I Don’t Believe Your Trend Report

Posted September 15, 2020 by Keith Seiz

At the end of every year, I eagerly await the mountain of trend reports to hit my inbox, predicting what ingredients and diets will be impacting food and beverage new product development in the coming year. It’s like Christmas morning for someone like me who spends their days making decisions based on what consumers want.

Similar to Christmas presents, some of these trend reports are great; others are OK and are well,  just socks. Thanks to COVID-19, we get two Christmases this year as the global pandemic has necessitated a complete review of what everyone thought would happen in 2020.

Many of these COVID predictions have focused on how consumers are changing their eating patterns for the better. Less meat, more healthy foods and an attention to eating products for health benefits, such as immunity and gut health. Here is the perfect example of such a report from global food giant ADM. According to the company’s OutsideVoice research, “77% of consumers intend to make more attempts to stay healthy in the future.”

I don’t buy it. Consumers may say they are going to eat healthier, but I don’t believe for one second they will. Why? Because none of our elected or appointed leaders are talking about it. Instead, it appears everyone in power is content to either wait for a vaccine or debate the value of masks.

Why is no one in power telling us the truth about the role of healthy eating in this pandemic? Why isn’t it bigger news that an analysis in Obesity Review found that “people with obesity who contracted SARS-CoV-2 were 113% more likely than people of healthy weight to land in the hospital, 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU and 48% more likely to die.

No one is talking about it because obesity is a taboo subject we can’t address nowadays. But this is a potential life and death situation, and our leaders need to be frank with Americans. Eat healthy foods because it could save your life.

Seems dramatic, but I really don’t think it is. And I really don’t think consumers will change unless our leaders start hammering this message. Oh, consumers will tell a researcher or online poll they plan on eating healthier, but 2020 has been a terrible year, and in times like these, it’s really easy to reach for the Twinkies instead of a handful of healthy nuts. I know, because I’ve been guilty of doing just that.

So if our leaders won’t say what needs to be said, then who will? I think it’s up to food and beverage companies. If you produce a product that positively impacts someone’s physical or mental health, shout it from the rooftops and call out your competitors that don’t.

Seems harsh, but as we approach 200,000 deaths, consider that those who are obese are more than 48% likely to die from COVID. How many people could have been saved if our leaders were serious about improving people’s health through dietary changes?

This is America, so I know (and agree) that we can’t force people to eat healthy. However, our leaders should be screaming from the rooftops that it’s one of the best things you can do to prevent serious complications from COVID-19.

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