Lifestyle choices and their effects on the food industry

Strong is the new skinny, LCHP instead of LCHF, dieting with Instagram and slow food instead of fast food. How will these trends effect the food industry?

There is a large wellness trend moving across the world. People are tired of losing their bodies and minds to the minimal physical effort of office work. They want to get back to our ancestors when it comes to movement and exercise, taking physical activity to new extremes.

A lifestyle with exercise and healthy food choices will define them and as the social landscape of different social media platforms will make it easy to both inspire others but also make their choices define them through sharing their activities and values.

Exercise seems to trend towards more basic and easy but still very hard training. Gone are the fashionable gyms where you went to show off you latest training outfit.

Signing up for hard races seems to be the best way to challenge yourself, and your social media followers. Boutique gyms tailored to specific needs are getting more common, where being part of a community rather than large mass of people trying to lose weight, is more interesting.

Of course, to be able to perform at the top you also need to eat a lot and to eat well. Gone are the days of diets on plain salad. Todays consumers are updated on what protein intake they need every day. They have a very clear idea of what to eat and what not to eat in order to achieve their goal. A few years ago LCHF (low carb high fat) was the trend to follow, while today there is more focus on LCHP (low carb high protein).

For women there is a saying that “strong is the new skinny”. Even if lots of women still go to gyms to lose weight there is a shift towards using lifting weights instead of cardio to reach their goal. This means a more achievable goal for many women and the focus has moved from achieving the skinniest body to the healthiest. Health has been a frequent hashtag in social media even though a skinny ideal still exists.


Social media and transparency

A British woman lost over 50 kg by posting images of her food and her progress in weight loss on Instagram. Instagram helped her find people who recommended suitable healthy dishes. She also got a lot of followers that gave her encouragement when posting pictures of herself and her weight loss.

The important thing here is that, through these new healthy ideals sparked through social media, food is a common factor. Because to be healthy you need to eat healthily. What you eat is important! And here the food and restaurant industry have new consumers to relate to. Not only will they need information about what is in their chosen products but they will also have demands as to whether it is organic or not and where the product comes from.

Transparency for food retailers is becoming increasingly important. With the support of social media the message of both positive and negative information is quick to circulate. But retailers are sometimes cautious about delivering messages on successful CSR work, due to the fear of being analysed by media on all levels finding areas where their work has not been so successful and therefore bringing down the whole company.

This is called green hushing, playing on the word green washing which is a term to explain corporations eager to present social responsibility but not doing it with a holistic perspective.

Coop Italy completely redesigned its brand communication and image starting by the redefinition of its brand directions, that is its brand principles and rules. The new communication paradigm was first implemented in the Point of Sales and then coherently conjugated on their web site and in their presence on the social media.

Coop Italy is in fact a cooperative owned by their consumers’ members. That means that it is a social enterprise that has social responsibility inscribed in its foundation statute. Its new brand communication is therefore based on transparency and it therefore represents a paradigmatic model of social marketing.

All Coop private label products are in fact communicated as heros that are fighting on the battle field of fairly traded goods, not tested on animals cosmetics, FSC certified paper, sustainable fishing, compostable or recycled packaging, animal welfare granted breeding, no food chemical colouring. Coop social commitment is the nutshell of its brand identity and of its values-based offer.

That also implies to sacrifice commercial benefits when it is needed. Coop brand directions are for example banning foie gras from their assortment even if that can result in a sales’ declining.

This strategy was a way to raise brand awareness and value based benefits, sometimes having to sacrifice commercial benefits. For example within the animal welfare campaign they made a decision to exclude foie gras from their assortment resulting in declining sales but making a strong brand statement.

The Food Babe Army is an organisation in the US that was started by a woman that was hospitalised because of bad food habits. Today the organisation tries to change the way of the large American food companies, abandoning chemicals for example.

The Food Babe Army is very active on social media. Recently the Food Babe Army got Subway to commit to only using animals raised without antibiotics.


The foodie culture

The large attention food gets in our everyday life through conventional media and social media is of course something food retailers have taken advantage of.

In the seventies and eighties food was supposed to be ready-made and time saving, today the focus is on organic, high quality and locally produced. To really come across as this healthy option brands need to focus on marketing and brand building to make it worth the investment of making really good quality food.


Focusing on one ingredient, doing it really well, rather than offering everything the customer could possibly want is one expression of the foodie culture. An example of this is the caviar bar the Finnish company Savu-Kari that offers a wide range of fish and roe products, with the focus on premium quality products and their origin.

They opened a champagne-caviar bar on one of the most exclusive locations in Helsinki where the customers are served first-class caviar together with champagne or fine spirits.

In Amsterdam there is a food chain called de Clercq that has a really interesting concept. Each week the store features 14 recipes incorporating seasonal, local ingredients, presented on separate stands in individual portions, with recipe cards for shoppers to take home.

Each stand also includes a suggested wine to go with the meal, while the space itself includes a cafe and bakery. Perhaps an adaptation of the seventies and eighties fast food trend but with present day ideas of healthy ingredients and slow-food?

Browse through the whole issue