Why 'slow' is growing faster than 'fast'


Just like the tortoise in Aesop's tale, The Tortoise and the Hare, it seems slow and steady is winning the race.

Mintel's Global Food and Drink Trends 2017 highlighted how consumer interest in slowing down is starting to translate to claims on new food and drink products.

In the five years up until August 2016, new food and beverage product launches with claims incorporating the word 'slow' grew four times as fast as claims that referred to 'on the go' consumption.

It seems busy lifestyles are taking their toll and the idea that food can can be 'slow' rather than 'fast' or consistently eaten 'on the go', is appealing to consumers desire to push back on overly hectic lifestyles.

While many of the products using a 'slow' claim still provide convenience, the appeal of slow food likely reflects a consumer mindset that associates slowing down with greater care, greater nourishment and a reassuring sense of nostalgia.

Eating slowly and sharing food around a table with others, also makes a difference to our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

It creates a social connection that can have profound implications for our relationships.

It also helps to reduce the risk of over-eating. Studies have shown for example that eating slowly by taking more chews per mouthful can reduce calorie intake. One study found those who doubled the number of chews they took when eating, reduced their calorie intake by around 15% - an effect that could be useful for weight management.

Referring to 'slow' in product claims is just one way of tapping into consumer sentiment that is encouraging a more relaxed approach to food that in turn can contribute to better health.

Food businesses can engage with consumers in this area by encouraging them to try slow cooked recipes themselves, providing tables for people to sit and eat their food while not rushing them on, and advertising food in a way that shows meals being shared and enjoyed with others.

For food businesses interested in innovation and helping people to eat better, considering how 'slow' could be introduced into the marketing mix may provide some 'food for thought'.