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When it comes to what Singaporeans eat, most are fiercely independent and crave local flavours, with more than four in five choosing to eat at hawker centres when not at home, and 44% believing foreign food will not impact local food. They are also unfazed by celebrity chefs or restaurant rating systems, according to the inaugural Food Forward Trends Report 2014, published by Weber Shandwick.
Food Forward surveyed more than 750 Singaporean consumers and food experts nationwide, including food writers, chefs, bloggers, nutritionists and researchers, to look at how these trends are impacting corporations, industry bodies and policy makers, and how these trends will fuel further discussion between retailers, brands and consumers.
“Singaporeans are very passionate about their food, and it’s no surprise that our vibrant food scene is largely influenced by our strong preference for authentic, local food,” said Margaret Cunico, president and head of Weber Shandwick’s Consumer practice in Singapore. “Our Food Forward Trends Report predicts that this won’t be changing any time soon, but that shifts in consumer lifestyle choices will influence where and how people buy and consume food this year.”
Survey participants were asked to share their thoughts and predictions about the food culture of Singapore, including their preferences for particular cuisines, influence and impact of international flavours and ingredients, preferred eating outlets, food shopping habits and their attitude toward healthy eating, among other topics. The results of the survey revealed four key trends that are predicted to impact food habits in Singapore:
1. Preference and pride will keep palates local
Whilst there is already a large presence of foreign ingredients in Singapore, a strong preference for local food is evident as only 17% of consumers say that they choose to shop at specialty supermarkets for foreigners. Experts and consumers alike agree hawker food will continue to be a staple in the Singapore food scene and shows no signs of slowing down.
2. Busy life, eating rife
Singaporeans are working more which means more meals are consumed on-the-go. Our survey shows that nearly two thirds of Singaporeans (61%) ate out more frequently in the past year than they did in the two years prior. Food experts felt that while healthy living is becoming a focus for Singaporeans, most felt that Singaporeans did not make it a priority when making lifestyle and food choices.
3. The gap between technology and food continues to shrink
According to experts, the love affair with technology among foodies is likely to rise even further in the year ahead. They note that genetic engineering of food using nanotechnology for quality and safety detection as well as 3D food printing are some of the things we can expect to see increase in the coming year. Purchasing behavior is also affected by technology and the prevalence of the internet. Some 50% of respondents said that they purchased food online at least once in 2013 and 15% purchased food online between one and three times per month.
4. Moving away from international grading and celebrity hype
Nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers said that Singapore does not need the internationally renowned Michelin Guide to grade its restaurants. When it comes to being influenced by celebrities, only a quarter of respondents said that they are likely to buy a product or visit a restaurant that is endorsed by a celebrity chef.
Click on the image below to view the full Food Forward Trends Report infographic.