Arnhem, Netherlands—What ranks as the #1 concern for consumers? According to Innova Market Insights Top Ten Trends for 2022, health of the planet has overtaken personal health as the top priority and the biggest driver of consumer behavior in the year ahead. Innova explained in a press release: Consumers tell us they want to be ethically and environmentally conscious, so brands need to work alongside the public to breed confidence in the claims attached to products. Trust and transparency are must-haves for any brand wishing to find common ground with an increasingly educated, forward-thinking and interconnected consumer base.

“One of the biggest shifts we are seeing is that the health of the planet is now the top concern of consumers,” said Lu Ann Williams, Innova’s Global Insights Director. “Personal health has been the big concern for the past few years, but consumers now tell us that this has been surpassed by global issues. Sustainability is no longer just a Wall Street issue. It might not be the top purchase driver for all consumers, but for many it clinches the deal when it comes to choosing between products.”

Highlights from Innova's top 10 list, as outlined in the release:

1. Shared Planet:As planetary concerns play a more significant role in consumers’ food priorities, brands are going beyond simply proclaiming their credentials. Brands now need to focus on meeting a clear, understandable measurement of their environmental and social impact. "There is a pressing need for companies to work together and with consumers to build trust in claims of zero or negative impact," Innova stressed. "It is vital to ensure universal acceptance of certifications and greater public faith in the transparency of brand actions. This requires quick, clear, tangible and trusted information combined with a product life story that truly stands up to scrutiny."

2. Plant-Based Innovation: "With personal health and global sustainability proving to be strong drivers of consumer choice, plant-based R&D has refocused from mimicking meat, fish and dairy to optimizing options that stand on their own merits," Innova reported. "When asked what reasons consumers have for considering plant-based alternatives, they tell us they consider it healthier and better for the planet. A third reason, the desire for diet variation, is further boosting interest in plant-based beyond the traditional vegan and vegetarian sectors, leading to a 59% increase in launches of new plant-based products in the year to August 2021."

3. Tech to Table:Noting that technological advances have created innovation opportunities for the food and beverage industry, Innova shared that consumers turn to apps and AI for guidance on personalized nutrition. "Myths and misunderstandings are crumbling," Innova explained, "so it has never been more important to engage in honest and open communication with consumers to ensure their continued trust in the advances of food technology. Respondents to Innova’s Consumer Survey say they are more willing to embrace changes such as new food technologies or sharing data if they can be shown to be beneficial to personal and global health."

Rounding out the top 10:

4. Shifting Occasions

5. Voice of the Consumer

6. Gut Glory

7. Back to the Roots

8. Amplified Experiences

9. Upcycling Redefined

10. My Food, My Brand

Innova Market Insights will be offering more information on each of these on November 3, 2021 in a webinar with Williams. Get more details and registerhere.