Growing what the market needs has always been a challenge for farmers. There is a significant period of time between the time a seed is planted or an animal is raised and the time it is ready to go to market. And in that time, a lot can change and what once seemed like a lucrative opportunity can turn out to be a price mistake. We have analyzed some trends for you that could give some guidance on what the market will need and want next year. This should help farmers make better plans for what to grow at the beginning of the year.
Demand for animal-based products
As noted in the Asian Development Bank report, there's a growing shift in food demand in Asia from staple crops to more resource-intensive animal-based products. This trend is being driven by rising incomes and urbanization, leading to changes in regional food consumption patterns. Demand for meat, dairy and fish is likely to increase, reflecting this shift towards higher protein diets.
Small farmers have an advantage over large industrial farms in that their meat is produced in a healthier way that respects the animal's life.
Preference for sustainable and organic products
There's a growing global awareness and preference for sustainable and organic agricultural products. Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their food choices and are increasingly looking for products that are sustainably and ethically produced.
However, despite strong interest from shoppers, they are often unwilling to pay for them (the "say-do gap") for a variety of reasons, including significantly higher costs, mistrust of sustainability claims, lower availability of such products, and the like.
Farmers can be swayed by clearly displaying the certificate. Or, if they don't have it, by explaining in detail how the product is made, including first-hand photos and videos.
Health and nutrition awareness
The health and nutritional value of the food consumed is becoming extremely important in the Asian market, which has traditional dishes with a high proportion of vegetables and fruits. This is likely to lead to higher demand for products that are perceived as healthier, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Farmers are encouraged to share their healthy fruits, vegetables and other products on their social network profiles (including Farmlovers) and benefit directly from this growing trend.
Local and regional food
Since the days of Covidien, there's been a growing trend of consumers preferring local and regional specialty foods. They want ingredients that are produced today or yesterday, and that have a direct positive impact on their local economy.
Farmers can take advantage of this by clearly stating the geographic origin of their products and providing information on where they can be purchased at farmers markets.
Convenience and ready-to-eat products
With busy lifestyles, there's a growing demand for convenience foods, such as ready-to-eat meals, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, and easy-to-prepare foods.
Make your product packaging convenient so your customers can start using it as soon as possible. Learn more in this article: Make Your Agricultural Product Packaging Convenient
These trends shed light on the complex and ever-changing landscape of consumer preferences for agricultural products in 2024, shaped by health and nutrition awareness, environmental concerns and changing lifestyles of people in the large Asian market.