Plant-Based Food Has Been One of the Drivers of Consumer Trends For First Half of 2018

In this Special Report, our host Paul Barron takes the time to share with us some of the most interesting pieces of data from the Mid-Year Consumer Trends report.

Our sister company, Foodable Labs, analyzed 162K food influencers and 6.2 million conversations to determine what lays at the heart of consumer trends for the first half of 2018. As Paul Barron points out in this podcast, what constitutes a 'food influencer' for the purposes of this report, is an individual who's had five engagements with a restaurant a month, in terms of frequency.

There are five categories that the Mid-Year Consumer Trends report is based on and in this special podcast, you'll listen to Paul Barron's analysis of the data. Each category is detailed below:

1. Plant-Based Growth


"We'll be talking about a few trends that were really starting to shift in mid-year. One is the Plant-Based Growth trends... this is something we've been tracking for the last five years, but over the past 18 months we've seen significant movement in this category, so we'll get a chance to review that," Paul mentions at the beginning of the podcast.

Interesting Data Points:

  • There is a 78.4 percent increase in the past year of consumer discussion on plant-based menus
  • Currently, 59.4 percent of food influencers are dining out over six times per month with their restaurant visits averaging over 3.5 the national average.
  • From the food influencer total that is actively talking about plant-based menus, 56.8 percent of them are female and 39.5 percent are in the 25 to 34-year-old demographic.

2. Social Media Engagement

This category tracked which social media channels are experiencing the largest activity and engagement involving restaurant conversations by food influencers.

Interesting Data Points:

  • Out of the 162K food influencers, 71.2 percent of them have decreased engagement with restaurants via Facebook in the past year. However, 40.2 percent of food influencers have increased engagement via Instagram.
  • Overall, 72.2 percent of food influencers have increased video consumption with restaurants.

3. The Market Share Shift

For this category, there were 10 concept types that were analyzed. Below you'll find the winners and losers when it comes to restaurant traffic growth year over year.

Interesting Data Points:

  • The top two types of concepts that experienced the highest increased traffic scores were Plant Based Concepts with an increase of 13.8 percent and Better For You concepts with and an increase of 9.4 percent.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the two concepts that actually experienced a loss in traffic scores were Sandwich Concepts with a decreased traffic score of -4.1 percent and Casual Dining Concepts with a decreased traffic score of -4.7 percent.

4. Snack and Meal Occasions

This category looks at how many times food influencers that eat out a minimum of 5 times per month over the past year performed a snack and meal occasion.

Interesting Data Points:

  • Food Influencers performed a total of 38.4 percent of snack occasions which is up 22 percent than last year’s score.
  • Non-restaurant occasions are up 42 percent over last year's score with 14.5 percent of total occasions happening at Grocery and Specialty Food establishments.
  • Families with two children contributed to 31.2 percent of overall snack occasions, becoming the largest demographic in the category.

5. Most Important Value Trends for Food Influencers

This last category looks at what is trending amongst food influencers. What are they wanting the most? Seven data points derived from this category, but the most popular you can find below.

Interesting Data Points:

  • Traceability is a key factor for consumers with 81.4 percent of food influencers wanting to know where their food comes from.
  • Over 68 percent of food influencers are concerned with gender equality in restaurants they visit.
  • Delivery continues to be top of mind for consumers, with 62.7 percent of food influencers wanting more options.

Show Notes

  • 3:00 - Plant-based Growth Trends
  • 4:58 - Social Media Engagement
  • 7:29 - Market Share Winners
  • 8:18 - Market Share Losers
  • 9:44 - Snack & Meal Occasions
  • 11:28 - Largest Demographic to Watch
  • 12:33 - Most Valuable Trends for Food Influencers