New survey of registered dietitian nutritionists provides insights into food and diet trends

A recent survey published in Today’s Dietitian and conducted by Pollock Communications provides an in-depth look into 2022 nutrition trends, based on responses from 1,173 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs).

A recent survey published in Today’s Dietitian and conducted by Pollock Communications provides an in-depth look into 2022 nutrition trends, based on responses from 1,173 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). The results show that RDNs believe that the major purchase drivers in 2022 will be immune support, affordability and value, and comfort/emotional well-being. Looking ahead, RDNs believe that consumers will actively seek out functional ingredients such as CBD, collagen, hemp. When it comes to product attributes, RDNs say that consumers want products to be convenient, healthy, and tasty. These attributes are particularly important when you consider that 95% of RDNs say that consumers are snacking more due to the pandemic. Therefore, they want comfort food, but they don’t want to sacrifice their help to enjoy them.

Survey respondents also took notice of diet trends, surprised by what the survey calls an “overcorrection” in diet culture from fat-free everything to the rise in high-fat, low-carb diets such as the ketogenic diet. Other notable dietary trends observed by RDNs were plant-based eating, including high consumption of plant-based dairy alternatives and more vegetarian or vegan diets, gluten-free products, intermittent fasting, as well as gut health and immunity.

"With the focus on health and immunity in the next decade, and the increased popularity of plant-based eating, nutrient-dense options will be an important part of consumer diets, as they embrace food as medicine to help prevent disease," said Louise Pollock, president of Pollock Communications, in a press release. "In addition, there will likely be an increased interest in functional foods containing ingredients that provide health benefits beyond their nutrient profile."

The digital space also has a major impact, for good or ill, say RDNs. For example, 90% of RDNs cite online food shopping as a biggest trend from the pandemic that will continue. This will in turn compel marketers to find new ways to reach consumers through virtual shopping platforms, including promotions, digital coupons, and immersive virtual branding experiences. Unfortunately, the digital space is also a major source of misinformation, with the main culprit being social media, particularly Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. However, just behind social media are family and friends, and celebrities, as sources of misinformation. Brands trying to market their products online and through social media should therefore take care to make responsible claims.

"The predictions of RDNs, the frontline experts in food and nutrition, are always reliable to help food and beverage manufacturers and marketers meet the demands of consumers. Our survey has accurately tracked health and wellness trends for a decade," said Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian. "We are pleased to have been able to share these insights for the past ten years and especially during this chaotic time in our lives, when food is playing such a major role in providing health, wellness and emotional support."