Prying into the shopping cart is always a useful exercise to trace the identikit of the “new Italian” (as the Co-op Report 2016 calls consumers), other than the food they consume to feed themselves and feel better about themselves. Eating is related not only with the digestive system.
This was widely discussed at the Salone del Gusto, held in Turin. Meanwhile, we have become the skinniest people in Europe, not because of hunger but because we try to cleanse the body through food and, in some ways, also through the spirit. The report suggests the explosion of some “ancient” ingredients is also associated with new lifestyles that are inspired to some form of pseudo-religiosity. We eat less but better. We choose more global products (the consumption of ethnic products increased by 8 percent in the first half of 2016), we eat lighter and there is an exasperating tendency toward the “no” food (no salt, gluten, sugar, lactose …).
Eating habits in recent years have been shaken by the myth of the natural superfoods to which miraculous therapeutic properties are attributed: ginger, turmeric, avocado, daikon (a Chinese white radish) and quinoa. The report says these words are “researched obsessively online.” So much curiosity has a positive impact on sales: The ginger-related business in the last year increased by 141 percent; turmeric scored a 93 percent increase. There is also a growing interest in algae — only one Italian in five says he would never eat it. These are wonders of marketing, and also something more complex.