Foodstuffs food experts forecast what we'll be eating in 2023

20 January,2023

In 2022, many of us tried the viral TikTok feta pasta, and some of us gave the butter boards a try, but in 2023 what will Kiwis be eating this year? 

According to Foodstuffs, the team behind New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square, experts in the know at the 100% New Zealand-owned and operated co-operative, say it’s likely to be a more conscious choice all round for Kiwis as we seek out food that's better for our budgets, for our wellbeing and for the planet, as well as more time saving options in the kitchen. 

Foodstuffs Head of Customer Insights and Intelligence Chris Day says customer trends are always shifting, and the 100% locally owned and operated cooperatives continually evaluate what’s on offer, to ensure Kiwis can get exactly what they’re after and from a selection of great local suppliers.  

We use a mix of analysing shopping data, customer feedback and overseas trends to predict what's ahead. We also work closely with customers to understand what's important to them. 

“Times are changing, inflation and the cost of living is affecting our lives in many ways, including how we shop. All of our stores are locally owned and operated so we know first-hand what our communities are going through. 

“We’re committed to doing all we can to help our communities through tough times from holding price increases to customers below inflation for eight months in a row, to helping people shop to a budget and find value across all our aisles.” 

The top food trends for 2023 as predicted by the Foodstuffs team: 

Frozen foods the way of the future 

Following on from COVID and now a cost-of-living crisis, the popularity of frozen foods has hit an all-time high as customers look to save on their shop, with an ever-increasing offer of frozen fruits, vegetables, fish and meat options providing great value for money - with little or no waste.   

Food price increases has resulted in customers buying less across all the aisles than the same time a year ago except for the frozen category, which has increased 3% across all Foodstuffs stores says Day.* 

With a trend for wellness in full swing, customers are also looking for ‘better for you’ options everywhere in the supermarket aisles - and the freezer section is no exception.  To cater to this, our category teams have been extending the range of frozen fruits - including, frozen pink dragonfruit and coconut cubes from local Nelson brand Goodness Kitchen, which make great ingredients for a healthy and nutritious smoothie.   

“Frozen has just been on the up and up, people are starting to see that frozen doesn't mean a lack of quality, it can be another really convenient easy way for people to make their food and money go a bit further,” says Day.  

Customers are also looking to replicate an out-of-home experience at home as a more budget-friendly alternative with 37% of Foodstuffs customers eating out less frequently in response to inflationary price pressures. * 

“There’s lots of innovative products that are proving really popular at the moment like Rangitikei’s Buttermilk Tenderloins and Karaage Chicken helping kiwis nail their Michelin-worthy meals at home with ease.” 

Not just flavourful, more kiwis want convenient functional foods 

We’ve been enjoying fortified food since the 80’s. And in 2023 Kiwi’s will be looking for food that gives us immunity boosting properties and improves gut health, looking for an easy way to increase our health through the foods we consume.  

Day says there’s a definite shift in the benefits customers are looking to get from their foods with ‘good for the gut’ foods being his personal pick for the upcoming year.  

“We’ve seen lots of added fibre foods, tummy tonics and added probiotic yogurts and fermented foods being really popular recently and this is something we’ll continue to see across 2023 as Kiwis try to look after themselves from the inside out.” 

Value seekers looking for good options across the aisles 

As the cost of living and inflation continues to face Kiwis, our shopping habits are changing to help our budgets go further while we fill our trolleys with more customers now looking for value products and private label.  

In fact, data shows that 2 out of 5 Foodstuffs customers are switching to supermarket own brands and Foodstuffs is keeping up with demand thanks to innovation and product development from Pams.* 

Across their ranges, which includes Pams, Pams Finest and Pams Plant based, Pams is delivering easy, accessible food to all kiwis no matter their palate.  

“Over Christmas, we saw Pams go off with our customers looking for great tasting, affordable options to feed their whanau. Whether it was smoked salmon, mixed savouries or vege sausies for the BBQ kiwis were and still are loving the Pams range.” 

Waste not want not, conscious consumers looking for careful products 

Food waste is something more and more kiwis are considering when shopping, and now thanks to novel new products, customers can help close the gap on food waste even more, as suppliers use unwanted or discarded food to make delicious new products.  

Working with upcycled food producers, such as Citizen Collective who make craft beer from unsold bread, Perfect Deli Fresh who make upcycled pet food from New World’s butchery trimmings, Foodstuffs is committed to doing their part in reducing food waste in Aotearoa. 

“We’re on a real journey to minimise our waste, by finding ways to divert it from landfill and focusing on generating less waste in the first place, including food waste. One of the ways we're doing our part is by supporting some really innovative suppliers coming up with solutions to this,” says Day. 

New World’s food innovation competition, FoodStarter, was won by food waste saviours,  LILO Desserts. Made in South Island, the LILO team rescue ‘imperfect’ fruit from NZ orchards to turn into delicious desserts. Thanks to support from their FoodStarter win including helping to scale up their business, LILO Desserts are now in-store and flying off the shelves at many New Worlds.  

Customisable Convenience  

While lockdown sparked a nationwide baking fad, Day says the reality of our new normal means many people are now too busy to take the time to do it all from scratch. "The need for convenience is increasing for Kiwis, but they don’t want to miss out on the benefits you can get from home cooking and baking”.   

The 100% locally owned and operated co-operatives work closely with suppliers of all sizes to get a range of products on the shelves. 

Mrs Rogers, a Kiwi family-owned business worked closely with the Foodstuffs North Island category teams, using customer insights to develop the next generation of boxed cake mixes that customers can personalise, meaning one box in the cupboard could result in 10 different baked goodies.   

“Customers are getting more creative in the kitchen and now they’re under the normal everyday time pressures. New ideas like these highly versatile cake mixes gives customers the fun and ease of baking, without having to think about if they have all the ingredients.” 

Easy and value is another reason why the New World team created their popular $25 Simply Dinner meal kits. Created by iconic kiwi chef Annabel Langbein, the range helps make affordable healthy food, even more accessible to people, by packaging up ingredients for mouthwatering, nourishing enjoyable meals in one place. 

“At $6.25 per serve these kits are fantastic value for money, reduce waste and help customers who are looking for a quick and easy meal solution without the dreaded 3pm ‘what’s for dinner conversation’.” 

Alternative drink choices 

Sober curious? Living a damp lifestyle? Wine lover or loather?  While the terminology varies, Kiwis are wanting to experiment with their drink options, while not compromising on taste, or choice. And they don’t have to, thanks to New Zealand’s beverage makers, who are creating new and innovative options across the sector that are just as delicious as the standard options.  

In response to growing demand, New World has introduced ‘Zero Zones’ within liquor departments where shoppers can easily find and explore the store’s range of non-alcoholic beverage alternatives.   

“In 2022 we saw sales in our non-alcoholic wine sales double, and thanks to some truly genius work in the craft beer space, interest in our beer chiller options rose 40%.” 

Proving just how our tastes are changing, the New World Beer and Cider Awards have recently introduced a low alcohol beer section, which resulted in two non-alcoholic beers sitting in the exclusive Top 30.  

“These awards are super consumer-focused, so they’re a really accurate reflection of the trends we’re seeing in the industry,” says Day. “The two non-alcoholic winners actually did really well in sales following on from their win, which shows there’s a demand for new products on our shelves.”