2023 MegaTrends Part One: Finding "Eatopia"

2023 MegaTrends Part One: Finding "Eatopia"

One rising 2023 MegaTrend was consumers’ search for holistic wellness—through food. See how snack occasions can help consumers find “Eatopia” and how new regulations support this trend.

Why MegaTrends Matter

As new trends grow around the globe, we sometimes see broad themes emerge with the potential for big impact. These MegaTrends can be global in influence as they redefine consumer values. Brands that are quick to respond to these changes by developing the right products to meet these needs can tap into exciting opportunities.

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Consumers’ search for Eatopia (which combines “eating” and “utopia”) is one such MegaTrend. As consumers become much more aware of their health and wellness in the wake of the pandemic, we see their desire to consume their way to the perfect state of holistic wellness. We’ve identified the snacking occasion as a key access point for achieving Eatopia.

Snacking Supports Wellness Needs of Today and Tomorrow

Through our primary research gathered from 8,000 consumers across ten countries, we’ve developed a hypothesis about what consumers look for in food brands to meet their wellness needs. What’s emerged is a hierarchy—with emotional drivers like taste, texture, and format at the base, particularly for snacking decisions.

wellness hierarchy

On top of that is functional drivers, which can range from high protein to vitamin-fortified and also reflect unwanted ingredients such as sugar or salt. Values—like sustainability, transparency, or other mission-driven approaches—are the next major driver when it comes to what consumers expect from brands. Finally, at the top of the hierarchy is personalization.

Go back and explore all five MegaTrends of 2023.

Seeking the Ideal Wellness Snack

Our global consumer study also looked at what the ideal snack could be to address these needs. Protein snacks were a clear standout, with the inclusion of protein in a snack affecting where consumers rated it on the healthy-unhealthy continuum. For example, we saw the highest “healthy” correlations for yogurt, protein/energy bars, trail mix, protein powder, non-dairy milk alternativesprotein cereal, and ready-to-drink protein shakes.1

However, as important as protein (a “functional” driver) is, we saw in all regions surveyed that great taste (an “emotional” driver) is more important. This shows how protein snacks can make an ideal wellness snack provided they taste great, and brands are proactive in addressing the higher-level needs of values and personalization.

Ranking of Attributes in Protein Snacking

USEuropeAsia Pacific
Great tastingGreat tastingGreat tasting
High proteinHigh proteinEnjoyable texture
SatisfyingLow/no sugarHigh protein 
Source: Glanbia Nutritionals, Healthy Snacking U&A Study, 2022

Protein snacking also represents an accessible path to Eatopia because the snacking occasions are broad (from exercising to taking a work break to watching TV at home), and the uses are multifaceted (such as for energy, for a treat, and as a meal substitute). Furthermore, our research indicates that increased options in formats beyond protein bars and shakes (like savory protein snacks) can drive incremental sales.

Impact of Regulatory Bodies on Eatopia

Recent regulatory actions also support the shift toward wellness through food. In the US, the FDA is on track to redefine the use of the “healthy” claim on foods and beverages, while in Mexico, the use of black stop signs to warn of excess calories, sugar, and saturated fats was recently launched. In the UK, the new HFSS regulations have put restrictions on promotions and store placement for products high in fat, sugar, or salt.

Helping Consumers in Their Search for Eatopia

For those of us interested in creating healthier food and beverage options, the Eatopia MegaTrend is positive news. Companies that understand the most important aspects of this MegaTrend can offer consumers the products they need to help them on their journey to Eatopia.

Download the full MegaTrends eGuide for a deep dive into the Eatopia MegaTrend and the data behind it, along with the other four MegaTrends for 2023.


1. Glanbia Nutritionals, Healthy Snacking U&A Study, 2022.

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