Geplaatst op: 09-06-2024
Auteur: Ian Yeoman
NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Publicatie: VTS 2024-1

Changing Eating Habits

Changing Eating Habits

Food security is rising across the world, as prices rise under pressure from climate change, geopolitics, demographics, and de-globalisation. These factors, when combined, will impact the food service sector. In this trends paper, the author identifies ten trends that reflect the changes occurring in the food service sector. The trends analysis is based upon the predictive paradigm in future studies which draws upon evidence, facts, and observational research. The ten trends are: 1) climate change diets; 2) escapist indulgence; 3) moderation mantra; 4) evidence-based eating; 5) mood food; 6) digital food; 7) sustainable dining; 8) ethnic and fusion food; 9) local food; and 10) adventurous dining. The contribution of this paper is that it identifies the changes occurring in our eating patterns and food purchase decisions and provides a signal to foodservice operators and brands about the changes that are occurring and why.

Ian Yeoman, Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences


After gains in global food security in the 1990s and 2000s brought about by low inflation, global cooperation, increased yields and secure access resulted in falling undernourishment levels and starvation in many developing economies(Hasegawa et al., 2021), now, trends have reversed and larger numbers of people in the world are becoming food insecure, as prices rise under pressure from climate change, geopolitics, demographics and de-globalisation (Euromonitor, 2024). This situation is very likely to continue to worsen in the coming decades, as these underlying drivers strengthen. The question is, how do these wider trends of the global food supply chain, and the food we purchase for home consumption for everyday meals, transcend into the food service sector, as "eating out of the home” is different from "eating at home”. In this paper, we look at how eating trends will influence the food service sector.

Trend One: Climate Change Diets

It must be recognised that agriculture is a major driver of climate change. Globally, food systems are responsible for up to 30 per cent of all human-driven greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The production of animals and crops for feed alone accounts for nearly a third of global deforestation and associated carbon dioxide emissions: it is a primary source of methane and nitrous oxide, two of the most potent Green House Gases (GHGs); and in terms of water, land and energy use it is highly resource-intensive (Jarmul et al., 2020; Wellesley et al., 2015). With the drive towards a more sustainable lifestyle (Factory, 2022c) consumers are connecting climate change with what they eat, hence, the trend of climate change diets. For example, the best-known proposal is the EAT-Lancet Diet (aka "planetary health diet” (, which proposes a 2,500-calorie-a-day diet that the authors assert is optimal for both human nutrition and the environment (Beal et al., 2023). This diet focuses on eating more vegetables, fruit and pulses and is a clear indication to eat less red meat. More similarly, the Dutch Cuisine ( movement is based on the principle of 80% vegetables and 20% meat and fish, with a strong focus on healthy eating and seasonal food.

Trend Two: Escapist Indulgence

Indulgent eating refers to consuming food or drinks in a manner that prioritises pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction over strict adherence to dietary restrictions or nutritional guidelines. It often involves indulging in rich, decadent, or high-calorie foods that may be considered indulgent treats rather than everyday fare. Indulgent eating can take many forms, such as enjoying a lavish multi-course meal at a fine dining restaurant, savouring a decadent dessert, treating oneself to comfort foods that evoke nostalgia or happiness, or simply indulging in favourite foods without concern for their nutritional content (Gardner et al., 2014).An example of this trend is our regular consumption of sweet treats (such as chocolate, cake and doughnuts) has been growing across the globe (Factory, 2022a). In 2020, 70% of consumers ate sweet treats at least once a week – and this figure jumped in several markets between 2015 and 2020. For example, in Spain, the proportion of consumers who ate sweet treats at least weekly in 2022 increased to 80% from 55% in 2015 (Factory, 2023a).

Trend Three: Moderation Mantra

The moderation manta trend embraces self-discipline and balanced indulgence for healthier living. This is a trend in which unhealthy choices are perceived to present multiple risks to the individual – to one’s wallet, physical appearance, well-being and broader social reputation (Wright & Schultz, 2022). Consumers are exploring supposedly healthier (and trendier) alternatives for unhealthy actions, such as zero-proof drinks over alcohol, and social exercise classes instead of the bar. Veganism and vegetarianism are now heralded as positive lifestyle choices for both personal and planetary health.

Trend Four: Evidence-Based Eating

This trend describes how consumers are seeking verifiable claims around ingredients and dietary choices. Consumers are naturally left unsure about where the truth about a particular dietary choice lies, and whether the snack or meal they are eating is healthy or sustainable. As more food service providers and supermarkets claim space within the wellness and eco spheres, this lack of clarity is only set to grow (Factory, 2022b). Post-COVID-19, the pandemic has boosted trust in experts, particularly scientists, among many consumers at least so the consumers are turning to experts for reference (Parashar et al., 2023; Sestino et al., 2023).

Trend Five: Mood Food

This trend describes how eating and cooking can meet emotional needs and support mental well-being. During the pandemic, cooking and baking became key tools for reducing anxiety, and for some, food itself became an emotional crutch (Cappelle et al., 2023; Meikle, 2022). Comfort eating was boosted, and we saw a return to the nostalgic foods of childhood. An increased focus on mental health more generally in recent years has seen consumers seek out functional food and drink solutions to manage their mood, with innovation having a particular focus on calming ingredients. For example, Cannabidiol has been a major player, and adaptogens, mushrooms and nootropics are following fast (Factory, 2023b).

The range of emotions being targeted by mood-managing foods will expand, with consumers seeking serotonin-boosting ingredients to promote happiness, arousal-inducing properties and food and beverages that improve social interactions.

Trend Six: Digital Food

With mobile internet connectivity reaching 87% of the population by 2023 (Calba & Franco, 2023), it is only natural for restaurant operators to enhance the value of their services by digitising the dining experience. For example, Frenessi ( offers an immersive single-table dining experience. Over three hours, patrons embark on a global journey where AR technology intertwines with storytelling, enabling them to feel the atmosphere, music, and recipes of diverse locations of the world. Meeting consumers primarily online is crucial, as they increasingly demand a seamless integration of digitalisation into the food service industry. As consumers embrace digital platforms, emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, are poised to streamline customer interactions, potentially elevating experiences to a level akin to in-person interactions. Considering the cost implications remains essential.

Trend Seven: Sustainable Dining

Restaurants are adapting their sustainability practices to reap the benefits for their business and for the environment. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to interact with and verify sustainability concerns. Consumers do not want to be passive bystanders to an environmental and social decline. Research by the Foresight Factory (Factory, 2022c) confirms that many are eager to personally protect the environment and consume in ways that are compatible with their eco-ethical values. But sustainability considerations can fall to the wayside, where other matters come into focus, such as price and purpose. Restaurants need to signpost their eco-ethical credentials in ways that the consumer can verify.

Trend Eight: Ethnic & Fusion Food

Fusion cuisine is a cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions that originate from different countries, regions, or cultures. Cuisines of this type are not categorised according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since 1970. Fusion cuisine emerges as a symbol of cultural integration, reflecting the interconnectedness of today’s global society (Stano, 2017). Moving from plain fare to fusion food is how Britain’s food has changed this century (Oddy, 2003). A good example of this is how the British have adopted curry as their national dish, to the point that curry sauce and chips is a popular takeaway at many fish and chip outlets.

Trend Nine: Local Food

There has been a growing trend within the hospitality sector to locally source food stuffs with the benefits of this being conceptualised in debates surrounding freshness and taste, as reflected in the work of the slow food movement (Tresidder, 2015) and in explorations of the relationship between food and the tourism experience and place (Yeoman, 2015). Food is highly symbolic and generates meaning because food, cuisine and food traditions have their roots in local agriculture and are expressions of regional culture and identity. Thus, food tradition and heritage gain added value through the symbolic process of tourism activities that objectify the intangible localness and becomes more interesting and engaging, thus broadening its meaning to the cosmopolitan domain and creating new types of social encounters (Kim et al., 2024). .

Trend Ten: Adventurous Dining

The experience economy is core to many dining experiences (K?l?ç et al., 2021; Pine & Gilmore, 2011). The experience economy is the desire to enrich our daily lives by experiencing new things and undertaking activities which deliver a sense of improvement, enjoyment, and rejuvenation. Consumers prefer aspirational and experiential types of consumption based on the concept of sampling new and unique experiences. For example, The Wild Food Festival ( in Hokitika, New Zealand owes its success to the exotic range of foods on offer from huhu grubs, locusts and mountain oysters (Downes, 2023). Research tells us that consumers want to engage in a whole range of different dining experiences, this is what Yeoman (2010) calls fluid identity in which middle-class consumers seek novelty and adventure, and sample different experiences.

Concluding Thoughts

As the world changes due to food security, retail trends are changing what we eat. Prices are rising, geopolitics is determining supply, ageing populations have become a more dominant trend and climate change reshapes what we can grow and our access to food. What we eat at home is not necessarily what we will eat when dining out as the motivations and behaviours are different, however they do influence. Several trends, such as climatarian diets, sustainable diets, and local food, are influenced by climate change, whereas mood food, adventurous dining, ethnic and fusion food, escapist indulgence and adventurous dining represent our desire for something different and reasons for dining out. The importance of the paper lies in making explicit the series of trends which can be used for exploration, menu design, new food service sector products and restaurant concepts.


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Trefwoorden: toerisme, food; foodtoerisme, horeca, trends


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