Resilience in the Face of Adversity – United Fresh Trend Report 2022, Part 1

Two years into a global pandemic and many Kiwi consumers will be wondering just what 2022 has in store for us all. There is no question that the world has changed immensely and many of our daily habits have changed along with it. But has the way we get our daily bread or pro-biotic kombucha really evolved that much or are we showing resilience in the face of grocery aisle adversity?

Our nation’s supermarkets and small retailers have noted several shifts in consumer behaviour which have shaped the pick of the top trends to watch for in 2022. These shifts in consumerism have a ripple effect through the entire food and beverage manufacturing sector.

The Great Grocery Edit

Fresh from the ‘Great Resignation’, shoppers in 2022 are expected to review their consumption habits in light of changing views about materialism. The global pandemic forced millions around the world to re-evaluate their life choices. Along with reduced supply and the threat of inflation, many shoppers will intentionally quit brands and rewrite their shopping lists to align with their personal values.

How brands navigate their communication with their community will be critical to retaining shoppers for whom the principle will be more important than the price, and those who will be asking themselves – ‘do I really need this’.

Do the Moringa

Move over matcha and turmeric, moringa is the latest superfood coming to a hip café near you. Also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree or just ‘miracle leaf’, moringa originated in India and has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb.

The leaves are so incredibly nutritious that the World Health Organisation has hailed their potential to fight malnutrition as they contain a huge dose of both Vitamin C and Potassium.

Like its predecessors matcha and turmeric, moringa is now available in powdered form to add to smoothies or sauces, but the herb is expected to become a common ingredient in a range of grocery products over the next 12 months.

Pantry to Plate

The perfect storm of inflation, supply chain chaos, dining restrictions and all that time spent in lockdown experimenting with sourdough and banana bread will mean more adventurous home-cooking in 2022.

Brands will be looking to capitalise on this trend by showcasing the versatility of products and how they can be used in at-home settings.

Nutritious and Bubblicious

Alcohol-free, sugar-free, carb-free and pro-biotic, our drinks fridges are getting a facelift in 2022. The popularity of kombucha is set to open up a wave of pro-biotic options such as kefir and switchel taking more space in the supermarket than traditional soft drinks.

The connection between gut health and lung function has come into the spotlight overseas as COVID-19 patients looked for products to alleviate symptoms of the disease, especially the debilitating effects of long-COVID. Fresh juice and smoothies made with locally grown, seasonal fruit and vegetables will remain a popular source of nourishment.

A growing cohort of ‘sober curious’ consumers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z are driving an increase in non-alcoholic options. Everything from alcohol-free whiskey to zero-proof botanical ‘gin’ and tropical cocktails made with ‘not rum’, a night out without the hangover has become much more attractive.

In addition to these booze-free options, the growing ranges of RTDs that tap into heath concerns and aspirational marketing campaigns are making significant inroads on global wine consumption. Aside from Rosé, the profile of many traditional grape varietals has dipped significantly, with a recalibration needed from the industry to appeal to the fickle Millennial and Gen Z audience.

5+ A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

There’s no doubt, we all need as many vitamins and minerals as possible to boost our natural immunity and fresh fruit and vegetables, locally grown and in season, are still the most affordable, most easily absorbed source of nutrition that we can put on the table each night.

While shoppers over 55 and young families lead the way, eating the most portions of fresh produce each day, the rest of us are catching up as we explore new ways to stay healthy and choose diets high in fruit and vegetables.

In 2022 the popularity of fruit and vegetables looks set to continue as retailers explore faster, fresher and more convenient ways to get us our 5+ A Day, every day.

Stay tuned for the second part of the Trend Report which we will feature in the coming weeks.

United Fresh ( has over 30 years of experience supporting and promoting the New Zealand fresh produce industry, working with the entire value chain, from seed producer and grower to consumer, providing leadership on pan- produce issues. 

This is their fifth Trend Report for New Zealand.