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Leveraging the EY Future Consumer Index for a more consumer-centric food system

Food companies that best understand their consumers are best suited to create value for them.

In brief
  • FCI provides insights into evolving food considerations beyond just price and taste.
  • Food companies that prioritize consumer values now will gain a competitive edge tomorrow.
  • Food businesses should be increasingly aligning capabilities and products to consumer segmentation.

At the EY organization, we believe that the future of the food industry lies in a consumer-centric approach. By leveraging the insights from our Future Consumer Index (FCI) research, food businesses can unlock new opportunities for value creation and understand how their consumer segmentation can drive investments and innovation.

FCI provides valuable insights into a reimagined food system, shedding light on the evolving preferences and priorities of today's consumers. Through FCI, we can examine how consumers are reshaping the food landscape and moving beyond traditional considerations like price and taste. While the research shows price remains paramount and even increasing in importance, we uncover emerging segments rooted in health and wellness, planet and societal interests, and the desire for exceptional experiences. By understanding these evolving consumer needs, businesses can develop capabilities, products and services to drive value truly based in consumer centricity. Gone are the days when food choices were solely determined by what was abundant and available. Understanding consumer preferences and buying behavior is critical to thriving in a reimagined food system.

We help companies navigate this transformative landscape, providing strategic guidance to adapt to changing consumer demands and create lasting value.

Exploring the US Future Consumer Index for food companies by the numbers

Section 1: Overview of consumer attitudes about food consumption and behavior

Section 2: Investigating the FCI segment’s considerations for the food system 

FCI identifies 5 consumer segments that will shape the future of food consumption. In this section we explore the makeup of these segments, how they have adjusted over time and the differentiating food behaviors by segment.

How the consumer segments have shifted over time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. There has been a dramatic shift among consumers towards affordability and health, demonstrating a reprioritization of individual pursuits over collective efforts.
  2. Rising inflation and the anticipation of future disruption are driving consumers to look inward and retrench in routines and activities that worked during the pandemic.
  3. These conditions are driving consumers to reevaluate what is important to them, and indirectly resulting in better consumption habits.

Section 3: Five key themes food executives should be considering for a more consumer-centric operating model


FCI insights drive innovation and investment for food companies by uncovering evolving consumer preferences beyond price and taste. Brands must adapt by balancing price, integrating digital channels, supporting health, embracing sustainability, and offering personalized experiences. The landscape demands businesses align with consumer values and needs to navigate this transformative moment.

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