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Experientialist or foodiversalist: Which of the five food personas are you?


FIVE food personas will inform how consumers will purchase food in 2024, according to a study by research agency WGSN and Sysu International, Inc., importer and distributor of premium food brands such as Clara Olé, Lee Kum Kee, and McCormick.

The mindful nurturist, the conscious curator, the collective guardian, the experientialist, and the foodiversalist “will have adjusted priorities that brands need to know now in anticipation of their evolved food and drink demands,” according to WGSN.

Mindful nurturists make up the biggest group and they cut across generational cohorts: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. They value their physical being, prioritize wellness over work, and care a lot about their community.

“They want to consume food that would really add value to their health and holistic well-being. The products that would appeal to them are the ones that actually champion sustainability and taking care of the planet,” said Sandy Cu, Sysu International product and business development head, at the company’s Tastesetters Workshop 2022, a hybrid event held in Quezon City’s Novotel and streamed live on Facebook on June 29.

Mindful nurturists are interested in “everyday care,” healthier snacks, and alcohol-free drinks. “During the pandemic, the snacking consumption grew so much that we cannot not care about this segment,” she said. To corner this market, brands can launch diet-friendly and healthy products that have an Asian or modern twist.

Conscious curators value the environment and have “maximum control” of their lives. “Maybe they’re juggling a lot of roles in a day,” said Ms. Cu. “They really like to use technology to ease whatever they’re doing.” Mostly Millennials and Gen Z, these customers have conveniences like food subscriptions and appliances that ease food preparation and household management.

“[They] are more techie,” she said. “We have to be able to give them solutions that are very simple, streamlined,” she said. While meals should be easy to access (think ready-to-eat meals), they should also be environmentally friendly, particularly when it comes to packaging and waste management.

Collective guardians prioritize culture and culinary identity, putting power in the hands of the marginalized. They support local and prefer products that are curated by in-demand names and small businesses in the community, “where makers are stories that are actually meaningful.”

They support brands and dishes “outside of traditional power structures” and “unprecedented voices.” Composed of Millennials and Gen Z, they value inclusivity, said Ms. Cu.

Experientialists, meanwhile, are future-forward when it comes to innovation. “Food consumption … has to break a lot of barriers,” said Ms. Cu.

Millennials and Gen Z who belong to this category seek multi-sensorial experiences. “They would want to make sure that even their soul is satisfied when they eat,” she said. To attract this market, businesses should make technology part of innovative culinary experiences, explore digital experiences, and champion disruptor brands.

Finally, the foodiversalist is particular about food that is natural. They consume a lot of whole foods; mushrooms and other fungi are part of their dietary habits. “We have to think of ways on how we can reinvent these mushrooms, and make it more palatable to a lot of our Filipino consumers,” she said.

This persona is a little older, spanning Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers. They are attracted to climate-friendly ingredients and invest in fermentation (since whole foods don’t usually have long shelf lives). They also value sustainability and carbon positivity (contributing positively to the environment). This segment needs moments that matter and wants food to bring people together.

“We here in the food service industry have to unite and redefine our food culture so that we can be globally ready,” said Ms. Cu. — Joseph L. Garcia

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