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Experts on the Record: What's Ahead for Consumers in 2024

Trend experts share predictions for consumer behaviors that will impact the food and beverage marketplace in the year ahead.

By Mary Ellen Kuhn
Experts on Record

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2023 has been a tough year, filled with natural disasters, global conflict, and budget-busting inflation. What’s on the horizon for consumers in 2024?

Food Technology put the question to a variety of food and beverage trend watchers, and here is some of what they had to say. See the December 2023/January 2024 issue of the magazine for more insights from these and other consumer trend experts.

“When marketing to Gen Z consumers, it’s important to recognize that fads are becoming more important than trends and embrace it [with strategies such as limited-time offerings and seasonal specialties].”
—A. Elizabeth Sloan, president, SloanTrends Inc.

“Election year media will fuel distrust, leading to greater consumer complexity. This will require food brands to ‘do what they say’ and ‘say what they do’ to remain relevant.”
—Dave Lundahl, CEO, InsightsNow

“If I am paying a premium price, does the product offer me a significant benefit? Do I need it in my daily routine? If the answer is ‘yes,’ consumers will spend more—within their means, of course—for it. If the answer is ‘not at the moment,’ they will penny-pinch in that category.”
—Miri Eliyahu, senior research analyst, Euromonitor International 

“During economic downturns, we see the emergence of an hourglass: There is increased spending on cheaper products, [and] discounters surge, as do premium products sold at premium retailers.” 
—Lu Ann Williams, global insights director, Innova Market Insights

Miri Eliyahu - Consumer Trends

If I am paying a premium price, does the product offer me a significant benefit?

- Miri Eliyahu, Senior Research Analyst , Euromonitor International

“The market [for plant-based products] is saturated, and consumers will seek more vegetable-forward, less processed plant-based products.”
—Amy Marks-McGee, founder, Trendincite

“The TikTok effect will continue to have an outsized influence on food and beverage choices. According to a Ketchum Food survey, TikTok was the leading source of food inspiration and information among Gen Z.”
—Jimmy Szczepanek, managing director, consumer food, Ketchum

“Barbie will linger in 2024, affecting mostly the cocktail scene and desserts, and should [also] move into cereal and candy.”
—Suzy Badaracco, president, Culinary Tides

About the Author

Mary Ellen Kuhn
Mary Ellen Kuhn is executive editor of Food Technology magazine ([email protected]).