What’s Your Tribe? Decoding Food Tribes, Trends, and Movements

Dietitian Marlene on how Nestlé has adapted its portfolio to meet a variety of consumer preferences

Humans are social animals. We all enjoy being part of some kind of community — whether that community is at home, or in our workplace, or with friends and peer groups. Communities help keep us focused, or give us an opportunity to share knowledge and learn in return. We’re no different when it comes to communities of food.

As a dietitian, it’s my job to understand the food landscape, huge parts of which are the various tribes that unite people who adopt certain dietary lifestyles. These tribes can appear on their own in niche online communities, and can grow exponentially as more people begin to learn about them, eventually crossing into the mainstream of grocery store shelves and restaurant menus.

Are you gluten free? You’re part of a food tribe. Trying out Whole 30? You’re part of a tribe too. Below are some of the tribes you may have heard of, but don’t fully understand, and ways in which Nestlé is trying to serve those tribes with great tasting options.

The Keto Tribe

In simple terms, Keto diets are all about maintaining very low carbohydrate intake, combined with consuming larger amounts of foods high in fat. A member of the Keto tribe would typically avoid eating grains like pasta or rice, sugary foods like sodas or baked products, and even fruits or legumes. Instead, they’d eat high fat foods like cheese and cream, fish, meat, eggs, nuts and oils.

natural bliss Plant-Based Half and Half, suitable for people in the Keto tribe.

The idea of the Keto diet is to place your body into a constant state of Ketosis — the state of burning fats for energy due to a lower supply of glucose, therefore driving weight-loss and blood sugar reduction.

Nestlé’s creamer brand natural bliss Plant-Based Half and Half is great for people in the Keto tribe looking for something to add to their coffee, as it contains zero grams of sugar. Made with ingredients like real almond milk and coconut cream, it’s also great for members of dairy-free, and plant-based tribes, and can be paired with Chameleon Cold-brew or Starbucks At-Home coffees!

The Free-From Tribes

There’s been a lot of coverage over the last decade of the growing gluten-free tribe, the rise of awareness of gluten-allergies or intolerance, and the trend to ditch gluten as a lifestyle choice. If you do opt to remove gluten from your diet, it’s important to get fiber from fruits and vegetables. A great way to get fiber on a gluten-free diet could be pairing your favorite salad with a gluten-free California Pizza Kitchen cauliflower crust pizza.

California Pizza Kitchen cauliflower crust pizza.

Americans are actually more likely to have a dairy intolerance than have any issue with gluten consumption and so non-dairy options have become increasingly available.

Dairy is any food derived from milk — so that’s cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, and ice cream. In dairy’s place, members of this tribe have increasingly adopted plant-based options such as nut, oat, or coconut derived products like almond butter, or oat milk.

Häagen-Dazs offers a range of non-dairy options.

Skipping dairy but miss enjoying ice cream? Häagen-Dazs offers non-dairy options across a range of flavors which begin with a core ingredient like coconut cream, or peanut butter.

The Plant-Based Tribe

This is a tribe you’ve probably encountered a lot in recent years. More and more, Americans are kicking meat to the curb and adopting diets based on vegetables, grains, and fruits. As a dietitian I am so happy Americans are moving towards enjoying more fruits and vegetables, whether that’s driven by personal health goals or environmental awareness.

Sweet Earth Foods have debuted the plant-based Awesome Burger.

Over the last year or so my colleagues and I have written extensively about the benefits of plant-based diets, and the innovations Nestlé has been driving to bring consumers more plant-based options. In the last two years the conversation has shifted, and consumers have been telling us they want plant-based options that mimic or evoke the taste of meat.

That’s why we were excited when our Sweet Earth Foods brand launched the Awesome Burger — a pea protein based burger with a meaty flavor and texture, and more protein and fiber than other plant-based burgers. We hope that the growing plant-based tribe will enjoy this latest innovation, and the exciting things we’ve got lined up for the future.

Whether it’s for health purposes, for the environment, or to build a sense of community, food tribes have been around a long time and they’re definitely here to stay. Whatever your tribe, just remember to eat thoughtfully and make sure you’re getting the essential nutrients your body requires.

We believe in providing consumers with a whole range of options, whatever their tribe, and we hope you’ll continue to enjoy our offerings!

More to Explore:


Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future in the U.S.

Marlene Schmidt, MS, RD

Written by

Registered Dietitian for Nestlé’s Nutrition, Health and Wellness Center of Excellence


Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future in the U.S.

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