste' as the single most important element when purchasing food.

Opportunity in the face of adversity

The majority of consumers believe a recession will be the result of the pandemic. This means that consumers are also more likely to focus on local, healthy food.

There I predict that there will be three key drivers:

  • Local will be the Preferred Premium Brand. This allows for new local retail partnerships and support for local campaigns;
  • Home is now 'Mission Control'. There will be home cooking revolution and health will be a major driver. Communicating with your consumer and providing food ideas in their kitchen is a great opportunity;
  • Thriftiness. Home Chefs, will be more thrifty and food waste will decline.

COVID -19 has provided the farm retail sector with unique marketing opportunities.

By thinking differently, the future could be exciting.


John Stanley

John Stanley



John Stanley is a retail consultant specialising in the farm retail sector. Based in West Australia, he is a sweet chestnut and pig farmer as well as consultant and conference speaker with clients in 35 countries. He is the author of several books in this subject, including the book 'Food Tourism... A Practical Marketing Guide'

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