In industrialised countries that have undergone strong economic growth since the 1960s, commodities have become relatively inexpensive and there is a vast choice of food from around the world. In addition, demand has diversified. Although still governed by income, demand is also influenced by more personal factors, whether ethical, cultural, social, or diet-related.
Pre-cooked and ready-to-eat meals have become very popular. More and more meals are now eaten outside the home and many different kinds of restaurant have developed to meet this demand. Several factors explain this demand for such services, including lack of time, the midday meal eaten out of the home and the importance of leisure time.
Health concerns, the rise in obesity and diseases such as diabetes and cancer play a decisive role in consumer demand for healthier food. Gluten- and lactose-free products have become more popular, whether because of intolerances or out of choice, or because consumers simply feel better when they eliminate one or the other from their diet.
Environmental concerns also guide consumer choice. Sustainable farming takes care of nature. With the globalisation of food, consumers are seeking to reassert their identity and to support local production. As a result, demand for local produce has risen sharply and AOC products (controlled designation of origin) have become guarantees of quality and authenticity. Fairtrade certification is another criterion of choice.