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Food Industry: Key Trends

Key  2016  Food Industry Trends


  1.  Food Presentation and Social Media:

Food presentation has evolved well beyond traditional methods based on word-of-mouth descriptions for food taste and flavor qualities. Many Consumers enjoy sending pictures of their foods and meals to others, including restaurant meals as well as dishes that Consumers put together on their own. This visual sharing of foods and dishes lends value to an individual’s creativity and artistry within their community network. Food Manufacturers have focused on marketing their food presentation to Consumers with premium photography and packaging to deliver the desired results. This has changed food images with unique shapes, brilliant colors and stunning packaging to capture the minds of Consumers and their social media habits.


2.    Clean Up Labels for Foods & Ingredients:

Simplify and clean up food labels to get rid of  artificial ingredients, preservatives and food ingredients with negative (carcinogenic) nutritional and health implications. Five specific ingredients Consumers point to the most are: partially hydrogenated oils (PHO’s / trans fats), monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial pigments and dyes, aspartame and high fructose corn syrup.” The FDA has mandated the removal of PHOs as a source of trans fat typically used in margarine and cooking oil products due to negative health reports associated with arterial blockages and cardiovascular disease.


3.   Substitute Foods and Free-from Foods become mainstream:

a. Substitute Ingredients /  Plant Based Foods:

Non-dairy milks (coconut, almond, etc…), plant based foods (nut based butters, veggie burgers, non-dairy creamers, ice cream, yogurts, and    other future plant food innovations.

b. Free-From Foods / All Natural Foods: Preservative free foods, dairy free, nut free, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) foods, gluten free breads and grain products, etc…

c. Banana Flavor Alternatives: Manufacturers are exploring alternate sourcing plans due to the threat of a deadly fungus plaguing the Cavendish banana, disruption to the leading commercial banana supply, the Cavendish banana. Researchers based in the Netherlands have tested 200 different banana plants, where less than 10% are resistant to the fungus.


4.   Focus on Natural Ingredients including Preserved / Fermented Foods:

Focus and use of natural food products and ingredients is strong sentiment for the growing number of health conscious Consumers. Consumer requests for fermented food products increases dramatically for foods free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and antibiotics. To cut back on food waste consumers are sourcing local flavors, and also going back to preserving, pickling and canning produce. Major global Food companies are in process of removing artificial ingredients including General Mills, Kellogg and Campbell to Hershey and Nestle. This trend is established in North America, Europe and Oceania; the trend is new for manufacturers in South/Latin America, Africa and southeast Asia.

5.   Drinkable Foods:

Manufacturers are producing new flavor and ingredient combinations for vegetable juices and chilled soups as Consumer tastes move away from sugary juices. This has opened the door for drinkable products like peanut powder and drinkable vegetable juices & soups. The juice category is facing increased scrutiny for its high and sometimes unhealthy sugar content and has begun to introduce vegetable juices at a good time. Chilled soups are replacing sweet soups, savory jellies [jams] and juices as the on-the-go market continues to rise.


6.   Sour Flavors for Food & Beverages:

Consumers want to taste sour flavors from drinking vinegars (acetic acids) and fermented foods like pickled cucumbers, pickled vegetables and kimchi. Manufacturers are trying sour flavors and flavor notes in products ranging from candy to alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Sour is becoming more popular because it applies to a variety of foods with many different flavor profiles, and eliminates the bland taste of many foods.


 7.   Functional Foods for All (not limited to athletes):

Increasing global awareness for products specifically geared toward hydration, energy, protein, and other supplements that consumers need when being more active during exercise. There is a history in North America of this trend for serious athletes, and it is expanding into the common population across the globe.


8.   Good for you type Snacks:

New opportunities are growing for snack innovations for Millennials and Baby Boomers, and expected to reach $200 billion by 2020. Consumers desire products like ice cream, but want companies to make it with healthier ingredients to reduce fat and sugar.


9.   Concern for World’s Environment:

Consumers are aware and concerned about their food’s impact on environment so they are concerned with: drought, food waste, crop, supply chain sustainability, renewable packaging / plant based packaging and ethical treatment of animals (chickens, beef cattle, dairy cows, etc…). This promotes conscious efforts:

—   to minimize personal carbon footprint by sourcing foods from local vendors,

—   using the aluminum can for wine—a portable, easy-to-chill option, offers single servings, portability for active outdoor lifestyles (choices like Infinite Monkey Theorem and Presto Sparkling wine coming to Whole Foods Market).

—   all the way to purchasing cage-free chicken eggs at the grocery store.


10.   Human nutrition is medicine for the body:

Consumers are focused on sports related foods, beverages and nutritional foods that promote health and wellness including: supplements, probiotics ($52.3 Billion USD by 2020), vitamins, minerals and botanicals. Fermented Foods and Probiotics are seeking gut health and strong go-for-it flavors, fermented foods and probiotics are growing with fiery picks (like kimchi, gochujang) will continue to gain steam and innovative options (like chiogga beet kraut and non-dairy tonics) will add variety. Approval of non-GMO verification methods for animal feed.; Non-GMO-fed verified fresh eggs, chicken, pork and even sausages.


11.   Redefining Traditional Fats:

Fats are being redefined by science, and Consumers are having to learn more about recent studies about the differences between good and bad fats. Dairy fats, nuts, avocados, and coconut oil are being embraced for their health benefits. The Canadean Group reports fat in new and surprising places: a bottled water product is being promoted as a healthier-type product, FATwater, which contains triglycerides from coconut oil. Food industry experts and manufacturers expect these ingredient trends to remain strong this year and continuing into the future.


12.   Product Transparency:

People want to know the story behind the food and ingredients, and also know how they are manufactured. This has become common in small to midsize companies, specifically companies that make craft products like craft beer, craft sodas, craft spirits, artisanal cheeses and custom chocolates. Major food and beverage manufacturers are expected to begin participation of this trend so they may not fall behind the smaller companies. Hershey created SmartLabel, which is a scanable QR code that goes beyond the ingredients list and nutrition facts already printed on the label to offer Consumers access to more information about products.