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2023 MegaTrends Part Four: Authenticity

One of the 2023 MegaTrends with influence across categories is consumers’ desire for authenticity. They’re seeking brands that are transparent in their missions and are turning to trusted influencers for information about food.

Why We Watch MegaTrends

MegaTrends are overarching themes that emerge which reflect shifts in consumer values and behaviors. Keeping up on the latest MegaTrends is a way to make sure a company is really listening to what consumers want. Without these insights, it can be very easy to miss the mark.

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So far in our 2023 MegaTrends recap series, we’ve explored how consumers seek wellness through food (“Eatopia”) and how they’re refocusing on health by looking at new ways of eating and supporting their mental health. We also saw that personalization is still going strong but is now driven by the performance consumer, with help from wearable technologies.

In Part 4 of our series, we dive into the Authenticity MegaTrend. This is actually a refinement of an earlier MegaTrend encompassing sustainability. We’re seeing pushback by consumers over “greenwashing”—the use of unsubstantiated sustainability messaging as a marketing technique. Authenticity, whether it’s around environmental, social, or other missions, is becoming essential to winning consumers’ trust.

Transparency and Sustainability

As a top concern globally among consumers, sustainability is one of the important trends underlying the Authenticity MegaTrend. But sustainability must go hand in hand with transparency. We’re now seeing a number of major food and beverage companies, from Nestle to Pepsico, publicly reporting both their environmental targets and their progress.

This matters a lot to consumers. In fact, outside of the government, consumers think food manufacturers should be doing the most to provide leadership in addressing climate change, not to mention farmers and even food distribution companies. Even if consumers aren’t tracking it themselves, they may listen to influencers who do, and this helps them know which brands they should support.

Q: Which of the following should provide greater leadership to help address the climate crisis?

Federal government66%
State/local government62%
Food manufacturing companies56%
Individual consumers36%
Food distribution companies34%
Chefs/restaurant owners11%
Source: Datassential: 2022 Plant-Forward Opportunity, June 2022


More than ever, influencers are becoming trusted sources of information—especially about food. Datassential reports that 50% of those who watch or listen to influencers on social media have looked for food and beverage-related content.1 And one in four Gen Z consumers say they were introduced to their latest food experience by an influencer (more than Millennials at 16%).2

This trust is putting influencers at the forefront of s-commerce—buying and selling through social media. Trusted influencers can do well selling products directly to their followers through social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Brands could look at collaborating with influencers to promote their products, but over half (56%) of consumers believe influencers lose authenticity and credibility once brands get involved.3

Authentic Brands Are the Future of Food

It’s up to all of us in the food industry to really listen to consumers to ensure we’re investing in efforts that are meaningful to them. Going forward, authenticity will be the surest way to win loyal consumers.

Download our 2023 MegaTrends Guide or watch our video to see the consumer insights supporting the five MegaTrends impacting the food industry.


1-3. Datassential: 2022 Plant-Forward Opportunity, June 2022.

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