United Fresh Spring Trend Report 2023

12th September 2023

United Fresh Spring Trend Report 2023

Restricted household budgets, the need for balanced health and well-being, and an awareness of being eco-friendly for our planet have influenced the food and shopping trends for 2023.

Recent research indicates that food prices have risen by 12.5% in April 2023 compared to April 2022, marking this the most significant increase since 1986.

Demand has surged for products high in beneficial nutrients and products that offer to improve the planet's health. In the fruit and vegetable aisle alone, 35 percent of consumers surveyed towards the end of last year reported increasing their spending on fresh produce for health reasons.


Companies continue to find innovative and alternative ways for packaging.

In an effort to combat plastic waste and develop sustainable alternatives, emerging innovations are seeing more companies finding alternative materials to make their packaging.

Startup companies are using a variety of materials including seaweed, wheat and pea protein to produce edible and biodegradable packaging for products.

The Freedonia Group found that nowadays “food packaging sustainability is increasingly important to consumers”. In a study it discovered that consumers considered jars, bottles, snack bags and pouches made from bioplastics to be the most eco-friendly packaging options, while conventional plastics were ranked lowest in perceived eco-friendliness.


The next big thing in plant-derived milk substitutes is potato milk.

Potatoes are considered one of the world’s most environmentally friendly vegetables – they emit far fewer greenhouse gases than many other crops and require comparatively little land and water – and are also one of the lowest-allergen foods around.

They’re also a good source of several vitamins and nutrients, including folate, which vegans often lack.

Originally produced in Sweden, potato milk is produced by straining boiled potato extract and blending them with water, rapeseed oil and other ingredients. This milk has a rich creamy texture and thick consistency and is mostly available in sweetened and non-sweetened forms.

Potato milk has started to take off overseas. Given we produce a cool 419,000 metric tonnes of spuds in New Zealand each year - could potato milk be the next big thing for us too?


Fermented foods have been around for centuries and are now enjoying a resurgence.

There are many reasons for this trend, including the growing awareness of the health benefits of fermented foods, the increasing availability of fermented foods and the growing popularity of ethnic cuisines.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants frantically worked to preserve the fresh produce in their kitchens with each consecutive lockdown and helped bring back the ancient technique, with many people having a go with their own fermented foods at home.

Expect to see more fermented foods on our menus and shop shelves as the trend continues to rise.


More people locally and internationally are looking for plant-based options and restaurants and food brands are stepping up with innovative and delicious plant-based dishes. It’s forcing food chains like Burger King and KFC to offer vegan options on their menus, making it easier for people to enjoy vegan food on the go.

Plant-based meats have been growing in popularity, with the market projected to exceed the USD $75 billion size this year.

The advancements made in the product's taste have contributed to its growth in the last few years, with companies producing food that is virtually indistinguishable from animal-based meats.

We’ve seen zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice rise in popularity over the years, expect to see the continued rise of vegetable-based pastas. Austrian researcher Hanni Rützler describes this in her Food Report 2023 as the rise of “veganizing” recipes.

Overseas research shows that shoppers selected plant-based 'meat' for health reasons 16 times more than they did for sustainability reasons.


The increasing popularity of binge-worthy international and local cooking shows and reality competitions on TV and streaming services promote the many products the chefs use in their recipes and menus.

This exposure is giving direct access to consumers, growers and manufacturers and is crucial as they supply the ready-to-consume foods and ingredients for processed products sold through retail.

According to the recently released "Midyear 2023 Trend Report" from food and beverage intelligence platform Datassential, technology is seeping into food trends evident in foodservice and grocery channels.

The impact of platforms like TikTok and Instagram has seen 67% of consumers want to see more social media fads come to life at stores and restaurants; that number jumps to 74% among Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

  • Social media has also helped ignite the “Copycat Chef” trend. Channels featuring recipes that mimic the dishes served by famous chefs or easy 'fake-away' hits like fried cauliflower, allow home cooks to try preparing restaurant-quality food without the cost.