Valio is known as one of the most innovative dairy and food company in the world. It is a brand leader in Finland, well known also in Sweden and a major player in the international dairy ingredients market. To stay relevant in such fast moving category, Valio always has to be one step ahead – ensuring that they’re in line with (or even ahead) consumer trends and emerging needs.

The last two years, we at Augur and Valio has collaborated in creating Valio’s yearly trend report, a report that point out important trends and movements within the food category. Valio has a solid and well-established trend framework where they’ve identified relevant macro trends within the food category. However in the 2022 edition of the trend report they felt a need to dig even deeper, exploring what could potentially be more concrete manifestations of these trends.

How to identify future consumer food behavior

So how do you identify emerging topics that might come to shape consumer food demand in the near future? For this report, we relied on media scanning of the news flow. First, roughly 1300 articles from general newspaper and food industry press and newsletters were scanned for potentially interesting signals. To qualify as an interesting signal, the article had to focus on a phenomena or topic that was deemed to be fairly novel, not yet well-established, and with potentially interesting consequences for consumer food behavior over the next couple of years. This reduced the original set of 1500 articles to a smaller set of roughly 300.

We have really enjoyed working with your team. The trend report process was well managed and facilitated. We had interesting discussions on our weekly meetings and we together succeeded extremely well even with a tight deadline. Internal audience really liked our emerging topics approach to consumer food trends, and your podcast style presentation gathered lot of positive feedback. Thank you!

This smaller set was then subjected to a process of sorting and categorization (by Augur and Valio in collaboration), in which articles covering similar topics were grouped together. This gave rise to roughly twenty “topic” groups, out of which 14 (such as Food robots rising, Plant based facing scrutiny and Food falling in love with video) in the end found their way into the report – and included case studies, resources and examples of questions to have on the radar for each topic.

Podcast presentation

Instead of a regular 2h online presentation (which we all know isn’t the most… inspiring approach), we chose to present the report in a podcast format which enabled us to speak more freely about the topics. This was also a more pleasant way for Valio employees (that weren’t able to listen in live) to listen to the presentation in hindsight as part of their lunch walk entertainment.

The trend report is used both internally and externally as a thought starter and fuel for new conversations as well as future innovation – making sure that Valio keeps their leading position within the ever-changing food- and dairy industry.